Pantry Organization – the next level!

So excited about today’s post!  I re-organized my pantry.  Again.  I don’t have a great “before” picture of everything looking awful like I usually do because my pantry is one area that always stays organized.  I’m in and out of it so many times during the day and it drives me crazy when it gets messy.  It used to look like this:
{BEFORE}

Like I said, not awful, but I knew it could be better so last summer I decided it was time to take this baby to a whole new level!  I started this little project in July, took my time and finished it in October.  Then I took pictures of everything in November and finally in December I’m ready to share it!  (Good thing I don’t roll this way with all of my projects…)  Ready for the “new and improved taken to the new level” pantry?

{AFTER}
Ta-da!  I’m now pretending I can hear oohs and aahs from all of you.  If you aren’t oohing and aahing that’s ok.  I’m going to pretend anyway.  That’s the fun thing about having your own blog.  You get to  pretend what you want.  

A view from the side.  Now I hear applause.  And what?  A standing ovation?  
;)  
I’ll come back from fantasy land and break this baby down for all of you.  

A few reasons I decided to re-do this pantry – first of all, it’s so small and was always crowded with food.  I knew I wanted to get rid of bulky boxes that were taking up too much room.  Second of all, I live in a humid climate and if we don’t close the tops of boxes/sacks tightly after use the food doesn’t taste as fresh.  Nothing like semi-soggy crackers and cereal.  And third, well, I just wanted it to look prettier.  :)

I spent a long time deciding which containers to use.   I knew I didn’t want glass.  Breakables get broken around here.  And I’m not just talking about the kids.  I’m incredibly clumsy and break things all the time.  I’m sure Kenny would love to elaborate on this little fact.  But that’s the other nice thing about having my own blog.  No elaborating from Kenny.

We all eat the same thing for breakfast – Bran Chex for me, Oatmeal for Kenny, and sometimes the kids eat Cheerios.  I bought these Press Containers for our cereal and I LOVE them.  You can get them in two different sizes.  Mine are the large size and I can fit about three boxes of Bran Chex in one of these babies.  Major space saver!  I bought them at The Container Store but for some reason I can’t find them on-line.  I’ll keep looking, but here is something similar that would also work.  
The handles on the back and the attachable lids that easily pop up and down make them so easy to use.  Very kid friendly.  Very Erin friendly.  

For the rest of our dry goods I decided to use the OXO Good Grips.  I can’t begin to tell you how much I love these.  LOVE THEM.  Great variety of sizes, fantastic lids that seal when closed keeping your food oh so fresh, plus they’re stackable.  The only problem is that they aren’t cheap.  The rectangle size is the one I needed the most of (second one on the left) and those are around 17 bucks each.  That’s why I took so long on this project.  I just bought one or two at a time.  I could have bought them all at once, but then Kenny would have seen hundreds being spent on plastic organizers and he may not have been impressed.  And I’m all about impressing my husband when Christmas is in our near future.  :)  I will say though that these are absolutely worth the investment.  Now I’ll have these in our pantry forever and they really are a great way to organize and store your food.

For the flour, sugar, Bisquick labels I bought labels and a chalkboard pen on etsy (a fun shop called Bugaboo).  Love the look of chalk without the mess!  I wrote each one a few times and then realized that my handwriting wasn’t magically going to change and they all looked the same so I picked one out and stuck it on!

They turned out great!

I attached the directions for waffles on the back of the Bisquick container just in case I forget.  Actually just in case Kenny forgets since he is on waffle duty every Saturday.

Frist I had the Bisquick placed on the left so I could see the all of the fun labels, but I quickly realized that wasn’t the most practical way to organize everything.

I moved the cereal to the left because that is the easy to reach spot and we use those every day.  The Bisquick can be tucked in the top corner because we only pull it out once a week.  My best organizing advice is to set things up in a way that is the most practical for you and your family.  Make it function well for you and your needs.  

In fact, that’s why you don’t see labels on everything else.  I didn’t want to label the other containers because the contents are always changing.  One day one is filled with fishy crackers, the next day pasta, and when the pasta is gone it’s full of cookies.  I didn’t want to be tied down and have to put the same thing in each time.  Plus every few days when switching out the contents of the containers I like to rinse them off in the sink so they stay clean and I didn’t want to have to keep taking off labels and putting them back on.  Function is key!

