organize it: the pantry

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If you have ever cooked Thanksgiving dinner then you know it’s basically the Super Bowl for your kitchen. We’re hosting this year, so after I organized all the closets in our new house, I got serious about tackling our pantry. Because when you’re cooking the biggest meal of the year you have got to get your game face on, am I right?! Since I just recently finished whipping our new pantry into shape, I thought I’d share a few tips in case you want to do a little revamping to get ready for the big day.

I apologize in advance for the photos. A windowless pantry is kind of hard to photograph.

This is the largest pantry I’ve ever had. ever. Some of y’all may remember our tiny pantry in our old house. This pantry is definitely an upgrade. But no matter what size pantry you’re dealing with these tips can help. The key to organizing is making the space you do have work for you and your family.

Clearly I’m a fan of labels, and I’m not ashamed to say it. 🙂 Now that my kids are at an age where they can grab their own snacks and make their own school lunches, I like for everything in our pantry to be easy to find, and nothing makes things easier to find than a clearly labeled bin, basket or shelf. I used repositionable vinyl letter stickers from the craft store to label our shelves. This way everyone can clearly see where everything is/ where everything goes, and if I need to make changes down the road I can easily reposition the labels.

simple tips for pantry organization - label with repositionable vinyl letter stickers

Speaking of kids becoming more independent, they won’t be able to grab snacks or make lunches if they can’t reach what they need/want. So organizing the shelves in a way that keeps the items they need most often within their reach is definitely key.

pantry organization tips

Pantry shelves can get cluttered pretty easily and things can get lost in the shuffle………then weeks, maybe even months can go by before you realize there’s half of a loaf of moldy bread lurking in there. Ask me how I know. Having bins, baskets and buckets for everything keeps that scenario from happening. Nothing gets lost and you can simply slide the baskets out to grab what you want. You can find baskets everywhere from Target to the Dollar Store, so you don’t have to spend a fortune to get your pantry organized. For me, the baskets and bins also help me to compartmentalize the way I stock our pantry. Keeping my storage space for “snack food” limited to two baskets keeps me in check. It might sound dumb but this visual helps me to keep my snacking in line…..most of the time.

pantry organization tips

Corners of shelves can often be like a huge abyss as things get stuffed in them never to be found again which is why I like using lazy susans. I’m also a fan of tiered risers for jars/bottles. I’m all about keeping things easy to find.

pantry organization - use lazy susans in corners of shelves to make it easy to find things

If you have trouble remembering measuring equivalents like I do adding a chalkboard or whiteboard to your pantry might be helpful. I used chalkboard tape (found at Target) on the edge of one shelf and wrote out the equivalents I use the most.

pantry organization tips - chalkbaord tape for measuring equivalents

I’m a big believer in maximizing every bit of space, so my pantry also doubles as my “mom command center”. This is where I keep the Phillips family master calendar, any important school papers, weekly menus, magazine recipe clippings, coupons and mailing supplies. Basically this is all the stuff that keeps me functioning. And since I spend 98.9% of my time in the kitchen, our pantry seemed like the perfect place to set up my command center.

"mom command center" in pantry
The metal numbers were added just for funsies. There’s no rhyme or reason to them really. Other than that I already had them and thought they’d look cool. Since the three other people that live here have a habit of leaving our pantry door wide open I figured it would be a good idea to make the pantry look pretty as well as organized. This way when the door is open it’s not a total eyesore. Plus I really do think that when you take the time to make a closet, drawer, cabinet, etc look pretty you tend to do a better job of keeping it nice and organized.
pantry organization
It’s been about month since I whipped this pantry into shape and since then I haven’t had anyone ask me where anything is, no one has said I can’t find ________, and everyone can help put groceries away without asking where things should go. Bonus? No half loaves of moldy bread in sight. #winning
And now I’m ready for the big day too! Now to decide on a menu….and to answer the yearly question….pumpkin pie or sweet potato pie…….maybe both this year?
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