I love organizing things.
While I don’t really consider it my forté, I understand and strive for that huge sense of satisfaction that comes from when you can find things and can tell how much of it you actually have! But because I’ve been avoiding this pantry for a while, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to the grocery store and bought WAY too much of anything and everything because I couldn’t actually see what was in my pantry.
I mean, look at this…
So since my cooking and baking skills have dramatically improved over the years, I’ve been spending a lot more time in the kitchen, and the need to have an organized and neat space has become more and more of a priority.
Through this process though, I have realized that it’s really hard to stay organized and maintain a clean kitchen if you don’t actually have the tools to help you do this. Ever since I organized my space with a few key items, I’ve found that cooking and baking has become easier and faster, and I rarely need to clean up the space.
It’s not the prettiest of pantries, and certainly not “Pinterest” worthy, but organizing it has helped tremendously!
Not every single item in my pantry has a home yet, but to help you get started, here are a few awesome things you can buy and some pantry organizing principles that I’ve been following to help me keep my cool in the kitchen.
ORGANIZING YOUR PANTRY GUIDE
Organize in departments
I have one shelf dedicated to baking (I bake a lot!), another side of the shelf for spices, another for condiments, and another shelf dedicated to most of my dry ingredients (rice, flour, pasta, couscous, lentils, etc.). Everything else goes in a “random section” on the 4th shelf, but still seems to work really well since I’ve compartmentalized some of the items… IE: My ridiculous boxes of Shaan spices (used for Pakistani and Indian cooking) that are in their own tub.
I’ve even labeled how long it takes to cook my pasta! You can see from the picture that it’s SO easy to see what’s in the pantry – thanks to my cute labels and neon markers. It’s so much better than trying to decipher what’s in there by how it looks. If you’re really particular, you could even write out the expiry dates on your labels so that you can clearly see how long your item will last!
Buy clear containers so that you can actually SEE what’s in them
And on top of that, having a clear container means that you can actually see HOW MUCH of an item you have or what you need to buy.
Keep the items you use most frequently in easy to reach places
This one is SO important. Don’t keep items that you do not use, in easy to reach places – those are reserved for the items that you use on a daily basis. Ultimately you’re trying to keep frequently used things in a place that allows you to leave the rest of the pantry “undisturbed.” That usually means right at the front for me.
Use shelves or a Lazy Susan for easier access
Shelves heighten some of the items in the back for easy access and visibility. This is especially helpful for spice jars since they’re so small! A Lazy Susan, on the other hand, can help keep your things compartmentalized and easily accessible on a tray – this way nothing ever ends up in the back of the pantry!
And after you’re done with all of this organizing, I know people suggest keeping a clipboard with an inventory of items in your pantry or keeping pre-made grocery lists in your space so that you can write in items or check it off – this stuff just hasn’t really worked for someone like me… Why not?
- My lists are usually on my phone so that I can stop by the grocery store whenever I want and not have to stop at home to pick up my “pre-made list;”
- My phone is usually out while shopping just in case I have to re-customize at the grocery store, or even find a new recipe online, depending on what I can actually find in there…
- I don’t even have a printer to actually print off a pre-made grocery list! And this is not a good enough reason for me to get one…
So since a lot of these systems require a lot more upkeep than I want, and mean that I spend a lot more time in my kitchen, I suggest keeping a list in your “notes” section of your phone.
Or try using Evernote – it’s a great tool since it keeps all of my lists synced on all of my devices. They even have a cute “checked off” item for your lists! SUPER useful!
Chalkboard Labels from Lakeland in Dhahran Mall – You can buy these from IKEA as well but I’m not sure that they’re for chalk even though they look like it… You can also order some online! I find these to be the most convenient so that you can keep changing names easily without having to rip off annoying labels all the time.
Wire racks (clip on) for cans and pasta from IKEA for SAR 12 – You can slide them on to your shelf, no installation required!
Clear containers (various heights and sizes) from Home Centre – I found TONS of these containers at the Home Center by Extra. You can also find the OXO containers – much better quality, but more expensive – from Lakeland.
Shelf from Home Center
Shelves for Spices from Lakeland & Spice jars from IKEA for SAR 7/4 jars
Baskets for my baking tools – I actually can’t remember where I got these from, but they were cheap. IKEA has tons of them, but try not to get something too deep or you’ll never find your stuff! Maybe something like this...
Caddy Stack Storage Caddy from Lakeland for SAR 39
Clear containers with lids from IKEA for SAR 12 (depends on size)