My Pantry Organization Project

I finally reached the breaking point and spent a couple of days last month doing a complete overhaul of our sadly disorganized kitchen pantry. With the holidays approaching, I thought it was a good time to take stock in what I had and get control of the situation. It was an ambitious project but so worth the effort. I’m sharing the results, along with all of the items I purchased to help me get and stay organized. I’m breaking it down, including the cost of each item and where you can find them in case you want to get to work in your own kitchen.

When we moved in to our current home I was thrilled at the prospect of having a pantry. I piled my canned goods, pasta, cereal, spices, and anything and everything else into my sweet new corner unit and have lived happily with it that way for years and years. But as time passed, more and more items were added and as you can see above, things got a little out of control. I was so tired of rummaging through the shelves to find what I needed and would frequently add items to my grocery list that I had no idea I already had on hand.

Then one day, I happened upon these OXO POP Containers and instantly knew they had to be mine. I envisioned all my dry goods securely stored away in these air tight plastic containers, stacked neatly in my perfectly organized pantry. The clouds parted, the sun came out, and the angels sang. My love of storage containers and organizational items runs deep, and of course, more shopping would be in order.

We’re doing this! Wait, did I say “we”?  I’m the only one in this house who gives a hoot about pantry organization.

I’m going in alone.

And, so it began. I went at it with the gusto of a woman fresh off a shopping trip to The Container Store. After I pulled everything out of the pantry and it was all strewn about my kitchen and dining room, reality struck. What have I gotten myself into? Is it too late to back out now?  The feeling was strangely similar to childbirth. The answer was the same now as it was then. So, I trudged forward, with my goal in mind. Those precious containers would pull me through this.

The first thing needed was a fresh coat of paint. There are all kinds of decorative choices out there but I went with crisp white to fulfill my vision of a clean, orderly pantry. I didn’t want any colors or patterns which I felt would make the space appear smaller and more cluttered.

The following day after the paint was dry, I lined the shelves with clear plastic shelf liner that I cut down to fit each shelf. Next, I transferred all my dry goods from their packaging to my lovely new OXO containers and some other neat containers I picked up.

Let’s see how it all worked out.

I pulled these out of the pantry to give you a better look at my favorite part of this makeover. These containers have fully lived up to my dreams. They are super durable, stackable, and they have a cool push button top that creates an airtight seal. I also love that they have a great big opening so you can easily reach in and scoop out the contents with a measuring cup. Bed, Bath and Beyond has the OXO Good Grips POP Container 10 piece Set for $99.99. I used two of those familiar 20% off discount coupons that seem to come to my mailbox constantly and purchased two sets. The discount brought the price of each set down to $79.99. This was by far my most expensive purchase but they were totally worth it. The containers are available for sale individually but it’s definitely a better deal to buy the set.

I went shopping on Amazon and found some cute chalkboard labels for $9.95 and a chalk marker for $6.95 to create the labels you see above. They are removable and you can wipe them clean with a wet paper towel to erase and start over, so if you’d like to change what you hold in each container – no problemo. Plus, they make your dry goods look super cute.

These tall containers are just the right size for boxes of lasagna and spaghetti. Thrilling! I always have an open box of orzo and it now has a home.

I found these Snapware containers at The Container Store for $7.49 each. They don’t take up much space but are roomy enough to hold even the biggest boxes of cereal. They have a great big opening so it’s easy to transfer boxes of cereal into them and the lid locks in the open position for easy pouring. Love ‘em!

I found these really inexpensive, sturdy, stackable bins at Storables for $6.95 each. Perfect for holding bags of chips, snacks, nuts, popcorn, and the like. It’s nice to have all these items contained in one place.

I’m crazy about my new bread basket. I found this Hogla Handled Storage Basket at The Container Store for $14.99. It fits perfectly in my pantry but is large enough to hold a couple of loaves of bread, English muffins, and bagels all at once.

I’m using these clear handled storage baskets to hold my baking goodies like, cake decorations, food coloring, extracts, boxed pudding and jello. I can place them up on the higher shelves and easily pull them down when I need them. I found them at The Container Store for $4.99 each.

Now, let’s peek inside the pantry and take a look at how it all came together.

To make good use of the corner space on the tippy, top shelf, I placed a large, round spin tray to hold big cartons of chicken broth and some other jarred items I keep in stock. It makes it easier to find and reach items that I’ve placed up high. It was $14.99 at The Container Store. 