A better look at the lids.  Love the way they seal shut!  
I mostly bought the square containers but did buy a tall one for pasta.  I was able to fill it with several packages of pasta and just left the wrapping on each of them.  So nice to have them all together!  The smaller container was the perfect size for Kenny’s brown sugar he sprinkles on his oatmeal and fruit every morning.  

I found this cute little scooper for the brown sugar at The Container Store.  
Because life is about the little things.  :)

I still organize all of my “sticky” items on a baking sheet.  I’ve been doing this for years.  It’s a great way to keep your pantry clean and those items all corralled together.  There was just enough room for my Prego stash in between the baking sheet and my clear baskets.  Love maximizing every ounce of space!

These clear baskets I also found at The Container Store.  They hold odds and ends like fruit snacks, packaged goods, and the middle one is for snacks I put in Ziploc bags so they are ready to go when we are heading out the door somewhere.  When I unload my groceries I fill my containers and if there is anything left over I put the contents in Ziploc bags.  I’m always glad I did when I am rushed making lunches or need to be somewhere quick and I know I’ll need a snack for Kole.

I found these baskets at Target and they are a great solution for things I didn’t want to dump into clear containers.  Chips are on the left and random boxed items are on the right.  To the right of the boxes there is just enough room for a loaf of bread or two.  A place for everything and everything in its place.

:)

I store all of my cans on the bottom shelf because we aren’t reaching for them as often as the other items. I bought the large Expand A Shelf and it was the perfect solution!  I love this organizer because you can make it as long as you need it to be.  Now that my cans are stacked I can see everything so easily.  No more searching for 10 minutes to find that certain can of beans.  They make this in a smaller size too.  A great organizing tool!

To the right I store paper plates and cups.  Easy location for me and the kids to grab at snack time.  

Bottom is free for anything else that doesn’t fit!  For now it’s just our Costco popcorn.  I blog better when I’m munching on popcorn.

Honestly, this pantry organization has made my life so much easier.  Yes, it takes a minute after grocery shopping to empty everything and keep it looking this clean, but in the long run it saves me time and money because I can so easily see what we have and need.  I have SO much more room to store food because I toss all of those bulky boxes.  The kids know where they can find everything and everyone knows where to put things away.  
Plus did I mention that it just makes me happy to look in it!?  I debated painting the inside (so many people are painting their pantries these days!) but as you know we are house hunting so I decided it wasn’t worth the time it would take me.  I’m sure in my next house my pantry will not only be organized, but a fun color as well!  
So there you go.  My “taken to the next level” pantry.  Can I get a Woot Woot!!   Nothing puts a smile on my face like a clean pantry and a clean fridge.  Life is hectic, but having often used spaces organized somehow makes the hectic much more manageable.  And a lot more fun.  
:)

Comments

  1. says

    Love it!!! I am in need of a major pantry overhaul specifically because we have one little guy in our house who can’t eat dairy or gluten. I’d like to reorganize so that all the foods he can eat are on one shelf…just a matter of time. You up for a organizing playdate? :)

  2. says

    Oh I have to tell you I had the funniest dream about you or about your house actually..

    I was there babysitting Kole. For some odd reason I had gone grocery shopping and had just set all the bags on the counters. I was playing with Kole and then my dream switched and I was in a different place. But I was so STRESSED because I had not had time to put the groceries away and I left a mess and I was soooo worried about you coming home to that mess!!

    Not sure what it means and not sure I want to know but it was really fun to see Kole in my dream. :)

  3. says

    ok this always happens when you post one of your organizing projects . . . you get me going on things I want to organize. I have a similar size pantry closet and I love what you did to yours. I have seen the oxo containers in Marshall’s and TJ Max too!

  4. says

    This is awesomesauce! You’ve just inspired me… now, I have to get crafty and start planning purchases of those OXO containers a couple at a time :)

  5. says

    Love this! That first picture looks organized to me- I thought that was your “after.” Silly me!
    I will remember this post when I have a pantry to organize or need inspiration. Great job!

  6. says

    Love Love Love! Don’t know if you would want labels for all the jars but you could take some chalkboard contact paper and trace those labels and cut them out. Contact paper is super CHEAP. I used some of the leftover contact paper from the chalkboard in my pantry to make labels like that for my craft room.

