Wednesday, June 26, 2013

organizing the kitchen pantry

 Are you lucky enough to have a pantry in your kitchen? My kitchen doesn't
have a pantry, so I keep most of my dry goods in one main kitchen cabinet.
This is where I keep all my grains, pastas, spices, and some other
items such as peanut butter, honey, raw almonds (we eat some every day; 
other nuts are kept in the freezer), and dried fruit.

This is the cabinet before. Not too bad, but a little sloppy.

I started by clearing everything out of the cabinet and wiping down the shelves.
Then I threw away anything that was expired.

I like to keep grains and pastas in glass jars ~ it keeps the items fresher when
you can put the lid back on a jar instead of trying to close a box or bag. Ever
try to close a box of pasta when you didn't use the whole thing? I can't tell
you how many times I actually used tape to keep a box closed.
 I also like how you can easily see what you need when items are in glass 
containers. I cut the  cooking instruction label off the original bag and put it in
 the container with the grain or pasta.

Honey, maple syrup, and molasses are obviously sticky, so I use plastic
lids underneath these types of jarred items to catch the drips and prevent
the sticky stuff from getting onto the shelving.

I ran out of glass jars for some of the goods, but I'm always on the
lookout at thrift shops. I also reuse salsa jars or any other food that comes
in jar that is big enough to re-use for dried goods. I then group things together ~
grains, pastas, dried fruit, dried beans, and spices.

I think I have every spice known to man. I don't want to be wasting time 
searching for a particular spice when I'm cooking, so I organized these in
baskets according to how they're used. For example, one basket holds Italian
spices - oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary, onion salt, garlic powder (though I mainly
use fresh garlic), and parsley. Another basket holds baking spices - cinnamon,
ginger, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, and cloves. How about a basket for salts and
peppers? I have a pepper grinder for coarser pepper and then a bottle of "regular",
fine-ground pepper. I have a little bottle of kosher salt, but I sometimes use Trader Joes
21 Seasoning Salute in my cooking, since it's a salt-free blend.

It's so easy to just pull a basket off the shelf and have all the spices you need
at your fingertips. Now I need to find my label maker and label these baskets!

And here's the after - much neater and more organized.

 Joining Cozy Little House for Tweak it Tuesday
Come on over and see what all these talented ladies have been up to!



  1. I like your basket idea for spices . . . I need to do some clean up and I might just copy your idea!

    1. Anything that can help make life a little easier, right?

  2. Melanie - You looked pretty good before you organized! LOL That's my hot summer project - cleaning out my kitchen cabinets. I've told the granddaughters that they can come get whatever I don't want to keep. I have way too many pots, pans and dishes. Good job!


    1. Thank you, Judy! I have to tackle my pots and pans cabinets still, too.

  3. I do have a pantry, but still, our spices are in a separate cupboard near the stovetop and microwave. We have a few spice packets for using on meats when we grill them and I keep those in a small tupperware type container in the pantry. Baskets are so great for organizing anything in the house whether it be the office or the kitchen, the laundry room. One can never have enough cool baskets. xox

    1. You are so lucky that you have a pantry, Diane! It sounds like you're already organized. :-)

  4. Hi Melanie, I like putting things in jars instead of their store packaging too. Yours looks great.
    I like your shelf lining too. Reminds me one of our long shelves is much in need of some new lining. The old is curled up and looks bad.

    1. I should've written about the shelf liner, too. You can buy it in rolls at Wal-Mart. Cut to size and it stays in place. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  5. YOu've done a fabulous job. I love it. Hugs, Marty

  6. Great Job! It looks very nice and organized. I don't have a pantry either - wish I did! I put a shelving unit in an extra closet and use that as my pantry.

    1. It's so much easier to find things when they're organized, isn't it? No extra closets here either - closet space is at a premium! I do have a basement though and use a couple of shelving units for more pantry storage.

  7. Hi Mel, there is something so satisfying about getting things in order. My dream is to be organized enough to put a screen door on my pantry. It may take a while ;-). Love, Penny

    1. You can do it, Penny! I would even come over and help you. :-)

  8. Wow, so many great ideas! I never thought to recycle glass jars for grains and such! And yes, as a family of three, we are down to half a package of pasta that I tape closed! lol! I like your idea for arranging spices, too. Anal Jane has them alphabetically! And the lids under the sticky items...did I tell you that someone recently left the cap open to the maple syrup and it flooded my lower cabinet? I PEELED my canned goods off it and had to scrape the syrup off the bottom with a paint scraper. Oh man!

    Thank SO much for the ideas. Great post!


  9. Oh I love to see an organized cupboard, or an organized anything! We have two large pantries and Brian especially likes to keep them organized. Years ago, I bought an container system from Tupperware called Modular Mates, and I've kept my staples in them for years. I'm lucky to have a large, deep drawer to keep my spices in. I just put labels on the top of each one.


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