How to Organize a Small Pantry

1 Hour
Unfortunately, most of us aren’t building our custom dream home with the most amazing pantry you’ve ever seen. Most of us are trying to utilize whatever pantry we have. So, I’d like to talk a bit about that today.
Before diving into our current pantry, let's take a quick look at what we originally had and what we hated about it.
Look at the left cabinet. That was our pantry. It actually had a ton of storage but it was hard to utilize the storage. The left side and the right side were closed off from each other, so you only had about 12 inches width on both side. Secondly, the shelves were deep, but too deep. We quite frequently lost stuff back there.

I could have found ways to utilize the space better, but since were were redoing that whole wall, we decided to build a pantry.
For the new pantry, I knew I didn’t have a super large space to work with. I knew I needed a space for our broom, wanted the shelving to be as wide as possible and wanted to to have a space within the cabinet for the microwave and coffee station. It was a pretty tall order because we were only working with 36 inches of width.

We made the shelving adjustable (after my Grandpa corrected me lots of times for wobbling the drill!).
So, once the pantry was put in and painted. We ended up here:
It’s a pantry, albeit a messy one. There was no rhyme or reason. If it was functional and working for us, I’d probably be fine with it. But, it wasn’t functional. I bought multiples of items, because I thought we were out. We spent extra time trying to locate the things we needed and, at this point, I didn’t have room for one of my must-have items – the coffee station. Although it was messy, it was good for us to live with that space for awhile. We needed to figure out what shelving heights to set our shelves at and what shelves we liked certain things on.

After living with that disorganized mess, I knew I needed to organize and I had a plan.

I did quite a bit of measuring/shopping to find the best (affordable storage) options for our pantry. I decided on these wood baskets.
I’ve focused my organization on the main part of the pantry. The top portion of the pantry holds oils and cookbooks. This is the main portion of the pantry.

Oh, and I had a little helper today that wanted to be in pictures.
Up top, we have the normal canned items. And, if your husband is a chip/salsa monster like mine, who really loves Trader Joe’s salsa and you live 3 hours away from the closest one… then you have anywhere from 6-24 jars on hand at a time. =)

Second and third shelves hold the coffee station and microwave. I’ll post more about those next week.
Now, let’s chat about the bottom shelves.

This is the area that housed most of our mess; but no more! I put the baskets in place and things naturally fell into categories.

Basket 1 : School Snacks

Basket 2 : Cooking Helpers (stock, panko bread crumbs, etc.)

Basket 3: Noodles, Rice and Quinoa

Basket 4: Drinks (Tea, Apple Cider, etc.)

Basket 5: Goodies (Smores stuff, ice cream toppings, etc.)

Basket 5: Bread

It’s really quite amazing that I have plenty of room in these baskets. Once I gave everything a place and corralled it into the baskets, it was all-of-a-sudden working. We didn’t gain any space, we just organized it better.

On the bottom of the pantry we have a few things of crackers, a candy jar and oatmeal. Basically anything down here is too big to fit on the shelves.
On the left side of the pantry, we keep a broom and mop. I had been throwing plastic bags into this side to reuse, but finally got them organized. Growing up we had a fabric bag that held the bags and it held a ton of them. But, in reality, I don’t need a ton of plastic bags. Four to five bags are perfect. So, I scoured my house to find a metal bin or basket to fit between the wood. I found this little white one and we attached it to the back of the pantry. It holds about four bags and is just perfect. No more random bags stuffed here or there and if I look and see that the container is full then I know I can recycle or throw the bags away.
All in all, I don’t think I’m sharing any life-changing organizational methods. I’m sharing what our mess was and how we fixed it. But shhh, let’s not talk about that junk drawer to the left.
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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  • Leann Orlando Leann Orlando on Sep 07, 2016
    Can you tell me the brand and color of the paint on your cabinet, please? I absolutely love it!!!

  • Puchi Puchi on Dec 19, 2016
    Great job! What is the opening width for your broom and mop storage? Also, love the paint color.

  • Linda Medina Linda Medina on Jan 16, 2018
    Beautiful job! Where did you find the wood baskets? Really like them!

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