Are you dreaming of a Pinterest worthy pantry? Let me tell you that dreaming of and executing that same dream are two completely different animals. How I organized my pantry and the three inexpensive products I used to do it.
Pantry Organization – Planning A Realistic Space
When we started designing our kitchen remodel, one of the spaces that I was laser-focused on was our walk-in pantry. I dreamed of this walk-in pantry since we built our home in 2003. With my children being babies, this space filled a more impotant role, like a toy closet and mudroom. Now that my children are grown, I knew I could finally purpose this space as I’ve always dreamed of. I went straight to Pinterest, as I always do, and began pinning. I couldn’t wait to get started until I realized that many of the amenities I dreamed of didn’t logistically work in my space. Back to the drawing board. I revaluated what worked best and was visually satisfying for my detailed obsessed eye.
Pantry Organization – Functional And Aesthetically Pleasing
As I began to rethink my pantry, I knew two things for sure – It must be functional and aesthetically pleasing. Functional for my grown children, now twenty-three, twenty-one, eighteen, and Fifteen. They may be grown, but they all still live with me, and they run through my house like tornados. My pantry is the outer edge of the storm. This space is still a pit stop, but with different needs, like midnight snacks or a quick carb boost on the way to lacrosse. This meant I needed to keep it simple with lots of grab and go options to avoid the mess. Here is where I had to be real about what worked and what didn’t.
Benefits Of Being Organized
The Aesthetically pleasing part was for my sanity. I don’t know about you, but I find it much easier to stay focused and calm when everything looks beautiful and is in its proper place. According to Shape.com, there is scientific data on the benefits of being organized, such as, organization can help reduce stress and depression, help you make healthier food choices, and boost your productivity. Those are all pluses in my book.
So, back to what worked — Sure, all of the Pinterest pantries had ceiling to floor shelving on all three sides and felt like Heaven. For me, that didn’t work. My entrance sits against one of the walls, giving me minimal depth to work with for shelving. So, I had to make the other two walls my workhorses. In other words, using the shallow wall as eye candy, but still keeping it functional. After researching prefabricated shelving, I quickly realized that they were too deep for my space.
Solution: Custom Built Shelves
To solve the problem, I brought in my carpenter to build custom shelves; I then painted them to match the cabinet housing my coffee maker and microwave. Finally, I brought in these fantastic airtight containers from Amazon to hold my cereal, Pretzels, baking goods, and popcorn kernels. Matching the paint to the freestanding cabinet gives the illusion of spending a fortune on all custom built-ins cabinets for a fraction of the cost. The most critical element here is to consider YOUR layout and be real about what can work and what doesn’t.
A Place For Everything, And Everything In Its Place
For the rest of the space, the simple truth is, I knew I needed a plan, and a good one. I started with a list of the large appliances, like my Miele built-in coffee machine (I now cannot live without and would purchase over and over again) and My Microwave. These two appliances were a must, so I placed them first in my floor plan. Then I began thinking about what other amenities were going to make the space functional.
I needed Shelving to hold these great stackable acrylic drawers I saw on Amazon. They can endlessly reconfigure to serve my ever-changing organizational needs (stay tuned to see where else I use these). One of the major problems I had was deciding how to keep necessities like paper towels, toilet paper, and hot cup refills in the pantry without seeing them. Again, I turned to my carpenter to build a bench with storage space for all of the unsightly items with shelving above to organize anything I wanted to easily access, like my Lara bars and Smart Sweets. I also added paneled walls on all the surfaces that didn’t have shelving. I painted all the shelving and panels to match the cabinet — creating the look of a built-in pantry while saving myself a few bucks.
Organizing tip #1
Keep your everyday items – like your morning oatmeal or dried fruit – front and center. Stackable drawers are my go-to for these items – they let me see exactly what I have. It helps me make sure I don’t buy extra of one and forget to buy something else.
Placement Of Items Is Key In Organization
Keep in mind that the fun is in the placement of your products. That’s right; placing your products in a visually pleasing order is where the satisfaction comes in. Keep it simple, as I did with the cereals, or you can spend some extra time and rainbow organize, as I did with my snacks and cookbooks. I took the extra time to do this, because color makes me happy, and seeing my products arranged through rainbow-colored lenses is so satisfying to me personally. Remember to do what is visually pleasing to you — it is your home, and it should reflect YOU.
Mason jars help me keep things organized. My design brain loves them because they add a different texture. And my organizing brain loves them because what CAN’T you fit in a mason jar? Mason jars are great for all kinds of things — I can pop them in the fridge and use them for overnight oats and smoothies in the mornings. They’re also PERFECT for holding loose items like cake decorating tips that would otherwise be rolling around my kitchen drawers. The same goes for odd-shaped things like cookie cutters. Tossing them in a drawer with other items can just lead to more clutter — so I separate them in a medium-sized mason jar. Mason jars are the unsung hero of my pantry; they can also hold extra coffee beans and other baking odds and ends like cupcake liners.
Organizing tip #2
Keep a few empty mason jars of different sizes handy. Small ones are good for items like those cake decorating tips; medium and large ones are best for dry goods like cupcake liner, rice, or coffee beans.
Take Inventory To Keep Your Pantry Organized
Having overflow of items will back up and leave your space feeling cluttered, so inventory is important. Each week before I do my grocery shopping, I take inventory. It’s quick and easy if you leave a notepad and pen in the pantry, as I do, to mark down things you are running low on.
The first thing I do when I get home from the grocery store is take all of the stuff out of their original packaging and transfer to my drawers and storage bins to keep everything organized. That even goes for dry goods like my baking supplies! I use these airtight containers with stick-on labels to hold all my baking ingredients. These containers are massive – I can fit a full bag of flour or sugar in them. As a mom who likes to bake, this makes me very happy. I hate wanting to make a treat like breakfast oat cookies, only to realize that I’m out of a critical ingredient like almond flour.
Organizing Tip #3
I use a sharpie to add the expiration date on the lid of these containers. When I restock, I can wipe off the marker with a magic eraser and relabel. Sharpie is also great to write the pancake recipe on the container’s lid that holds my Bisquick Pancake mix.
Finally, I added these cute blue bins that I found at bed bath along the middle shelf to hold all of my cleaning rags, baking utensils, and measuring cups. I added a few empty ones, so there is room to grow. Think of simple things like these empty baskets as breathing room. A little breathing room goes a long way in keeping you organized, even on those weeks that you just don’t have time to get in there and put everything in its place.
I am so pleased with how this space turned out, and now every time I walk into the pantry, I feel at ease and thrilled with the outcome.
Have you tried any of these pantry organizing tips? Snap a photo of your final result and tag @EdenInspiredhome on Instagram and Facebook.