7 Best Ways to Organize Your Kitchen Pantry
January is the perfect time to organize your kitchen pantry. I went through our entire pantry and took inventory and Got organized. Now I am sharing the seven best ways to organize your kitchen pantry for the New Year.
I am going back to the basics this month and what is more basic than having a well-organized pantry? January is the time to clean and organize. I went through our entire pantry and took inventory, organized and made sure I have everything I need in our kitchen pantry.
I know what you are thinking. Organizing your pantry is boring! But it is not. Having an organized pantry is so important. It can save you money (so you don’t buy things you already have) and cooking can be so much easier and fun when you have the things you need in your pantry!
I have always said our kitchen is a working kitchen. Thus, organizing my pantry is a must. My biggest problem with our pantry is probably the opposite of most people. My issue is that I have too many items shoved in our cabinet. I need to thin out my cupboards and come up with a way to use the extra items in my menu planning. And soon!
I love the organizational system I used and I am convinced it can work for all of you.
Here are the seven steps I use twice a year to organize our kitchen pantry.
#1 Take inventory of what you have
I mentioned that my problem is too many items in my kitchen pantry. If you look at these photos you can see exactly what I mean. Over the years I have collected way too many bottles of flavored vinegar and oils. Many of them had expired and I had no problem getting rid of them. Don’t ask me how I ended up with four jars of butternut squash soup! Or four boxes of Chex cereal.
#2 Group things by category
It’s Important that you know the general vicinity where things are stored in your pantry. This will not only help you find items quickly but it will also keep you from buying duplicates.
#3 Use glass, clear containers that you can see through
I love the pantry jars I made last year and you can see how to make your own in my blog post here. See-through jars are so important because you will always know when you are running low on an item. I find they are great for my family members who don’t know where to find things in my pantry. And get an erasable marker and write the expiration dates on the bottom of the jars.
#4 Label everything
If you are going to remove items from their original packages (which I think is a great idea) be sure to label them. And don’t be shy about using large labels. I made mine on my cutting machine but you can also buy these on Etsy. To purchase the labels, try here or here or here. You can also find more labels here and here.
#5 Replace the old and expired items (such as baking soda and powder, plus check all the expiration dates, make note of duplicates)
Every year when I start baking for our Christmas party, I buy new baking powder and new baking soda. You may remember when I went through my spices last year and found some that had expired … ten years ago! Head to that blog post as there are also tips for deciphering the number codes on your spices for finding expiration dates.
Another item that goes bad is oil. Check the peanut and sesame oils in your pantry. If you smell them you will know right away if they have gone bad.
Do you know the one item in your pantry that will never expire? Honey. It’s true! Honey does not go bad. In fact, it’s recognized as the only food that doesn’t spoil. It will, however, crystallize (becoming thick and cloudy) over time. If this happens, just remove the lid from the jar, place it in a pan of water, and warm it over low heat until the honey returns to its original consistency.
#6 Use some of the amazing pantry organization items available.
I worked with the Container Store last year and found some wonderful items to help maximize my space. I used a double shelf extender and a two-tier lazy susan for my spices. Plus I organized my oils and vinegars in to plastic containers.
#7 Make sure your pantry is well stocked
I went through my pantry and took an inventory of all of the spices and items I can’t live without. There are probably some things you might want in your pantry (like olives) that I don’t have in mine. Sorry, but olives aren’t on the list. I can’t stand them,
I would suggest that you take this list and add to it to make your own list that best suits you. Then try to limit your shopping to these items. You will save money and space!
Here is my list of what you might want to store in your pantry.
- Flour (all purpose, bread, whole wheat)
- Sugar (granulated, brown, confectioners)
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Cream of tartar
- Cocoa powder (unsweetened)
- Chocolate chips
- Shredded coconut
- Pure vanilla extract
- Active Yeast
- Salt (kosher, sea, fine)
- Pepper (Black peppercorns, fine)
- Maple syrup
- Oil (Extra virgin olive, vegetable, peanut)
- Soy sauce
- Vinegar (Apple cider, balsamic, red wine, rice)
- Beans (chickpeas or black)
- Chicken broth
- Mayonnaise and mustard
- Tomato paste
- Roasted red peppers
- Tuna (albacore)
Rice and Grains
- Breadcrumbs (plain or panko)
- Grains (quinoa or couscous)
- Rice (Long grain white, Basmati, Sushi, Brown)
- Dried fruit: raisins, apricots, cranberries
- Peanut butter and jelly
- Seeds: sunflower, flax, chia
- Bay leaves
- Cayenne pepper
- Chili powder
- Crushed red pepper
- Dill seed
- Garlic powder
- Garlic salt
- Ground cinnamon
- Ground cloves
- Ground cumin
- Ground ginger
- Onion powder
- Paprika (smoked)
- Pumpkin pie spice
- Sesame seeds
It may sound boring but organizing your pantry is a really good thing. Cooking is so much more fun when I have a well-stocked pantry.
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Great post. Quick question. If you put your items in glass jars how do you know their expiration dates?
Nina – I noticed she said above ” And get an erasable marker and write the expiration dates on the bottom of the jars.”
My spices do not all have expiration dates. How do I know?
As I was scrolling through your list it looked like the list of what’s in mine verbatim. Except for coconut. I hate coconut. I’m from Hawaii and I can’t stand them. BUT give me a good baked coconut shrimp recipe and I’ll eat that. Thank you for sharing!
Happy to say I have all the pantry items on your list and have a few you should add! Ha ha
Great post ! My question is : what are the pieces of paper taped to the front of your pantry ?
I love your beautiful pantry! When you see you are about to run out of something, like flour for example, do you buy a new bag of flour ahead of time? Where do you store that?
A post I dare say we all need
I must find the clear jars!