  7. says

    I love your pantry! My January goal is to organize my kitchen and this will be my inspiration! Love those square containers too…better start buying a couple at a time. Great tip.

  8. Valerie Hoyle says

    Please share where you got the chalkboard pen from! (I know etsy… :-) But, the seller? Direct link, if you still can find it in your account?) Thanks! And great pantry!

  9. says

    Aren’t those OXO containers great – we use them all of the time! I bought two or three of the really small ones to use when we travel, too (for snacks, veggies, etc.). I didn’t notice how pricey they were. Oops. I’m sure Will noticed : )

  10. says

    You are too cute for words! I love your new and even more organized pantry! So nice. We are big fan of containers around here. If i didn’t put my cereal in a container when I bought it we would never eat the whole box before it went bad!! Love the chalk pen too:)

  11. says

    I am a relatively new follower, but first let me say, I am enjoying your blog. I was inspired by this post as I have the exact pantry (size, shelves, style) you have in my new house, and I am struggling to organize it. So, thank you–a ton of great ideas! My last house had a walk-in (sigh) so I am making do. Now maybe I can manage it better!
    Thanks,
    Amy
    http://www.11magnolialane.com

  12. says

    Wow. Really I want to say I’m going to go organize my pantry .. that may not happen but this helps me visualize what an amazing, organized pantry could look like. Lots of oohs and aahs, indeed!

  13. says

    Woot Woot! Awesome Job Erin! I have a small pantry too and it drives me nuts! That’s the one thing I have to have if I ever buy a larger house – a big pantry!
    But your post gave me the inspiration to make the best out of the one I have!
    Thanks!!!

  14. says

    Ok, so half the time when you do your organization posts, I’m thinking, again??!! ;) But I have to admit, this one has me drooling a little bit. Love it! I keep my pantry organized (for me it’s my pantry and the kids toy closet, the only 2 clean things) But this is making mine look like crap! Holy cow! It really looks oh so beautiful! Great job! I think it will have to be a long investment process for me too. Love, love, love it.

    Oh, but I totally don’t get the painting the pantry thing. Why? You barley see the wall? Ya, I don’t get that.

  15. says

    Thanks for the sweet comments everyone!

    Some of you asked about spice organization – I’ll tell you a link to my spice cupboard in a question/answer post soon!

    Valerie – I have been trying to hunt down the name of the etsy shop I ordered those labels from. Jen from I Heart Organizing mentioned them on her blog too. I’ll let you know as soon as I remember!

  16. says

    Fabulous! The one thing that I miss in our new house is a pantry. Recently, I organized my cupboards (which now look similar to your before picture), but my dream is to have them looking like your after photo. Those containers look awesome… I’ll have to keep an eye out for some and start collecting. Oh, and your system of making ziploc snack baggies ahead of time is genius! Thanks for all of the great tips and ideas!

  17. Anonymous says

    Gorgeous!! No doubt, it’s a dream pantry! Now I think The Contaier Store needs to sponser a give-away for your blog. Great job, Erin!

    Andrea

  18. says

    Awesome! I use only Oxo containers. I spent hundreds on those things but they are so worth it! I use the same containers with handles from the Container store in my fridge and freezer. They are perfect for corralling!

  19. says

    Oh my word. I think this is my most favorite post of yours ever. I am going to “pin” it and refer to it when I have a nice large pantry to organize. Or I might just run to the container store and use all of your genius ideas now. Love it.

    I was cracking up when I saw your comment on Genn’s blog because I am the one who told her, “There’s this really cute girl who’s got amazing curls and I want them.” So I emailed her a link to your blog a year or two ago before she cut my hair one time and now you two are blog friends. (And that’s the cool thing about having a fellow blogger do your hair, she doesn’t think I’m nuts when I email her pics of random {real} woman.

    Again, great post.

  20. says

    Awesome! We just moved and my new pantry is smaller and it is so crammed right now. I am so glad you included the links. After Christmas, this is my number 1 priority.

  21. says

    YOU make me sick.

    I’m kidding!!!!
    Seriously nice work on the pantry.
    I am always re organzing mine and it just never stays the way I want it to.
    I’d really like if you were for hire to just come do my pantry? Yes? And I can give you a brazlian blowout as payment. ;)

  22. says

    So I don’t forget, I wanted to let you know that a house is going up for sale in our neighborhood within the next month. :) It is the one across from the Nichols’ house, with the turret. I hope you find this in the sea of comments because I know I will not remember again!

