Organizing the Pantry

Heather Bullard | Pantry
Heather Bullard | Pantry

Spring cleaning is in full force over here. What began in the bathroom with tossing out long forgotten shampoo bottles and jars of expired aspirin has now moved on to the kitchen. Since the task felt a bit overwhelming I decided to break it up into blocks of time. The refrigerator was first to get a makeover and it gave me enough satisfaction to muster on with the rest. My list still includes sorting through the coffee accoutrements (located in the cabinet below the coffee station), adding liners the cookware drawers, and cleaning out the spice drawer - but over the weekend I tackled organizing the walk-in pantry. Here's what I did to accomplish the project...

Heather Bullard | Pantry
Heather Bullard | Pantry

1. Put on Some Dancing Music

This should be self explanatory but trust me - it will help get the job done. I had Spotify's popular Bill Withers playlist on shuffle repeat all day. Sets the mood for happy work!

2. Take Inventory

Pull everything off one shelf and pile it on your kitchen counter or table. Check expiration dates and dispose of anything that has gone rancid. Sort items by type; baking, legumes, snacks, cereals, paper goods, etc. Then move on to your next shelf. Do this until every item has been sorted through and your kitchen looks a disaster.

Heather Bullard | Pantry
Heather Bullard | Pantry

3. Make a Shopping List

Now that you know what you have you'll also know what you need. Make 2 lists. The first one is for food that needs to be restocked or purchased. The second is for containers to hold those items. You don't necessarily have to shop for containers - go on "walk about" through your house and see if you might already have something that will work. I did a combination of both.

4. Clean the Empty Pantry

Wipe down the shelves, sweep the floor, clean the baseboards, and touch up paint or markings where needed. I also waxed our salvaged wood shelves to keep them protected from spills and such.

Heather Bullard | Pantry
Heather Bullard | Pantry

5. Create Sections

In essence, like items with like. This will help you find things easier and streamline future maintenance. I organize by type of food; legumes, nuts, baking items, salts & spices, snack foods, breakfast items and grab-n-go.

6. Keep Favorites Within Reach

If you make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day keep those items grouped together near the front. Like your oatmeal piled high with nuts, raisins or cranberries? Have them assembled in a basket for easy access. The idea is to make it work for your lifestyle and how you cook.

Heather Bullard | Pantry
Heather Bullard | Pantry

7. Hide the Unsightly

I keep seldom used items - waffle makers, George Foreman grill, my husbands pocket sandwich maker and his giant pancake batter dispenser in large baskets that slide under the bottom shelf. Larger appliances like our rice cooker, stock pots and slow cooker are stored on the highest shelf. We also have our microwave tucked in the left corner as you open the door.

Here are a few links for items I used in our pantry:

The salvaged scaffolding plank shelves and steel brackets were custom made by my husband. The two lower shelves are counter depth and height and the uppers are set back and more narrow to accommodate for smaller canned goods, cookbooks, and storage jars.

Have you been spring cleaning? What are your favorite pantry organizing tips?

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