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Organize Your Pantry in 5 Steps

I recently helped a friend organize her family's pantry.
We did it in 2 hours and spent less than $25!  Her husband was amazed!  Want to see how we did it?

The problem:  The family has a tight pantry space with adequate shelving, but no order.  The foods are somewhat organized by cans and boxes, but the system is not working. No one in the family can find what they're looking for. Often duplicates are purchased, because they don't know what they have.

(This was actually a pretty clean 'before' to start with.)

STEP 1:  Take everything out of the pantry and place items on the kitchen counters or table.
(This is a great time to give all the shelves a wipe down.)

STEP 2:  Organize the food into categories.
Each family has different categories depending on their favorite meals, how they cook and what they eat most often. Here's some of the categories we made:  baking products, pastas, rice, beans, sauces, soups, jams, pancake fixings, snacks, etc.

This family loves mandarin salad so we made a bin with products to make the salad: mandarin oranges, top ramen, slivered almonds, dressing, etc.
This family has a beautiful outdoor fire pit, so s'mores fixings are a necessity.  We made a bin for all their s'mores items.
They also enjoy Saturday pancake making, so their multiple pancakes mixes and syrups were organized into a bin as well.

*Make bins that make sense to you and your family's eating habits.
(This is a good time to check expiration dates and donate products that you won't use.)

Clear bins are super nice for everyone in the family to see what's inside.  We used plastic bins from the Dollar Store, but they are a little flimsy. For a stronger option use these Sterilite 6-Quart Storage Boxes.

For foods that are a bit bulky or bigger in size (chips, crackers, etc.), use a larger bin.  We opted for another Dollar Store bin, this time adding a blue color.  For a sturdier option use these Sterilite Large Ultra Baskets.  

This does not need to be complicated or crafty, but it does need to be done. Don't skip this step!
 A simple sticky label is all that is needed.  This could be printed out on the computer, but we chose to hand-write the categories using a Sharpie instead.  Quick and easy.

We used 
Avery Address Ink Jet Labels. 

(These are the exact labels I use to address my Christmas cards every year. They work perfectly on plastic bins. They peel off without leaving a mess.)

Now the fun part, putting everything back.
Put those bins that are used most often in easy reach.
If small kids access the pantry, be sure to consider what they can and can't reach.  Do you want the kids to access their own snacks? Then make sure those bins are placed lower.  If not, put those bins higher.

This family doesn't buy much in bulk, so we didn't deal with bulk storage or many big product containers.  We did leave room at the top of the pantry for bulk item storage if and when needed.


Now here's the best part.  I went back over to my friend's house a week later and peeked in their pantry.  It looked fabulous!  The family loved having a designated 'home' for every food product and they all were keeping the space organized on their own.

*Once the system is planned out and labeled, everyone knows where things go...this means an organized pantry that doesn't get out of control.  It really works!

Want to see how I organized my pantry with chalkboard labels?  Click here.

 *This post contains affiliate links through Amazon. All opinions are mine.

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