  23. says

    Wow! You have the exact same size pantry I have. I have always had pantry envy to my friends in the neighborhood and close by that had a larger or even walk-in pantry. This is enough to make my my heart melt. I am so inspired. Thank you!!

  24. says

    Looks great! :-) I’m forever rearranging mine and I love organization too. Although right now my house is a bit out of sorts due to a flooded basement :-( Hope you have a wonderful week!

    Blessings,
    Jill

  25. Karen says

    i looove your pantry…but please tell me what on earth bisquick is?

    it must be useful if you need an entire container for it!

  26. says

    LOVE your pantry. So question is do you store baking supplies in a different spot? I need to figure my baking supplies out.

    And for those ladies that asked about spices, we use a spice drawer! LOVE it. It’s a little deeper of a drawer in the kitchen, but it’s a perfect size. So I use little circle labels, and label the spice, so that way you can just look in and find what you need. And also you can find the chalkboard markers at Hobby Lobby and Amazon too! :)

  27. says

    Hi Erin, Do you know what size your oxo pop containers are. I have to order them online in Australia and not sure what size to get. Wondering about the rectangle ones. Thanks.

  28. says

    I really was oohing and ahing but too lazy to stand for a standing ovation ;)

    I love it all. Which may be bad because I sell Tupperware and should encourage you to use our containers with your cool chalk board labels ofcourse:)

  29. says

    Your blog is the best thing since sliced bread! And to make it better you live in SD! I was born and raised there and just moved to NC, this summer. I would love to sign up for your blog through RSS feed, but don’t see it linked here. I heard they are doing away with GFC.

  30. Anonymous says

    I am just wondering how you can tell when you food is expired with your new containers. I love to organize and I have helped several friends and family organize their homes and found that the biggest problem is people have a lot of expired food in their pantry. Mold can grow in flour which is why it is suggested to keep it in the refrigerator. I hope this helps.

  31. Anonymous says

    Oxo products are well worth the price!! Like she said one at a time to accomplish what she did but in the end your going to be so glad you did!! I have an OXO Good grips tea pot and paper towel holder – both top quality and am so glad I have them!! I’m totally disabled have some hand issues and had an infestation of pantry moths which you can get from buying pet foods from a store that are already infested, flour, bird seed, or anything with grain in it. Now I hsve to get plastic containers to put everything in that they’ll eat so they don’t come back. These look great!!

  32. Eroica says

    Hi Erin,
    WOW! Your pantry is amazing. I just bought the 5pc oxo myself at bed bath and beyond a few weeks ago — prior to seeing your blog. It felt so good to read about your “love” for oxo. :) I was guilty at first for spending $90 on containers and that was just the 1st trip. I have so many more that I need but am not sure of the sizes yet. What size is the square that you have for snacks–the ones next to the brown sugar. By the way, I am going to get the same labels you got! One last, I wanted to buy oxo for my flour and sugar but the 5lb bag wont fit in the square and I didnt want the tall square. Were you able to fit a 5lb bag in there? Thanks!

  33. says

    Hi Eroica!

    I believe I did fit a 5 lb bag in the tall square. The smaller square container measures around 5×6 inches. Thanks so much for your sweet comment! Have fun organizing! :)

  34. says

    LOVE this and have just started purchasing items to organize my pantry! I have wanted to do this for awhile but not sure where to start. But this is what i was looking for! Thanks!!
    One question, what are the clear containers with handles(the ones you put the fruit snacks and bagged goodies) called?

  35. says

    Hi Jenn! Thank you! I’m not sure what those baskets are called but I found them at The Container Store. Check out their site on-line (maybe under baskets?). Hope that helps! Happy organizing. :)

  36. says

    Reading this post makes me want to cry…because we don’t have a pantry, and we’re slobs and I can’t afford Oxo containers. Can I move in with you?

  37. Heidi says

    I LOVE this! I am SO re-organizing my pantry now! We have a HUGE pantry and my family tends to just throw everything on the shelves and floor when they’re done with it, and of course I am the one who always has to organize this mess! If I have containers and baskets for everything (and a little POSITIVE reinforcement)they’re sure to put everything in it’s place. Right?

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