My pantry. A plastic graveyard where snacks rule and baking products go to die. Anyone else working with something similar to the below? Maybe yours has fewer parmesan Goldfish, but I’m willing to bet there are many plastic bags and you can only see about 25% of what’s actually in there.
With this reorganization, I wanted to accomplish three things:
- Increase visibility. I know this won’t be perfect until I have the walk-in pantry of my dreams, but there is definitely room for improvement.
- Lose the Ziplocs. I’m slowly transitioning to a plastic-free kitchen in general for both environmental and aesthetic purposes. For years, I’ve repackaged open containers in plastic bags to maintain freshness and fend off pantry bugs, but it’s time for an upgrade.
- Prioritize the regulars, and move things I reach for every day to the front. Random grains and duplicates can take a step back.
So let’s break this down!
Take everything out. Throw away anything that’s too old, and wipe down the shelves.
Sort your products. I have three shelves to work with, so I chose three categories: Baking Products, Canned & Jarred Goods and Cooking & Snacks (aka Everything Else).
Baking is a rarity around here, so in order to free up some extra space, I took items that I really never use, like yeast, baking powder, baking soda and random flours and put those in some decorative canisters that were sitting empty on my kitchen shelves. I will be the first to admit that six months from now, I’ll forget that I did this and double up at the grocery store, so I wrote down the contents on a Post-it and stuck it to the wall on the baking shelf in the pantry. A note to my future self, if you will.
Containers. I purchased several Bormioli Rocco jars in different sizes for goods that were already opened. These have both eliminated my plastic bags AND upped the aesthetics in the pantry. Win-win.
The .5 liter jars* are great for partially used packages of grains like cous cous, rice and orzo. The 1 liter* size (pictured below) is perfect for small pasta shapes, sugars and specialty flours. I used a 2 liter for all-purpose flour and a 3 liter for large pasta, like the calamarata from last week’s Pasta Bolognese! I’ve linked a couple of well-priced six packs on Amazon above. If you prefer to purchase individual jars, they are all on sale from the Container Store right now, and their curbside pickup is a breeze.
Save your cooking instructions! Cut them out from the original box or bag, rock the contents of the jar to the front, and slide the the instructions down the back. Level out the jar and whatever is inside will hold the paper or plastic in place.
Pick a shelf, and start. I purchased a three-tier organizer* for my canned and jarred goods, so that I can see the ones in the back. This forced some items that I don’t use every day (looking at you, Jim Beam and golden raisins) forward simply because of height, but I was able to keep my daily vitamins front and center. Good enough for me! Oh, and wherever possible, turn your labels forward. It sounds OCD, but it will bring you peace, I promise.
For the baking shelf, I placed unopened boxes and bags in the back, leaving the front row for my pretty new jars. See aforementioned Post-it on the left 😉
BEFORE & AFTER
Visibility is better. You can see how that tiered organizer maximized the height of the middle shelf.
No more Ziplocs! Glass jars sitting pretty.
And my regulars are all up front for easy access.
We’re a ways away from my walk in pantry, but this will certainly do for now!
*This is an affiliate link, which means I make a small commission if you purchase from it. Thanks!