A few years back, I shared my newly redesigned Pantry Reveal over on Domino and right here on the blog. The story of our pantry storage has been one of our most popular components of our dream kitchen renovation, so we decided to revisit this organizational overhaul one year later.
If you read the original How I Cut My Storage Pantry in Half post, you know that I enlisted the help of organization pro and my dear friend, Shira Gill for this project. Not only is Shira a true home editing genius, but she’s also one of the kindest people on earth. When I asked her to help me refresh my pantry for the New Year, she graciously agreed and, no surprise, she shared tons of organizational wisdom along the way.
Shira and I hopped on IGTV to give you a full look at my current pantry situation. After a year of daily use, it desperately needed a clean-out, and Shira totally delivered. You can watch the full rundown right here, but just in case you’re short on time, we’re giving you the cliff notes version.
Before taking off on any organizational adventures, make sure you have the right tools ready for the job. You’ll want to start by setting out a couple different bags or bins, so you have a place for things you want to throw away, donate to the food bank, recycle or compost.
Next, take a minute and do a pantry sweep and see if there’s anything that doesn’t belong. Whether it’s a random box of Tylenol or stray kids’ toys, place those items in a separate pile that you can put back in their proper place.
Hot tip: countertop appliances don’t actually need to live on the countertop! Instead, let your pantry storage keep those smaller appliances tucked away — especially the ones you don’t use on a regular basis. Also, be sure to corral loose cords with cord ties and tuck them behind appliances to keep things clutter-free and visually streamlined while also keeping cords from becoming a tangled mess.
Whether you have a spacious walk-in pantry or a pint-sized ‘Lazy Susan,’ starting the clean-out process can feel daunting. Tackle the project by taking things one step at a time, shelf-by-shelf. During the initial pantry organization, Shira set me up with dedicated baskets for each broad category — think snacks one basket, cans in one basket, baking supplies in one basket, etc. For this pantry refresh, she guided me as I took out every basket and kept, tossed, or donated the items within each one.
Don’t currently have a system in place? Ask yourself what makes the most sense for your own broad categories? Shira recommends 6-8 categories to keep things streamlined, and remember, they can always be swapped around down the line if needed.
TIP: Make sure to collect any unopened (and non-expired) cans or boxed food you no longer need for your local food pantry. Food insecurity is real for many families, especially during Covid, so go ahead and donate to serve others and prevent waste.
As you clean out your pantry storage, you’ll likely come across lots of half-used items that you’ll be tempted to toss — but first, ask yourself if it can be decanted and moved to a labeled jar instead. For example, I found a half-used bag of rice that I simply added to my labeled jar for a little rice variety mashup. Same thing with my extra bag of brown sugar that I moved to a labeled jar to help free up space.
That being said, there will always be a few items that are no longer good and simply need to be thrown away. Whether it’s a bottle of wine gone bad or a long expired snack food, clear out those items and recycle the bottles or containers when possible!
Planning a pantry storage clean-out of your own? We’d love to hear how it goes! Leave us a comment and share your favorite part of the process or any organization hacks you’ve got up your sleeve.
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