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Small pantry organizing tips

Our new pantry is complete and I’m ready to share it!  Like everything else in our home, our pantry is small, but very space efficient.  While lots of women fantasize about having huge walk-in closets I dream of a huge walk-in pantry, but it is what it is.  I’m very pleased with what we were able to accomplish, though, with this small space.  I absolutely HATED our old pantry, I’m not even sure if you could call it a pantry… it was more of a cabinet really, and space was limited.  I knew after the holidays when we went back into work mode that this would be our first new project.

Let’s see some before photos of the slow progression of this space.

Small pantry organizing tips

Small pantry organizing tips

I didn’t take a before photo of the inside of the pantry but you wouldn’t have believed how crazy it was, especially during the holidays.  Every time we opened the door stuff would fall out.

The wood ceiling beams that we had installed last summer created a perfect spot for a larger pantry next to our dining space.  I really got lucky on that one… when we had our ceiling done I hadn’t even given the pantry or future kitchen any thought at all because we hadn’t spent much time living here.

Small pantry organizing tips

The kitchen itself is its own future project but some small changes like cabinet knobs, painting the window, a new sink, and pendant light have already made the kitchen look and feel tremendously better.  The cabinets are surprisingly nice but we’ve got to modify them eventually to make room for a dishwasher.  You would not believe the hours my daughter and I spend washing dishes.  If you ever wonder what I’m doing I’m probably washing dishes.

I’m getting off topic, let’s get back to the pantry.  Wanna peak inside??

Small pantry organizing tips

Brian installed LED lights with a door switch, so when we open the door the lights automatically come on.  It’s pretty awesome but the lights did give me some photo glares and shadows, sorry about that!

OXO food canisters in pantry

Previously the space between the dining area and kitchen was dull and awkward but now it really connects the spaces nicely and also creates a wall in my kitchen to hang my Le Creuset pans.

Hanging Le Creuset pans

A few months after moving in, the microwave over the stove broke, I was actually relieved because I hated cooking with a microwave in my face.  So we went with a counter top microwave, but the kitchen counter space is so limited that it started to crowd the kitchen.  I wasn’t sure what to do until one day on Pinterest I saw a microwave inside of a pantry and at that moment my pantry plan came together.  Having our microwave in the pantry gives us more kitchen counter space, but it also took away space from the pantry so planning was crucial to make it all work.

Small pantry organizing tips

I knew we had to have some type of door rack to give us extra space, we did an Elfa door system in our last pantry but in this instance it didn’t feel right.  I don’t know about you but we have a ton of spices!  I had them crammed into a cabinet and it was always a mess.  One day I found this spice cabinet door rack on Etsy!  I love Etsy!!  They make half size and full size spice racks.  In our door rack I’m able to fit all our spices on top, and the bottom rack holds parchment paper, foil, saran wrap, wax paper, storage bags, espresso pods, and other small kitchen items I use.  It holds all the little things that drive you crazy!  I was able to free up 2 shelves and a large drawer in the kitchen which I desperately need!  The smaller spice jars are from Amazon and came with tons of pre-printed labels, they’re so cute!

The best way to organize your spices

We have baskets on the upper shelves to hold miscellaneous food items that aren’t used as much, the Lazy Susan holds our oils, vinegars, and other sauces.  My heavily used liquids, such as oils, I like to transfer to glass bottles.  My OXO food canisters are incredible too!  They come in a wide variety of shapes and heights, they’re stackable and airtight keeping ingredients fresh!  I don’t like seeing box clutter in my pantry and you never know how much is left in something.  Using clear canisters lets me easily see exactly what ingredients I have and what I need to re-stock.  I added peel and stick chalkboard labels, they’re great, you can use chalk or a chalkboard marker and they easily wipe clean when switching out contents.

Spice rack organization

We’ve used the microwave now for weeks, it’s just slightly below counter height and it’s working perfectly for us, it hasn’t been a hassle at all in the pantry, and it’s great hiding the clunky beast!  I was able to squeeze in some canisters next to the microwave that we don’t use that often as well as some cookbooks.  Due to the height I decided to put our canned goods and produce bins on the bottom.  I really like having my produce separated and organized and the gravity can rack has really saved me space on all the cans we have, it’s awesome!  Especially my large tomato cans that I can’t live without.

Now when I think “What’s for dinner?” I just open my pantry and see a bunch of organized food ready to be cooked.

How to organize your pantry

Ashley is patiently waiting for those bananas to turn black, she wants my banana streusel coffee cake ASAP!

Do you ever see pantries in magazines or on Pinterest that are incredibly gorgeous?  You wish it could be yours but you know you in reality it won’t work for your family and it’s too hard to maintain.  This was me, I spent a long time thinking about what was realistic and easy for us to maintain organization.  So far it’s working out well for us.

I like to stay stocked up on lots of staple pantry items and I keep these in a separate storage closet.  I was doing this before the coronavirus scare, we frequently get snowed in and our area has had severe flooding before, so it’s always good to be prepared for anything.  In fact, here is a recent blog post I wrote about stocking your pantry with staple items in order to stretch your grocery dollar.

Small pantry organizing tips

My daughter and I have been cooking so much lately and now our kitchen flows so much easier compared to our small cabinet pantry.  We have even more food and cooking inspiration.  Julia said it best “People who love to eat are always the best people”.  Yes they are, I very much agree!  She has so many adorable food quotes doesn’t she?  Hanging up this little wooden sign above the pantry was just perfect!

The pantry interior paint is Maritime Blue and the shelves and trim are Simply White, both by Benjamin Moore.

Door spice rack | Spice jars | Can rack | Produce bins | Julia Child quote | Food canisters | Lazy Susan | Baskets | Peel & stick chalk labels | Basket labels | Pendant light