New Year, New You

Real Life Pantry Organization

Spices, cereals and grains in jars

Pantry Organization for the Rest of Us

You’ve seen those photos on Pinterest of perfectly organized, color- and category-coded pantries. And you’ve probably asked yourself, “does anyone who lives in this house actually eat any of that food?”

We’ve wondered the same thing! And while creating a pantry or cabinet storage area that’s ready for a magazine cover is a goal that most of us will never attain, it is possible to follow a few simple tips to help you keep everything as easy-to-locate and fresh as can be. 

Here are some handy guidelines to help you tame an out-of-control pantry: 

Repurpose Glass Jars

Don’t toss that pasta jar or pickle jar. After a run through the dishwasher, glass jars can be excellent storage containers, because they’re lightweight, transparent and easy to label. No need to source fancy labels or practice your calligraphy, either. Take a cue from professional chefs and keep a roll of masking tape and a permanent market nearby, and label containers as you store things in them.

New Life for Old Containers

Have the kids outgrown the bin where they’ve been storing crayons? Did you clean out a closet and find yourself with a bushel of empty baskets? Take a look around the house, and you’re likely to find lots of new uses for old or underutilized storage containers. Try putting a lazy susan in a hard-to-reach corner. An unused over-the-door shoe organizer can be repurposed to hold jars and spices. And if you run across any airtight, resealable containers, they’ll work great for cereals, pasta and baked goods.

Once those containers are on your shelves, round up all like-minded items – like spice packets, chips and energy bars – and put them all together in their own storage units. Consider setting aside containers for basic categories like baking supplies, breakfast foods, grains and snacks. Put baskets holding kids’ favorites down low, where they’re easy to reach.

Add Shelf Space

Even the tiniest space can be expanded with a little ingenuity. Consider installing inexpensive wire shelves under existing ones to add room for shorter items. And don’t forget to use the floor space under shelves to store larger items. Another way to create space is to install wire racks on the backs of cabinet doors. This can be a good place for spice bottles and other small containers. If you’ve got a full-size door, consider installing a lid organizer that will keep all your pots lids in one place. 

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