I now have my canned and jarred goods placed in clear view on this tiered, expandable shelf organizer that I found at The Container Store on sale for $11.24. More canned goods, salad dressings, and similar items go on the shelf above.

Here are two of my handled baskets on a high shelf along with our cocktail mixers. Yeah, we’ve been known to mix up a cocktail every now and then. Up on highest shelf are all my cooking wines like marsala, madeira, dry sherry, port, and the like. The things I reach for the least go highest which is why the vodka is on the bottom shelf…just kiddin’ It’s in the freezer.

I have the majority of my OXO POP Containers here but there are some others spread throughout the other shelves. It just takes a quick glance in the pantry to see what needs restocking. Next to them are two of my handled baskets. One holds an assortment of baking items, baking chocolate, chocolate chips, nuts, and the like. The other holds salt, cornstarch, baking powder, and baking soda.

This is the area that needed the least amount of work. I’ve had these metal spice racks for ages and I make good use of the corner space with a lazy susan to hold the overflow. Oils are off to the right. All this shelf needed was a little straightening up.

All three Snapware cereal containers fit easily along with my bread basket and all my assorted dry pastas off to the right.

A sturdy plastic bin holds snack items and all my assorted vinegars, honey, and agave are off to the right.

Two more of the handy plastic bins are holding my boxed mixes, seasoning packets, unopened dry goods, potatoes and onions.

I placed the storage bin that holds the chips down low within easy reach because I firmly believe that chips need to be within easy reach. All my large boxes of foil, parchment paper, plastic wrap, and plastic storage bags fit easily to the left. Sponges and shopping bags to the right. I keep some of my assorted larger pans and racks down on the floor of the pantry to free up space in my other cabinets.

Having a place for everything and everything in it’s place makes my time in the kitchen so much more enjoyable. And, it’s been so easy to keep everything perfectly organized. It feels good to be heading into the holidays with one less thing on my “to do” list.

Now…on to all the other closets in the house.

Disclosure: I am not associated with Bed, Bath, and Beyond, The Container Store, or Storables other than as a frequent shopper, nor was I compensated in any way by any of the brands mentioned in this post. I am an Amazon affiliate and this post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

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9 thoughts on “My Pantry Organization Project

  1. Isn’t it a wonderful feeling to finally get things organized? When I stopped working, the first areas I attacked were the bedroom closets. I threw out every metal or plastic hanger, and bought boxes of the black felt ones at Costco. I bought some vertical shelf organizers for stacking things like tees and polo shirts, and a bunch of those attractive tubs that you see everywhere for miscellaneous storage, Next, moved on to the garage, and finally, the kitchen…and that one was a job and required some thought! I’ve been using a lot of the products that you’re showing, and even something as simple as an inexpensive plastic basket that you can buy at Target can bring organization to your life. One shelf in my refrigerator has three baskets. One is for things like jams, jellies, preserves, another for products like condiments, sweet & dill pickles, olives, pickled peppers, relish, and the last one for things like chili paste, black bean sauce, curry paste, Hoisin sauce (many often bought for one recipe and not used often). And I have a small plastic basket in one of the produce drawers to keep small things like ginger root, jalapeños, tubes of anchovy and tomato paste, etc. from getting lost. Congratulations, you’ve done a great job!

    • I bought those black felt hangers from Costco too, Pat! Don’t you just love them? I need to come see your fridge for motivation :) Sounds like it’s in much better shape than mine.

  2. I need you & Pat Bernitt to come help me! I am handicapped since 2006 so have been unable to reorganize without help! Your ideas & pics have given me the inspiration and a starting point on what to do. I especially like the plastic bins with the handle. I could use my grabber to help slide them out or pull them down. And my spice cabinet definitely would be helped by a two-tier lazy Susan. Thanks again for the ideas. I used to “face” my shelves & keep everything together when I could do it all by myself but when hubby or my son bring home my groceries I hate to be bossy & tell them where to put them. I am just so thankful they do my shopping for me! The pantry reorganization will be my first New Year resolution & task! Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Thank you so much, Paula. It’s wonderful to hear that you have been inspired and I hope your pantry comes together beautifully to make things easier for you. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family :)

  3. Oh I know how good that felt to get that done!!! It’s amazing how fast a pantry go get cluttered when you don’t have those little organizers. Great job!!!!

  4. Pingback: The Costco Haul – March/April 2014 | From Valerie's Kitchen

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