How to Organize a Pantry

Tools for Organizing Your Pantry

When it comes to organizing your pantry, using a few simple tools can make all the difference. Containers, baskets and stair step shelves may help bring harmony to the clutter of food that's currently populating your pantry. Aside from helping your food stay fresh, airtight containers can serve a number of other purposes as well. Many of these containers are designed to be stackable, which means you'll be able to maximize your storage space. Others come with measuring lines, and many of them are see-through, too [source: Brewer]. By using containers that have these features, you'll be able to tell exactly what ingredients you're running low on just by looking.

As for baskets, you can think of them like drawers. Instead of pushing aside canned goods to get to the cereal, for example, you simply pull out the cereal basket and the cans are within arm's reach. You can also set it on the table in the morning and when everyone is done eating cereal, you just put it back. Similarly, you can use these baskets to organize meals or everything you'll need to bake a pie. For busy home cooks, having everything they need in one easy-to-move basket could be a big time-saver [source: Naughton].

Another common complaint about many pantries is that the way they're designed allows the food at the front of the shelves to block the food in the back. There are tools that can serve as a solution for this -- stair step shelves. These shelves basically work like stadium seating at a movie theater. When you use them, you can put cans on the back of the shelf and still see them, because the cans at the front of the shelf are lower [source: Better Homes and Gardens].

Another tool you can invest in to help with your pantry project is a label maker. Of course, a pen and some tape would suffice, but using a label maker to label your pantry's contents could help pull your meticulously organized pantry together with a uniform, finishing touch. You can use it to label containers as well as different sections of shelving for specific items. This will make it just a little harder for items to end up in the wrong spot.

For even more ideas on how you can get organized, check out the links below.

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  • Better Homes and Gardens. "Organize Your Pantry by Zones, Zone 3: Easy Weeknight Meals." 2010. (Accessed 01/19/2010)
  • Better Homes and Gardens. "Organize Your Pantry by Zones, Zone 4: General Food Storage." 2010. (Accessed 01/19/2010)
  • Brewer, Jennifer MS, CNS. "How to Organize Your Pantry." Nourishing Nutrition. 2009. (Accessed 01/19/2010)
  • Ehman, Mandi. "7 Tips for Organizing your Pantry." FNC iMag. March 25, 2009. (Accessed 01/19/2010)
  • Martha Stewart Living. "Organizing Your Pantry." 2010. (Accessed 01/19/2010)
  • Mealtime. "Frequently Asked Questions about Canned Foods." (Accessed 01/19/2010
  • Naughton, Denise. "5 tips to organize your pantry to save time and money." ABC 15. January 12, 2010. (Accessed 01/19/2010)
  • Oprah. "A Pantry With A Purpose." January 01, 2006. (Accessed 01/19/2010)
  • Palestine Olive Oil. "General FAQs of Olive Oil from the North American Olive Oil Associations." (Accessed 01/19/2010)
  • Tupperware. "Organize Your Pantry with Modular Mates." (Accessed 01/19/2010)