Organizing my pantry

marie26February 20, 2005

I have a 6 foot wide pantry with two doors that open in the center. There are 5 shelves. The top shelf holds my cookbooks and the 1st shelf holds all of my containers that I use for freezing, etc. plus some trays. The floor holds some of my small appliances and baskets with potatoes and onions in them.

I originally had like items on trays but I ended up using these trays in my bathroom when I organized that. But even when they were on trays, I didn't keep this up whenever I purchased new items because the tray was already full.

So, I was thinking of buying movable dividers for the shelves and I could put like items within each divider such as baking supplies, packaged side dishes, soups, etc.

For packages that have resealable ziploc closures, do you use these or do you put the contents into containers when you open the package? I'd love to buy nice glass jars for these items but I don't want to spend too much money right now, especially since I do have plastic containers I can use.

How do you organize your pantry? I have such a large one that I don't want to have to redo every month because I don't keep it up.

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Shades_of_idaho

Hello Marie26,

OH Ugh. The pantry. We have a small walk in pantry. I have not measured it. It has 5 L shape shelves. I bought wire racks at Wal-Mart to make some of the shelves hold more layers without having to stack can on can and have them all fall on the floor.

I was thinking about the pantry today. I think it will forever be a work in progress because of the ever changing items going into it. We live in the mountains and shop every couple of weeks weather permitting. When things are on sale we stock up so sometimes I have two boxes of cake mix and sometimes 6 boxes. So the places for things have to be flexible for us. I try to keep the soups together on the shelves and arranged by kind when possible and so on for the other canned things. Then the boxed things together mostly because they fit together better that way. My husband does the shopping so he likes to be able to look into the pantry to see what we might be low on and I might have forgotten to put on the list. :^(

I repackage my spaghetti noodles because I have the perfect can for them and a big package fills it. I put my rice,beans and macaroni noodles in large plastic containers with a handle on them and the rest of the noodle kind of packages I put in a small laundry basket because they do not stack well. Like you potatoes and onions go in baskets on the floor. Small appliances on the lowest shelf. I keep my cook books in a deep kitchen drawer on end so I can see which one it is and not have to dig for them. I weeded out tons of recipes. If I had not used it in a year I tossed it. Books included but I donated them.

By leaving the spaces on the pantry shelves when something is used up it helps to be able to refill the spot when we get home from shopping. There must be a better way I just have not figured it out yet. I know your frustration it crosses my mind a lot on how to fix it.

And thank you for your nice comments on my kitchen redo.:^))

Chris

    Bookmark   February 20, 2005 at 10:03PM
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steve_o

Pantry? You mean that inadequate collection of drawers and cabinets I have to store kitchen-related items?

Stuff fits where it can. The shelves are adjustable, but not by much. Some have a blind corner which makes losing items back there somewhere between easy and probable, but I don't dare block it because I need the space. I don't repackage much, but I do buy a lot in bulk, so there are lots of plastic containers on my shelves.

Sometimes I think it would be best just to rip everything out to the studs and start over, but I think the space that's here is used fairly efficiently -- there just isn't that much of it. :-(

    Bookmark   February 21, 2005 at 12:29PM
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talley_sue_nyc

I would vote for not having hard-and-fast dividers, but for having rough sections of shelves.

So you can just borrow a bit of space here and there.

I used to try to repackage, and have decided it's waste of time most of the time. Plus, what happens when youc an't fit all of the stuff in the canister? Then you have two packages anyway!

I only repackage things that are hard to use in their original boxes or bags (flour, bcs it phloophs all over; sugar, bcs it dribbles all over; corn starch, bcs it's like flour--I go to spoon or scoop some out, and it gets everywhere). or whose original containers do not seal well (flour, sugar, cornstarch, rice)

I'm currently in a quandary for brown sugar. The canister I have that I would put it in has turned out not to be air tight. Not sure I can make it air tight. Might be able to replace it (it's a Bee House, like all the others, and would like to match). I was keepign it in the bag, which has a zip close in the economy size, but that has turned out to be a pain--the opening isn't that big (which makes it fit the first category--hard to use), and it isn't resealing all that well either.

My one comment would be, could you have your shelves more closely spaced? I think sometimes we'd be better off w/ less head room but more shelves--esp. if in most places we could use them like cubbies--and not have much in the back, or not anything DIFFERENT; In other words, this row is spaghetti sauce front-to-back--there's no mushrooms lurking in the back that we'd want to get out.

If you find yourself not keepign stuf fint he same place, you might try labeling the fronts of the shelves somehow--it might keep you honest. And let the fringes "mingle" a big depending on how much you have of each.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2005 at 2:37PM
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marie26

Today I finally organized the 3 shelves with food in the pantry. I had been looking for trays to fit the food during the past few weeks thinking this would be the best way to organize. I didn't find any that would work. Since I am lucky enough to have a 6 foot wide pantry, I basically lined everything up on the back wall all the way across. If I had more than one, I just put the extra in front. Everything is organized by categories such as cereals, side dishes and vegetables, canned and packaged fruits, baking items, spices, etc. I realized that when I had organized the baking items a couple of weeks ago onto trays, they were really bothering me because they seemed very cluttered. I really like how open and neat the pantry looks now. I ended up throwing out "old" items I had repurchased because I couldn't find the originals. If I keep the pantry up like this, that won't happen again.

I also organized the cupboards under the island that hold my appliances. I don't have as many as I thought I had. It's amazing how much more it looked like I owned because everything was basically thrown in.

Another thing I did was to put all my lids on a lid rack that sits on a cupboard shelf that I purchased at the Dollar Store. I also moved my coffee and tea stuff to a more convenient cabinet.

I now have to organize the plasticware and the items on the floor of the pantry as well as several upper cabinets in the kitchen. Then the kitchen will be done.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2005 at 11:51PM
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talley_sue_nyc

congrats! Sounds like it's working well.

Isn't it funny how we can *think* something is the best way to organize stuff (those trays), and then, when they're in use, realize that we don't like them.

I wish there were an easier way to "try out" stuff like that--maybe by talking to each other here, I guess.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2005 at 10:01AM
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ruthieg__tx

I have found that the best thing to use is dishpans or plastic bins instead of trays. You would be surprised how much they will hold and nothing will fall off the shelf and hit the floor...I have so many dishban/bins you all would laugh...Everything under my sinks or in my cabinets regardless of what room..is in a bin that just slides out and I can easily see what is in the cabinet....bathrooms and closets, even the entry way closet has a bin for gloves and a bin for hats etc...

    Bookmark   March 8, 2005 at 4:07PM
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