How to Organise Your Pantry… Big or Small!


Meal preparation, cooking and baking all become more enjoyable and efficient tasks when things are in order in your kitchen pantry. Not to mention the fact that everyone loves a colour-coded, organised pantry with uniform storage jars/containers and trays, right?

Of course, it’s important to note that organising this space is only half the task; the other being to actually maintain it. Furthermore, there are different types of pantries such as in-built shelving, walk-in pantries, double-door cupboards, freestanding cabinets, and more. 

Regardless of where you store these dry foods and ingredients, the principle of organising remains the same; you can’t have them all mixed up and stored in a haphazard manner – not unless you want to waste your time searching for something specific or have things falling out when you open the pantry door.

With that said, there are plenty of tips on how to keep an organised pantry and in this article, we are going to combine the best ones to help you make yours a truly well-organised space!

1. Categorise Food Items

You can’t organise food items in your pantry without categorising them first. To do this, it helps to list down all the foods in your pantry under their respective category; this will give you an idea of how much space or the number of shelves/trays you will need in the pantry to store each category of items.

Although every kitchen pantry is different and must be categorised according to the types of food items it contains, you will find the list below helpful in figuring out how you can categorise your pantry items best:

      • Spices and condiments
      • Powdered condiments
      • Baking products
      • Canned foods
      • Rice and grains
      • Lentils
      • Everyday cooking ingredients
      • Vinegar, apple cider, cooking oil
      • Protein powders
      • Nuts
      • Packaged foods – instant noodles, pasta, spaghetti, etc
      • Crackers and biscuits
      • Snacks 
      • Soup cubes/packets

Depending on the size of your pantry or available space to accommodate these items, some categories can be stored together in the same storage basket/tray.

2. Purchase Appropriate Sizes of Storage Containers, Jars & Bottles

Again, the sizes and types of storage jars and bottles to use will depend on what food items you have in your pantry, the number of foods that can be transferred to these storage aids, and the size of the pantry. If you are unsure of what you need, the best way to determine this is by lining up and categorising your pantry items on the kitchen counter. Next, envision what they might fit into and, subsequently, how the containers/jars will fit into the pantry. 

When you have the right idea of what you need, keep the following tips in mind when you are looking for pantry storage aids:

      • Stick to a theme in terms of the material (plastic, metal, glass, etc), style, and pattern
      • Maintain proportions for a uniform look; i.e. choose 2-3 different sizes 
      • Choose bottles and containers that are secure but easy to open for quick access
      • Transparent storage is always preferred to locate items faster and/or check which foods require to be re-stocked
      • Make a note of the number of foods that you will transfer into these storage containers and mark down the approximate size required for the same

The whole point of purchasing these storage jars and containers is to keep things in your pantry in order while also creating a neat and uniform look for the entire space.

3. Use Organising Aids – Baskets, Trays & Storage Bins

Not everything in your pantry can be transferred into something else; there will certain packaged foods and canned items that require to be stored as they are and, therefore, must be organised efficiently. That’s exactly what organising aids such as trays, baskets, and bins are used for because they help to separate different categories of food in your pantry. Although most bottled ingredients and canned foods can be organised on different shelves or on either end of a shelf, using these storage items in your pantry encourages better organisation and keeps it looking uniform through and through. You should also consider installing racks on the inner sides of the door for added storage; they can accommodate spice bottles and small food items.

Again, it is advisable to stick to a theme when purchasing trays, baskets, and bins, as well as to match them with the theme and colour of the bottles/jars being used to store ingredients and food items. This is also your chance to get creative and pick contrasting colours and/or mix and match for a more fun-looking pantry! 

4. Empty Pantry Items into Storage Containers > Organise with Organising Aids

Before you organise the pantry, make sure that the transferrable food items fit into the containers, bottles, and jars you have purchased. By doing so, you will understand whether you have extra storage or require to buy a few more items. The next thing to do is to figure out the best use for your organising aids with regard to convenience, neatness, and order. 

Apart from this, you will need to ensure that everything fits into the pantry without looking overcrowded or cluttered. It may take a while before you are able to organise your pantry efficiently; however, once you do, keeping your kitchen organised will be a lot easier! 

5. Use Labels and Colour Codes

A two-in-one solution for further organisation of your kitchen pantry requires the use of colour-coded labels. These vibrant labels add a splash of colour to the space while simplifying the process of locating and storing items. For example, if you have two or more categories of food items stored in one basket/tray, the use of colour codes will help you identify where a particular item is quicker, as opposed to reading the label (even though the name of the category will be mentioned on the label). 

At first, it will take some time for you and other household members to memorise which colours represent specific food categories but after a while, you will love the convenience of pulling out a colour-labeled storage aid to find just what you are looking for! 

No matter what kind of pantry you have, how big or small, the best way to organise it efficiently is by using all the tips above in combination!

Karen Saunders


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