How to Organize a Pantry | Day 18: 30 Days to Less of a Hot Mess


Welcome to the 30 Days to Less of a Hot Mess Challenge! We’re decluttering, reorganizing and taking a breath of fresh air to create a home we love. If this is your first time at the challenge, you may want to start here at the beginningAffiliate links used for your convenience.


Can we be real for a second? I absolutely love having a newly organized and cleaned fridge from yesterday’s post. Sure, it’s nice to now fit all of my drinks in the door instead of having them laying around all over the shelves in the fridge. But truth be told? It didn’t just knock my socks off. I won’t lose things as much, but honestly I didn’t lose a ton of things in the fridge in the first place.

But todays topic? I’m downright slap-yo-mama ecstatic about the changes I’ve seen in my pantry.

Pantry Organization | 30 Days to Less of a Hot Mess

Technically I’m not sure you can call my food storage area a pantry. It’s more like two cabinets – one in my kitchen and one in my laundry room – that hold almost all of my food storage. It’s teensy tiny compared to some I’ve seen. But it’s what I have and honestly my system for food was not working for me.

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I have one cabinet that holds most of my non-perishable items in my kitchen. Well, except for spices, oils, cereal and chips. I have other cabinets for those, but those are organized and fine. It was this food cabinet that gives me fits on the regular.

When we moved into the house we ripped out the wire shelves in the laundry room (yet to be revealed on this blog 4 years later – oops!) and added some standard cabinets from Lowe’s. I designated the very first cabinet to be my “extra food storage” cabinet.

Pantry Organization | 30 Days to Less of a Hot Mess

So, anything that wasn’t opened and didn’t fit into my one cabinet in the kitchen went in there.

The problem was that it was hard to keep track of what I had and what I didn’t. I never ever thought about putting all of the same stuff together in one cabinet. I felt like all of the opened boxed and bags should be in the kitchen and the rest should go in the laundry room.

Big mistake!

This is how I ended up with 6 boxes of granola bars, I’m sure of it. And 2 nearly full bags of turbinado sugar and 3 cans of Pam cooking spray. It’s just hard to keep track of two jumbled cabinets.

So, what did I do?

I emptied them both out, of course!

Pantry Organization | 30 Days to Less of a Hot Mess

Then I grouped similar items together. Some categories I chose were:

  • kids snacks
  • dried fruits
  • baking goods
  • crackers
  • rice and pasta
  • canned tomato products
  • canned everything else
  • drinks
Pantry Organization | 30 Days to Less of a Hot Mess

I bought a bunch of the clear pantry bins from Target the other day and I thought I would have extras and would be returning some, but I used them all and still need some more. Eek! I ordered some from The Container Store that will be here later this week.

Put everything back in an organized manner. I’m thrilled with how mine turned out!

Pantry Organization | 30 Days to Less of a Hot Mess

Now I’ll be able to see what I have at a glance. No more rummaging through both cabinets to see if I have spaghetti noodles or cans of diced tomatoes. I can just look in their designated spots.

Pantry Organization | 30 Days to Less of a Hot Mess

Sorry the pic is so pink! I can’t figure out why for the life of me!

I can’t tell you how many times I thought I had something in my cabinet for a meal and couldn’t find it, only to find it the next day or week. Ugh! So frustrating! But not anymore!!

I also think it will be helpful to see if I have a lot of one thing. If I have a ton of pasta, then maybe I need to make an extra pasta dish or two to use up my abundant supply.

Also, I’m going to be making labels for the bins very soon and I’ll be sure to add a picture here when it’s done. 😊

The Messy Work: Clean out your pantry, throw away anything that is expired, donate anything you won’t use and put it all back in an organized manner.

In the mess with you, Laura

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    1. You should so do it, Sylvia! I shared about my new pantry labels in today’s post in hopes that it’ll help keep it all neat and tidy! I’m sure I’ll have to regularly put things where they go, but I’m loving it so far! xo, Laura

  1. If you pack your kids’ lunches, that’s another great category. Group together all food items and containers used to make lunches!

    1. Yes! Great idea!! All of my kids’ lunch stuff is near each other in my cabinet, but I could definitely do a lunch section! Love it, C!

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