Cleaning and Reorganizing the Pantry


I spent a lot of time in the kitchen cleaning out the pantry the other day.

After working through Michelle’s series last year I had really, really let it go! We had gotten into some bad habits and basically were having a hard time even locating things.



I love my pantry. I love  pantries in general. All that recipe ingredient goodness!  I love it even more when it’s organized and I can find things. For years I wanted a walk in pantry and now that I have it I had let it go.

There are few reasons why my particular pantry got out of sorts and they may be issues for you too. One of my goals was to solve them, at least in part, without purchasing anything new.

  1. Canned Goods. I actually don’t buy many canned goods but was struggling with where to put the few I do have. I’ve seen lots of cute organizers online and even a website that sells just can organizers. If I had a lot of canned goods I would probably get some of these. But again the goal was to purchase nothing.
  2. Little bags of odds and ends. I’m guilty of buying little bags of this and that from the bulk foods section. I usually do this when I’m trying recipes and the leftover gets tossed in the pantry to get tossed or stale.
  3. Snacks. I wasn’t organizing the snacks efficiently. I had bags of chips thrown all over. It was so bad I would buy new chips when we still had some. Just because I couldn’t find them.
  4. Spices. Another are where I had bits and pieces. I love buying Penzy’s spices but I don’t always need to order $40 in spices so I have other bottles, or bags, from the grocery store. Again a mish mash. Some were blends. Some I’ve grown. Some were individual herbs. And all was a mess.

So I attempted to deal with these 4 areas without purchasing anything.

First I did the one thing all good declutters and organizers must do.

I took everything out of the pantry!

Oy vey!

I originally thought this whole cleaning and organizing process was going to take much longer than it actually did. On this particular day I did grocery shopping and spent 2 hours in the garden among regular home stuff.pantry3

For the canned goods I used these bins I had picked up from the Container Store a couple of years ago. I really like their organizers because simple bins and baskets are well priced so you can pick up a few without breaking the bank. I also use these bins in the bathroom but here in the pantry they easily carried the few cans I do have. You can see my larger tomato cans to the right there. I usually have about 4 on hand at a time and I just ended up stacking those.

pantry4My pastas and grains I kept in the same baskets they were before but after shuffling things around you can see they ended up in the wrong name baskets. Since these labels are chalkboard I’ll just erase and rewrite.

pantry5I put bags of chips in some round plastic baskets I have from the Dollar Store.

My spices. I love spices. I just organized for easier reach. I keep the small jars from Penzy’s so I can refill them.


We keep water in some unfinished wooden bins I picked up from Joann’s. My husband drilled a few holes in the bottom and I added wheels to make them easy to use. These were actually wheels we already had around the house from other organizers and things we’ve purchased in the past.

pantry11The rest of the items in the pantry were just edited, and organized by type.

So here is how I worked.pantry10

  1. Took everything out of the pantry
  2. Wiped down shelves
  3. Swept and mopped floor.
  4. Starting at the top I put things like my cake holders, slow cooker, and party supplies.
  5. Next I started by putting back my bins of grains and beans. I know where these go and even though I need to add nice labels they’re easy to place.
  6. Then I added the cans. I moved both of these items (the bins and the cans) down a shelf from where they were before.
  7. I put my metal bins of pastas and soup mixes and odd grains (not the basic rice and lentils) on a shelf and then my snack items each got a little metal bin or the plastic basket based on size and kind (popcorn has it’s own bin).
  8. I have a bucket for oils. And a bucket for sauces and vinegars.
  9. And I put all my baking items (flours are in the fridge and freezer) in a bigger bin and up on the shelf.
  10. The spices got laid out on one of those metal shelves. That way I can see them better than what I had all thrown in a bin.
  11. Finally. Since I just can’t dump everything in a bin, other items are placed neatly on the shelf.
  12. Oh wait! Scratch that! The final thing will be when I erase and re-label everything.

So tada! It was so worth it. I can actually walk into my pantry without tripping over something I’ve thrown down. I’ll really try to keep it up but you know how things go.pantry2


I also got so inspired that I ended up working over my tea cupboard which was equally in bad shape!


Share your pantry pics with me.

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