Yesterday, I decided to organize the kitchen pantry. I hadn’t straightened it up in a while, and I was having difficulty finding what I needed.
This is how it turned out! It is now nice and clean, but most importantly it’s functional. Read below to find out what I did.
We built our home in 1993, and while I sometimes wish our kitchen pantry was a tad bigger, I am not complaining at all! We moved from a much smaller home that didn’t have a kitchen pantry, so I certainly appreciate having one in this home.
What I Did Right a Few Years Ago:
A few years ago, I painted the inside of our pantry white using a semi-gloss Sherwin-Williams paint. This was one of the best decisions that I made because the semi-gloss finish cleans up easily, and it still looks freshly painted today. When our home was built, it was painted with a flat paint finish, and when I tried to clean it, the paint finish would rub off….not good. As much as I tried to wash off stray marks, I couldn’t remove them completely.
I also like the white color because it brightens up the pantry since it doesn’t have a light in it, but most importantly, I don’t need to repaint it when we change the paint color in the kitchen! White goes with just about every color, so that makes it easy. It took a while to complete because I painted both the top and bottom of each wooden shelf as well as the back and side walls of the pantry. Basically, the only part I didn’t paint was the ceiling. (Also, I’m not a very fast painter, and I tend to obsess over tiny details.)
When the paint was dry, I lined the shelves with contact paper. This was another smart move that protected the paint. I placed a non-adhesive shelf liner similar to this one (except a light beige color) over the contact paper. This cushions and protects the shelf surfaces, and you can easily cut it straight by following the gaps between the beads. This layer prevents items from sliding around when you reach in to retrieve something, and it also prevents marks from canned items that sometimes get on the contact paper.
What I Did Yesterday:
I began by taking everything out of the pantry and placing similar items into groups. Next, I checked the ‘Expiration’ or ‘Best By’ dates and threw away those items that needed to go. After that, I removed the non-adhesive shelf liner on each shelf and took them outside to shake off the crumbs. These liners have held up really well, and I didn’t need to wash them. (Did I mention that the shelf liner is washable? That is an important piece of information if you choose to add this step. If I need to wash them, I hand wash them in the kitchen sink. They wash up nicely.)
I placed them in the dryer on low-heat for a few minutes to get rid of some wrinkles that had settled in. While the liners were in the dryer, I wiped down each shelf lined with contact paper. This task was a breeze because the contact paper wiped up very easily. After removing the liners from the dryer, I placed them back on each shelf. I swept out and then mopped the pantry floor. At this point, I was ready to place the items back into the pantry.
Placing Items Back on the Shelves:
Because I like to vacuum or sweep the floors of my closets, I didn’t want to put too many items on the pantry floor. My bread maker is too heavy and bulky to go anywhere else, so its home is definitely on the floor. Our dog’s treats have a home there, too, along with a heavy box of soup, my hand mixer, and our fire extinguishers, but all the other items went on the shelves.
I placed similar items together and stacked our canned goods section. It’s hard to see from the photos, but I left a space between the rows of canned goods so they are easily accessible, but aren’t taking up too much space. I have had the black plastic tubs for several years. This is where I place our sweeteners, baking goods, oils and condiments, and smaller items. I highly recommend using plastic tubs. Whenever something spills out (sugar, salt, honey, olive oil, etc.), it is very easy to wipe up, and it doesn’t make a mess on your shelf liner. You can also remove the whole tub and place it on your kitchen counter when you are baking or preparing holiday dinners.
The aqua container is also plastic. It contains our tea and coffee items.
On the very top shelf, I placed items that I don’t use regularly – paper plates, plastic cups, birthday napkins, plastic forks, etc. I placed similar items in the plastic bins, so that when I need something from that bin, I can quickly remove it and get what I need easily.
Keeping Your Organized Pantry Organized: 🙂
The key to keeping your pantry organized is to put new items in the correct location when you are unpacking your groceries after shopping. Having your family buy-in to this process is essential. When they place items back into the pantry in the correct place, it will save you less time and energy. When my kids were little, I made sure to place the items that they used frequently (cereal, snacks, etc.) on the bottom shelves.
Organization is a process and is unique to each person’s preferences. This plan has worked well for me for many years. I do plan to place labels on the plastic bins. That is my next task, but for now….I am happy with its functionality.