As part of Clutter Blind Mondays on my Facebook page, I posted a picture of a pantry organization pin that had the elements that I love; glass jars, matchy/matchy and lots of containers. But the responses were, “beautiful….wish I had a pantry”. YEAH! ME TOO! But, I don’t….technically. What I do have is a pantry system.
Look At The Big Picture
My food is organized in a large map cabinet that I picked up junkin, and I keep it in the garage next to the door. But, my food pantry extends into the house. I have apothecary jars on my china hutch filled with cereal, rice & beans. I have large glass containers on my counter with oatmeal, flours and sugar and on the other counter is my snack jars filled with popcorn kernels, big marshmallows, and seasoned crackers. Hey! Don’t judge my snacks. I keep my potatoes & onions in a plant stand and fruit in a bowl on my vintage scale.
Your pantry doesn’t have to be located in one single place, spread it out! And if you do, may I suggest apothecary glass jars , (you should be able to find them at Big Lots or Wal-Mart). I just love them for the reasons that I mentioned in the picture, but mostly because they are beautiful, functional and add a stylish element to my kitchen.
Pantry Organization 101
Wherever you store your food, in as many places as that may be…that is your pantry. You will save time and money if it is well organized, because you can easily see what you have and what you need. You won’t end up with 10 cans of something, or umteen packages of gravy mix that might expire before you get to them because you kept buying duplicates. Nor will you have to entirely empty your shelves making sure you have spaghetti noodles. It’ll be organized……and pretty!
What to do?
Since February is Canned Food Month, now is the perfect time for pantry organization! Store cans together in one place but separated in rows by categories. For instance, rows of tomato based food like; diced tomatoes, and then tomato sauces and then paste. Next to that might be a row of canned green beans, followed by beats, then……… you get the idea. Keep your jars of pasta sauce together with the pasta. Keep your boxed mash with the boxed rice together in one location. And so on.
I don’t care if you alphabetize them, organize them by content, most frequently used or box color. Find a system that makes sense to you and go for it! But just because your pantry is spread about doesn’t mean it can’t be stylin!
I found some great ideas especially on Dreaming in DIY and Life Hack for organizing your pantry beautifully. That mesh laundry basket can be found at Dollar Tree, and I love mine. But if you want something stronger try a canvas clothespin bag. And I don’t bother to label my glass jars, I know what’s in them, but oh my…..I do admire a pretty label!
And how is this for an idea. If you have a home like mine with a built in China Hutch, how about turning it into your pantry? The built in like in photo #3 would be perfect to replica a turn of the century grocery store filled with glass jars and tins! Lots of room! And if you are using beautiful containers YOU WANT to show them off so glass doors are a plus!
Look Beyond Glass
The organizing world is your oyster! Think baskets, both wire and woven, and tins, but go beyond that. What about using magazine holders? Small bathroom trash cans, trays, apple crates, or square, deep casserole dishes. Scour the countryside….. uhh, see what you have to use, or visit your local thrift stores.
It depends on the size of your pantry or cabinets really. If you have the room, go wide and deep but short. If not make sure you measure your shelf before you buy! In my own pantry I prefer to use containers that I can easily see what’s in them. This makes my life so much less stressful if I can open a door, glance inside or pull out one container when making my grocery list. So I tend to go with office wire in/out-trays for my baking cabinet.
Low on Funds, High on Motivation?
You can have a super organized but totally beautiful pantry for pennies, you just have to get a little creative, or have a little patience.
How do you feel about dumpster diving in your City’s recycling bins, because that’s where you will find the most awesome bulk jars! But, before you mine for glass by diving head first, with feet dangling…check with your city’s recycling program to find out if it is allowed to remove recycling. I hear some programs are touchy about that kind of thing. Also, make sure it’s safe! NEVER, and I mean NEVER climb inside a recycling container! If it is not within easy reach, just consider it one that got away.
While a one gallon glass jar with a clamp lid is awesome beyond measure, it’s not worth your husband’s life. It’s tempting I know, and men seem to be overly willing to be convinced to do silly things, just don’t do it. I’m not worried that you will do it, because women have more common sense and once I tell you that it smells like a week old backed up garbage disposal in there, I have confidence you will avoid the experience.
What’s the Alternative?
Don’t find recycling diving appealing? You could also post the need on Facebook. Ask your friends to save their 5 gallon jar of pickles they bought at Sams on sale…..might take a while to actually get it, but call DIBS now! OR you could call around and ask at small mom and pop cafes, most of them buy several jars of bulk items weekly. You could also dig deep and find the patience to build your glass container collection with thrift store finds. Then eyeball shoe boxes and food boxes cut in half! Wrapped in beautiful paper they are a wonderful addition to any pantry.
Don’t ever let anyone else’s Pinterest pin of an awesome thing, get you down! Don’t compare your apples to their oranges. Appreciate the beauty of what they have, then steal ideas and inspiration from them like crazy! You don’t have a pantry? Of course you do! It’s just different. That doesn’t mean you can’t utilize their ideas into your home. You can still have rows of matching glass jars, canvas covered wire baskets filled with chips or colorful index boxes containing sauce mixes. You don’t have to have pantry envy when a totally rockin organized pantry is just waiting for you to create it. What are you waiting for?
Happy Pantry Organization!