How to organize your pantry with smart, space saving products plus tips and tricks so you can spend less time searching and more time cooking! Thanks to Rubbermaid® for sponsoring this blog post.
Truth...I have never been one to identity with an organized pantry. That’s forever been a unicorn idea to me.
I know my kitchen cabinets to be mildly chaotic, juuuust messy enough that Jeff must reorganize them every couple months. It looks stellar and then time passes and what do you know, I can't find the darn sugar again.
The problem, I realized, is that nothing had a home. I would put things back in random places and then be surprised when I couldn't find something again. Having nearly empty bags of flour and sugar strewn about didn’t make distinguishing one thing from another any easier.
Enter Rubbermaid® Brilliance™ Pantry Containers--- the answer to my chaotic storage situation! Now everything has an easy-to-find home that's appropriately sized depending on the item and our usage. They stack super well thanks to the modular design, which saves a ton of space. We're never going back!
We have three cabinets that we use to store food. The one pictured here has mostly baking items. We have one next to it that has more cooking and snacking items like nut butters, rice cakes, chips, crackers, trail mix, grains, coffee, and some goods. The third one is where we store all of our spices, oils, vinegar, and other miscellaneous items.
Let's face it...there's plenty of things in our lives right now that are out of our control. I think the small but mighty act of bringing order back to our pantry brought me a sense of peace because it was something I could control. I hope it'll do the same for you!
Without further adieu, let's help you get your pantry organization on.
1. Remove everything
Ahhh...a clean slate! Give the pantry a good wipe down.
Ditch half full bags of powdered sugar from 2018 buried at the back or that one random type of flour you never use. Get a good inventory of what you have on hand currently and what you want to have a permanent home in your newly organized pantry.
2. Store ingredients in air-tight, clear, stackable containers
Give your items a sensible new home in Rubbermaid® Brilliance™ Pantry Containers. I actually used some from the Pantry set and some from the Food Storage Containers set since our cabinets aren't very tall.
Put the items you use most in the largest containers. Put what you use least in smaller containers.
The 2-latch design provides a 100% airtight and secure seal to lock in freshness, so you can store your ingredients mess-free. Bonus points for being stain- and odor-resistant so they stay looking like new!
3. Save space by only storing the product you need for a few months
Store remaining items, like bulk sugar or chocolate chips, in another area so you can best utilize the real estate in your pantry.
My area is fairly small, so there was no need to store two pounds of flour or two bottles of vanilla extract in there. This will also extend the shelf life of your product, since flour lasts longer when stored in the refrigerator.
We have a closet where we store a lot of canned food and backups, so I keep all extra sugar, flour, chocolate chips, etc in there. I use it as a refill station of sorts!
4. Put your most-used items on the shelves closest to you
You want the items you cook or bake with most often within easy reach, like flour, sugar, oats, and chocolate chips for example. Items that I use less frequently, like potato starch and instant coffee, are in smaller containers on the top shelf.
If you have canned goods, I'd recommend arranging them by category (like tuna/salmon, tomatoes/vegetables, coconut milk /pumpkin, beans/legumes, etc) since they all look the same when they're next to each other.
5. Clearly label all items
Since items are no longer in labeled bags, having some sort of labeling system is key. We used this embossing label maker that cost less than $10 and works like a charm. Now we're addicted to labeling everything!
6. Consider using a turntable
We have a Rubbermaid® Turntable where we store everyday baking essentials like pure maple syrup, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla extract, cacao powder, and cinnamon. (I put cinnamon in one of the smaller containers which is wider and easier for measuring versus keeping it in the original jar.)
The turntable is a total game changer. It makes it so easy to find things!
We also have one in our other cabinet that houses jars of nut butters and one that has oils, vinegars, and most-used spices like chili powder, oregano, and garlic powder. Knowing exactly where to find these things and having a permanent home for most-used items is key!
7. Keep it tidy
Hold yourself accountable to put the containers back where you found them. Take a photo of your hard work so you can easily remember where everything goes. You did it--now let's keep it that way!
More food organization tips
Store nuts and seeds in the refrigerator or freezer. These foods contain delicate omega-3 fatty acids that can go rancid. If you have large amounts of nuts and seeds that you won't go through in a month or two, store them in the refrigerator or freezer to protect the flavor and extend the shelf life.
I keep almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and ground flax in the refrigerator. I do keep nut and seed butters in the pantry as I like them to have a drippy consistency. I go through these quickly so nothing is going rancid.
Look for expired product. This sounds like an obvious one, but for spices especially, check the dates and toss anything that's too old. Organizing the pantry is a great way to kill two birds with one stone and get rid of the stuff that's past its prime.
Only store items close by that you regularly use. There's no point in having something taking up valuable space in your pantry that you don't use on a weekly or monthly basis.
For us, those are items like bulk coarse salt and peppercorns, which we use to refill our salt and pepper shakers every couple months but that we don't need taking up precious pantry real estate.
One of the biggest reasons our pantry has stayed organized is that we no longer keep as many items in there. I realized that baking ingredients I use once in a blue moon, like lemon extract for example, don't belong in that space.
What are your favorite organizational tips?