Living The Essentials:

A Polished Pantry

Words by Sacha Strebe.

A polished pantry for spring? Groundbreaking, we know, but there’s something about the onset of our favorite season that ushers in an innate itch to clean up and clear out. And we’re so ready to dig in! First up, how to organize a pantry. Read on for our simple tips and stylish organizational products to create a functional pantry that looks good while it’s working hard. 

A Polished Pantry
A Polished Pantry

Clean up and clear out

As with any organizational venture, the first step is to clear everything out (yes, we mean every. little. thing!), then grab the non-toxic spray and wipe it all down so you have a clean slate. 

Sort it

Once you’ve cleared and cleaned, it’s time to sort. Take some time to go through all of the items you pulled out of the pantry, check their expiration dates, throw away any half-open packets, and decide what you want to keep (and what you don’t). What’s left should feel like your tool kit—the must-haves and the essentials!

Categorize everything

Now that you’ve taken everything out, cleaned up, and sorted, it’s time to take inventory, then categorize and create zones in your pantry. This is the time to apply some strategy and determine exactly what goes on which shelves and drawers. Think about the items you use often and make sure they’re within easy reach. If you have kids, make room lower down in the pantry so they can retrieve their own snacks, cereal, and condiments as needed. For those things you don’t use as frequently, position them at the top (liquor, wine, cookbooks, mortar and pestle, oversized cookware, appliances, etc.) and be sure to have a step stool nearby for quick access (Athena loves this one). Divvying your pantry up into different categories might take some time at the outset, but it will really help your kitchen function better on a daily basis. 

Use food storage containers

Decant your pantry ingredients from original packaging into clear food storage containers. This allows you to see everything at a glance and lets you know what you need to stock up on too. The key is making sure this strategy stays organized is to have the right container for each ingredient. Employ sealed glass canisters for your dry baking goods such as flour, sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, etc. Try to find ones with a wide enough mouth so you can easily fit a 1-cup measure inside (pouring it out can get messy!). Tall skinny containers are great pasta and cereal, plus they stack nicely against each other which is much-needed to conserve precious space. For spices, we love Evermill’s countertop or in-drawer rack because it looks good while it keeps everything neat and organized, which brings us to our next tip. 

Employ baskets for snacks

The one thing in every pantry that has a tendency to get out of control is the snacks. And since our snack craving is so easily guided by our mood swings, you can end up with multiple packets open by the end of the week—and they’re usually bunched up on top of each other, too. So, set aside an area of designated baskets to ensure they’re all in one place (and easily accessible, of course!).

Maximize space

With all of the clearing out and categorizing you’ll be able to make additional room for storing more than just food in your pantry to free up space in your kitchen. Use this space for napkins, oversized cookware, liquor, cookbooks, appliances, etc. It feels good to have your efficiency rewarded, doesn’t it? 

Don’t compromise form for function

Of course, the way you categorize your pantry should align with how you use your kitchen but we’ve never been ones to sacrifice style—we’re a beauty and utility kind of people. That means finding storage and organizational products that look good while they’re working hard. This also applies to how you style them too. Think of your pantry organization as you would any other room of your house and style accordingly. Besides, no one likes looking into a messy pantry. 

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