Despite the cooler temps we experienced over the weekend, spring has officially sprung. Spring is one of my favorite times of the year because it means the days are getting longer, the temps are getting warmer, and summer is just around the corner… but also, it means spring cleaning! I used to dedicate an entire weekend every spring to thoroughly cleaning my place, top to bottom. But that was so exhausting! I’ve found it’s much simpler to do a couple small tasks each week and after a few weeks, the house is reorganized, and I didn’t lose an entire weekend because of it.
To kick off a mini-series on spring cleaning, we’re starting with one of my favorite places in a home… the pantry! Here are a few tips I try to follow when creating a pantry that’s equal parts organized and functional.
1. Bins and baskets keep things contained.
I know it can be a bit of an investment at first, but purchasing some bins, baskets, and containers was the best thing I could have done for our pantry. I labeled all of the bins for easy sorting and made sure the size of the bins were proportionate to the category. For example, we don’t eat much cereal, but it always seems like we end up with so many boxes! The bin I have for cereal only holds four boxes, so that helps limit how much we can have at a time.
2. Groupings make cooking easier.
Most of my pantry is arranged by shelf. I try to keep all beverage-related items on one shelf, all of my baking supplies on another shelf, grains on a shelf, and cans all grouped together. This way, when I’m cooking — I know exactly where to reach for specific items. I designate the bottom shelves for non-food items like paper towels, napkins, trash bags, etc. And I purposely make the snack bin the least accessible. (Not that it deters us too much!) 😉
3. Arrange so you can easily see what you have.
Until recently, cans and jars were the biggest issues in my pantry! I had a bin where I stored all of them, but I could never see what I had or find what I needed. I finally made the switch to this three-tiered expandable shelf, and it has made a world of difference. As you can see from the photo, the switch came after I had already purchased duplicate jars of peanut butter. 😉
4. Make use of floor space, appropriately.
I don’t keep food on the floor of our pantry, because we have a very curious four-legged friend in our home, but the space is so precious that I didn’t want to waste it either! We use the floor for things like a step stool, dog food container, recycling bin, and extra dog bowls. We used to also store cans of soda or bottled water on the floor, but recently cleared off some space on the beverage shelf so now those fit up there with the rest of the gang.
5. Create additional space with add-ons.
My always-organized aunt gave me this tip, and I’m so glad she did! The basket where I previously stored trash bags and baggies was completely out of room, but adding these undershelf baskets gave me some extra storage without sacrificing any space.
6. Organize your pantry after a normal week of grocery shopping.
I’ve made the mistake of organizing my pantry when we’ve had very little food and also when we’ve had more food than normal — and that can be misleading! Organize your pantry when you have a normal amount of food. This way, everything has a place, but you don’t end up with an entire basket dedicated to a product you rarely eat. (Which was oatmeal, in our case!)
7. Live with it, and adjust.
This is probably the most important tip of all — and the reason that it can often be difficult to organize someone else’s pantry. You’re the one using it, so it has to work for you! Try living with the changes for a little while, but if something doesn’t work or you find yourself always searching for certain items, move things around to make the space work better for your needs.
Does anyone have other tips for organizing your pantry?! I’d love to hear!