My kitchen pantry has been a point of frustration for quite some time. It’s not very big, but the kitchen doesn’t have a lot of cabinet space – meaning that we need to utilize every square inch of the pantry.

The pantry has always bothered me, but in the last few months it got out of control. And I mean, OUT of control – like a hurricane had blown there and somehow missed the rest of the house.

On the last weekend in July, I was determined to clean and organize the pantry. I needed this for my sanity.

Toss or keep?

First, I took everything out. I made piles across the kitchen floor: Keep, trash, storage.

The ‘keep’ pile had things like canned food, chips, snacks, and baking necessities. The ‘trash’ pile was mostly just food items that had expired, plastic containers missing lids, and random things that had somehow made a home in the pantry. The ‘storage’ pile was mostly holiday decorations for the dining room, which belong in our Christmas boxes in the basement.

Next, I grabbed a basket and started breaking things from the ‘keep’ pile into categories. My categories included things like snacks and baking, but I also had a pile for protein powder and for party needs. I made one for my roommate and her things, too. Everyone’s categories will probably be a little bit different according to your lifestyle, and that’s okay!

Try to not be too obsessive about what goes in each category – as long as it makes sense to you, that’s all that matters.


Then, separate your categories into different baskets. You can get baskets that match or try different ones that fit the mood of your kitchen. Also make sure to store the things that you have the most of in the biggest basket!

My kitchen has a rustic feel, so I went with wicker baskets (HomeGoods), wire baskets with copper handles (Target), and galvanized steel buckets (my local hardware store, Little Hardware). They don’t match, but they all have the same vibe.

Once you arrange the baskets or containers, you can label them. This is totally optional and more for looks than anything, but I thought it was so cute that I couldn’t resist.

I used chalkboard gift tags from Target, but any type of tag will work. Write the name of whatever category is in the basket on the tag, using any sort of lettering you want. I went with a loopy script.

Then, grab some ribbon, twine, or yarn and tie the tag to the basket handle or to an opening in the wire.

After I did all the organizing, I steam cleaned the floor with my Swiffer Bissel Steam Cleaner and put in a new light bulb (bad lighting will kill the mood of a room in a split second).

Voila! You’re done! The whole process probably took me 3-4 hours, but I had a lot of trash to clean out.

Does your pantry need a makeover? What kind of organization do you follow in your kitchen?

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