Let’s talk about how to organize food. Most professional organizers I know dream about organizing pantries. The product choices are endless and the end results can be so stunning. But for most of our clients, the kitchen is BY FAR the hardest room to tackle. It is the most used room in your home. And while you can stop shopping to reduce clutter in other areas of your home, you CAN’T stop buying food! We all have to eat. Whether you have a dedicated pantry or smaller cabinets spread throughout your kitchen, it is possible to organize your food quickly! Below are my tried and true tips on how to organize your pantry in two hours.
How do I know you can do it? Because we put this to the test by giving a mini-pantry makeover for one of our loyal Instagram followers. Check out her before and after (at the end of this post), which we achieved in two hours. Here is the before:
Always, always, start with purging. You know what you get when you organize without purging? Organized clutter. If you don’t take the time to purge from the beginning, all your organizing efforts will be in vain. Pull your food OUT of its current home, go through every single item, purge anything that is expired, but don’t stop there. Also purge anything that you no longer eat or no longer like, even if it seems wasteful. Be ruthless here. If there is an item that you intend to eat, but every time you see it, you pass over it for something else, donate it (if it’s still good!). The money is already spent. Clear it out to create a clutter-free pantry and cabinets.
Separate your food into zones. Create general categories that make sense to YOU. When making categories, you can make them as general or specific as you want. Sample zones include: dinner, snacks (salty + sweet), breakfast, and candy. If you have kids (and you’re OK with them choosing their own snacks) put the kids’ snacks in a place that is accessible to them.
Measure your space. Be sure to include width, depth and height. This can be tedious, I know. But if you want your kitchen to be organized ONCE AND FOR ALL, you need products that maximize every inch of your space.
Once you have your measurements and zones, head online to order your products. My two go-to sites are always The Container Store and Amazon (ok, in fairness we did this step in advance. We are professionals, so we can switch the steps around a bit).
Once your products arrive, spend some time decanting. I love to decant cereals and baking ingredients. They are so much easier to pour, and the right decanting products will prolong their shelf-life. I also love to take any individually wrapped products out of their bulky boxes to save room. Keep in mind, though, that if extra containers aren’t in the budget, that decanting is an extra step that you don't necessarily have to follow.
You know this is my favorite step. And not just because it looks so amazing (which it does). If you want your newly organized pantry to stay that way, everyone in your home (including you!) needs to know what every item goes. Labels serve not only as a roadmap, but also an extra motivator to keep it looking tidy and oh-so-glam. We make custom labels for our clients on a Cricut. But if that’s not an option for you, you can order pre-made labels online, or make them yourself with the Brother P-Touch Cube Plus label maker (pro tip: use the 1 inch tape).
Ok, I know what you are thinking. All the steps above seem fairly straightforward, except for step four. With so many options at your fingertips, where should you start when ordering products? The Container Store has all the kitchen essentials you need to make the best use of your space. (Added bonus: there’s a sale running until April 5!)
Here is what we used in this pantry makeover:
If you want a clean look and don’t like to see all the messy food packaging, the Water Hyacinth Storage Bins are the perfect choice. I use them to organize my own pantry because they stand the test of time and look amazing.
If seeing your food is more your speed (which, to be honest, is the case for most of my clients), these clear iDesign Linus Pantry Bins are fantastic. They are durable, easy to clean and come in so many different sizes. We recommend using them in hard-to-reach spaces so you can easily see what’s inside.
It can be useful to decant items to keep yourself from buying too much of the product (hello, four bags of flour!), and to keep the items fresher longer. Decanting items has the added benefit of looking so pretty on your pantry shelves. I don’t recommend decanting items that you go through quickly, because this added step can get annoying. But, for those items that stay on your shelves longer, this ProKeeper Premium 10-Piece Bakers Set is perfect.
We love these risers for canned goods. The most thrown out items in pantries are typically the canned goods because most clients simply can’t see what they have. The Home Edit Three Tier Shelf displays your canned goods so you can see them all at once.
Lazy Susans might just be my favorite pantry product of all time. They help you see all of your items and make them easy to reach no matter how small or tall your space. We used the Home Edit Lazy Susan for all of this family’s snack bars. And we used the iDesign Divided Lazy Susan for oils in a separate cabinet.
We were so happy to provide this pantry makeover for our client, especially when we learned that her five year old suffers from celiac and needed a dedicated shelf for foods she would know were safe for her. If you found this blog helpful, follow me on IG and sign up for my Grid + Glam newsletter here!
I'd love to hear from you! Please leave any comments or questions below.
I am a proud Container Store Ambassador and these products were gifted to my client from the Container Store. The links provided are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission if you order through them. All opinions expressed are my own. I only share products that I genuinely use and love.
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