I started this project right after we moved into our temporary rental home, but the lack of natural light inside our kitchen/breakfast area has made taking photos of our pantry (and most of the kitchen) a challenge. I finally dragged out my lighting kit and now that we’re just weeks away from moving into our new home, I thought it would be fun to share how I organized the large double pantry in this house–just before we leave, better late than never, right?
Here is a short video about organizing the space, as nice as pictures are I am trying to create more videos to help show off our spaces and to build our YouTube channel, so just click below to see the pantry (and if you like the video, please subscribe!).
I was absolutely thrilled to get a decent amount of pantry storage space when we moved in this house last January. Even though we are just living here for a short six months while our new home is being built, it has been so nice to have this much food storage space. As you may know, I have three kids, including a teenage son and an almost teenage son, and both are very athletic, so at this stage they eat just about anything that isn’t nailed down.
In our last house, we had a very small pantry that was a constant challenge to keep organized, it is the door you see next to the refrigerator in the photo above. Of course, I was happy to just have a pantry, but now that I have a larger one and can go to the store less frequently, it just makes life so much easier. (This is an old kitchen picture, but you can see the entire updated kitchen here and how we built those shelves under the counter in this post HERE.)
To solve the problem of where to store large bulk items in our last house we had a hidden shelf built in our closet turned mudroom. There is a shelf at the very top of the closet you see above, behind the wall, it held all our larger items like bags of chips, large boxes of cereal or extra plastic bags. It worked great, even if I sometimes had to get a stool to reach something. In this house, I can fit everything in the pantry which makes it all so much easier.
So, as much as I love to see color coordinated, La Croix and Veggie Chip filled pantries (seriously, have you seen The Home Edit? Major eye candy for organization lovers!) this is a real food pantry for a family of five. And, before you start judging our processed food consumption 🙂 I promise you that at one point in my life I allowed my young children to only have organic snacks and fruit. However, despite all my good intentions as a mother they grew up and discovered Doritos, Taco Bell and pizza rolls such, and guess what? Now they want to eat those snacks! At this point, I have given up, it’s more important to me that they eat a diversity of things and a few processed snacks at their ages aren’t the end of the world.
I don’t have a good before picture from when we first moved in, then everything was just stacked in here with no rhyme or reason. Once I found the time, I simply grouped the food we eat into categories. Then I separated the groups into inexpensive baskets, it keeps things from falling all over the place and makes it fast and easy to find what I need.
I also added can risers on the shelf since I had so much more space to work with, I used gravity can racks in my smaller pantry to maximize vertical space, but in this house, this style shelf makes it easier to see all the canned goods I have. I used two tiered shelves, and now I can stock up on the canned items we use frequently.
I use the floor space for bottled water, soda and things like trash bags and paper goods. Here is how I broke down our food into baskets and bins. I should mention that in order to not go to the grocery store every few days, I shop at a warehouse store about every two weeks and often order many of our non-perishables from Amazon Prime. I do live close to Wegmans, which is a fantastic grocery store, so that makes life easier too.
After all these years, I’ll share that making school lunches has become a bit of a drag. I love that I can grab two paper bags, then reach into the lunch bin (the small plastic bin) and grab granola bars, crackers and other individually wrapped snacks. Then I just throw in a sandwich and lunch is done. Sometimes my boys also buy lunch at school to augment what I send in, especially when they have practice after school, but whatever makes them happy and keeps them fed.
I would say our single greatest organization challenge is dealing with all the open bags of snacks (or cereal, more on that in a second) especially since I try to buy larger bulk bags to cut down on shopping trips. I finally found a system that works, which is to clip the tops with these clips (or just use binder clips from the office supply store) and pile them in a large (non-see through because it’s not pretty!) bin. I don’t typically take the time to decant all our snacks into plastic jars, nice as that would look, but I do keep a few items like cookies and Chex Mix in large sealable plastic jars (from HomeGoods) because it helps me track how much I have on hand.
I do the same thing with cereal, which is another popular item for my boys. I can buy larger boxes and then just clip the interior bags closed. I place them in the basket (I use the wicker one shown at the bottom right of the photo) this way we know how much is on hand and I don’t have a huge box taking up space that only has a few spoonfuls of cereal left in the bottom.
I ordered most of my organizing supplies from Amazon, I have linked them all below to help you, along with some mom hacks/ tips I have picked up along the way.
Clear Refrigerator Bins (stores lunch items like granola bars, etc., easy to reach in and make lunches)
Set of Seagrass Baskets (holds grouped dinner items–taco shells, rice, bread crumbs)
Wire Locker Baskets (holds snacks–pretzels, nuts etc. and pastas)
Water Hyacinth Baskets (hold baking supplies so I just pull it out when baking, cookies)
Round Lazy Susans (holds oils, vinegars, ketchup)
Tall Jar (holds tall leftover spaghetti)
Chip Clips (I like these colored ones!)
Breakfast Basket: (TIP: I buy this pancake mix and make the protein version, it’s a great breakfast for dinner idea)
You can pin the image below if you want to keep this to remember it on Pinterest!
I find that now that it is organized, keeping it this way hasn’t been hard. We don’t have too many years left with all these hungry kids at home so we’re trying to make the most of them 🙂
We have a You Tube Channel, you can see our videos HERE!
Our posts contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on these links, we will earn a small commission, which helps to keep our content free. You don’t pay a cent more than you would otherwise, since that would be tacky! Please see our full disclosure policy here.