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Other People's Pantries #154

From Susie (OrangeSwing), in Newbury, New Hampshire:

I've been peeking at Other People's Pantries for months now, looking for ideas on how to better organize my pantry and spice rack once I finally got around to cleaning and sorting it all out -- without spending a small fortune on new jars or organizer gizmos.

Before starting, I had two problems with these areas: they were not logically organized, and too many items were being shoved further and further back along the shelves until they were exiled from sight -- and use. I needed to find a way to solve both these issues.


So this past weekend, I took a quick ride over to Big Lots and spent about $15 on plastic containers of varying sizes and got cracking.


I found these neat containers that were the perfect size for my pantry shelves... lime-green sure wasn't the color I was aiming for, but that's all there was and they were only 80 cents each. What I love most about these containers is they store about 12 cans each, and will prevent my husband from pushing items so far back in the shelf we'll never find those banished items again.


Now all I need to do is slide out each container and I can see EVERYTHING! I also used one of these to hold all those half-open pasta bags that always seem to get pushed out of sight. Once it was all organized, the top shelf remained for appliances, the second shelf for crackers, cereals and pastas, and the third shelf for all my baking mixes and ingredients.  The bottom two shelves store canned items and snacks.

My spice shelf holds everything else -- and also needed a good cleaning and organizing. 


Since this is really the only place I have besides the pantry for food, it needs to hold lots. So I grabbed these narrow containers and segregated the spices into groupings that made sense to me and how I cook: cinnamon with nutmeg and pie spice, basil with oregano, salts and peppers altogether, sweeteners, etc.


This after pic is my result. So the top shelf holds the overflow, the second shelf holds beans, legumes, breads and extra spices, and the bottom two shelves hold the spice and baking groupings. Having baked and cooked twice already, I am really liking these little containers of groups: it's making sense to my way of doing things.

Here's what I learned: It didn't take a lot of space, money or time, and -- for me at least -- the success came in creating groupings for each container. Made my pantry more organized, and my cooking more efficient. Yay!

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


I absolutely love how you've grouped your spices based on usage groupings...its brilliant! I've been struggling to find a better organizational system as well and your post has really inspired me to start getting things together!

"segregated the spices into groupings that made sense to me and how I cook"

Another reader who finds your spice method rather smart. thanks for sharing food tips and pantry pics

Very well done!

Great before & after pictures! Interesting how the microwave is in the pantry!

Betty: alas, the microwave's in the pantry because there's no other place for it. But I'm actually surprised at how much I like it in there: it's not in the way!

Logic has always made me think with the alphabet but USE has it's logic and function! I have to do this.
Creative bets money every time!

I think that logic and function can both be had - Great idea - grouping them together. I have limited space in my spice rack but multiples of some spices and herbs - I think that I will take things like chili powder, cumin, garlic powder etc and put together - The herbs and spices I use with Italian cooking can also be bundled and then alphabetize the rest of them in my spice rack. My kitchen was gutted yesterday and I am trying hard to utilize every square inch of space. I lost 2 large upper cabinets in the remodel - I wanted the kitchen to open into the den and breakfast area but found an 18 inch by 8 foot dead space that butts my pantry when they tore out the wall. The refrigerator has to go in front of it - trying to decide out to bump the pantry out to this area now. I know this is not a great description - any ideas. By the way my pantry sits under the stairwell - so the back wall slants forward - it is the right wall that has the possibility of opening up. hmmm

Looks very nicely organized--excellent reorganization!

I like the way you have used the "green" containers - Lightbulb moment - The shelf that has the potato buds could be split into two shelves - turn the broth and potatoes on their side or on the end and put in another shelf above that one. You will still be able to read what is in your products -

Nicely and affordably done! Thanks for sharing.

I really like the color green of the bins. It goes well with the wood cabinets.

A real success story!!! thanks for sharing!!!

Simple solution, but great. I think I'd feel much more inspired to create great food with the new and improved pantry. The quality and organization of the pantry improves and the outcome is better cooking.

I love to snoop in other peoples pantries. It is interesting to see how they eat and how they organize their space. There is always a good idea to be found.


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