A couple years ago, a friend started an Instagram-based boutique home organizing business. I started following because I love all things organization and quickly realized she puts me to shame. While she is in Texas and can’t make my pantry dreams come true, following her inspiration and my own experience (and OCD), I organized the pantry in our new house and thought maybe my fellow moms might benefit from these quick tips I used to achieve success!
1. Start fresh
If you have the benefit of moving into a new place or building a new pantry, this is relatively self-explanatory. But I presume most of you already have your pantries locked and loaded. So to start fresh, clean everything out of your pantry. Like everything and pile up your countertops with all the goods. Sort them as you go to make reloading easier. Once you have everything out, give it a good clean. Pause for a moment and admire its beauty.
2. Gather the right supplies
For my pantry, these were white and clear bins and canisters. If you like color, add it, but experts will agree that clear bins make your pantry look bigger and cleaner. My fancy organizing friend uses these with the occasional black baskets for dramatic effect. Generally, what you will need is canisters for things like flour, sugar, granola, etc. anything in a bag you use on a regular basis will be easier to use in a canister. Bins for things that don’t come out of bags or don’t need to be covered with a lid like onions, potatoes, packs of noodles, spices, etc.
3. Give into the lazy Susan
Probably one of the greatest tips of all: use lazy Susan(s) on shelves for things that can’t come out of jars or packaging; these worked great in my pantry, where the corners of the closet came together. I’ve seen others use them lined up on one shelf, but I like the look and ease of my two. Pro Tip: check the size; lazy Susans come in different sizes, so match the size of your shelf to the size of the tray for a more clean look.
4. Leave space between things
You may not have the luxury of doing this one, but if you can leave a little space between your products, it will help keep your shelves looking nice and clean. It also makes it easier to grab things quickly.
5. Label, label, label
This may seem unnecessary, but if you share your house with a husband and kids, this is vital for everyone to know what’s what. A recent TikTok video showed a guy making fun of his wife for emptying goods into bins and canisters and labeling them, commenting about how this is an American women’s thing (he was international). I laughed and showed it to my husband, who is an international, who just would bag everything in the pantry, and I’d have no idea what we had. He agreed with this TikToker. Once I labeled everything in clear containers, he was like, “Oh, I get it; I know exactly what we have now.” Bingo. Win all the way around.
6. Kids’ stuff
Place stuff your kids need to access more often on lower shelves. This way, they can grab what they want without you having to always go get it for them. You can go the extra mile by placing instructions on the bin too, like “Only one pack of crackers a day” or “Be sure to throw your trash away when done.”
7. Organize based on what you use most
I was informed that I was an inadequate expert due to my family size (three of us) and our large pantry, so I called in some reinforcements. My sister and mom of four, and said informant, provided tip six and this one. Even with labels, it can be hard to find things when your pantry is full. So while organizing, place the stuff used most often in the front or on the eye-level shelf. This will reduce your time staring through the masses of pantry goodies. She also noted narrow shelves make storage more accessible, so if you have the luxury of building or buying a new pantry, keep that in mind. For those of us who don’t, use height to your advantage when placing things two or three deep. Put larger canisters behind shorter ones or use accessory shelving to add height.