TBYT: An Organized Pantry

This post is part of a series on Taking Back Your Time.  TBYT focuses on the little habits we all can cultivate to spare those extra minutes, seconds, and hours in each day, so that we have more time to do the things we really enjoy… like blogging!

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”
~Mary Poppins

Call me weird, but few things give me more joy than an organized pantry.

And it’s not just that it gives me joy… keeping an organized pantry really does save time.  And money.  Hear me out.  Knowing exactly what is in your pantry means you can open the door and quickly have dinner options laid out for you on a busy weeknight.  It means you won’t waste money buying eight cans of chickpeas when you already have twelve cans at home (I’ve been there).  It means you have the tools in your arsenal to make a fast lunch for yourself or the kids in the morning without digging around looking for the sandwich baggies.  It means you’ll never be surprised by moldy bread (ew).

Trust me, if you put an hour or so into organizing your pantry (and if you commit to putting things back where you found them!), it will pay you back in minutes saved every day.  And those minutes really do add up.

So, wanna know what’s in my pantry?  Okay, here you go…

Top shelf (L to R): My cereals and oats, dried fruit, whole grains (millet, barley, farro), rice and quinoa.

Upper middle shelf (L to R): Whole grain pastas, sauces, mustards, nut butters, sliced bread, nuts.

Lower middle shelf: seasonings, salts, bread crumbs, oils and vinegars.

Bottom shelf (L to R): Dried beans and legumes, sea vegetables and Asian specialty ingredients, canned beans, canned veg (and some meringue cookies thrown in there for good measure).

And here’s the floor:

Winter squash and potatoes, snacks, hubby’s cereals (yes, we shop at Costco… why do you ask?).

I organize like items with like and group things together in baskets or bowls, or on trays.  For instance, I keep winter squash in a basket from Target, seasonings are in a wooden salad bowl I got for my bridal shower (I like keeping it in the pantry because I get to admire it every day!), and oils and vinegars are on a tray with a picture of Switzerland, which I pilfered from my grandmother’s house (okay, she gave it to me).  Having nice baskets and bowls to keep things in makes it easier for me to remember to put things back where they belong.  But if you’re more mature than me (ha!) then don’t bother.  See if I care.

Now, because I know you all want to see it (is that crickets I hear?), here’s my baking pantry:

There’s a method to this madness, too.  From the bottom to the top, the shelves are organized as follows:

Bottom shelf: sugars (granulated, brown, sucanat, confectioner’s, honey, flavored).

Lower middle: flours.

Middle: baking essentials (extracts, liquers, baking powder/soda, salt, measuring cups, etc.)

Upper middle: mixing bowls.

Top: holiday items and cake/cookie decorating.

Keeping these pantries organized saves me hours in the long run, because I know exactly where to find what I’m looking for.  So call me a dork… whatever, I don’t care.  I know where my lentils are.  Do you?

10 thoughts on “TBYT: An Organized Pantry

  1. My pantry is semi-organized but is getting overwhelmed. I’ve been dying to organize it! Looking at the pictures of yours makes me jealous! I suppose it doesn’t help that I need to rearrange the cabinets to make room for the baby’s stuff (and make the kitchen safer)…

  2. I just happened upon your blog from Emily’s The Front Burner and love this post! Just last week I took on the seemingly impossible task of reorganizing our cupboards and I feel like I want to actually be in my kitchen, it makes such a difference!
    My husband’s the baker in the family and would die to have the baking stuff you’ve got. 🙂

    • Welcome! I love Emily’s blog and actually live near her in northern Virginia, but haven’t made it to any of her DC area get togethers yet – soon, I hope! I’m glad you’re enjoying my blog too. 🙂

      Having an organized kitchen makes worlds of difference for wanting to actually spend time in the kitchen and cook. I’ve had kitchens where all my stuff was squirreled away in any space I could find and it’s a completely different experience. I love cooking and baking even more when I can see all the goodies in my cabinets!

  3. Pingback: The Essential Healthy Kitchen, Part I: Pantry « Covered In Flour

  4. Pingback: The Many Faces of my TBR | Covered In Flour

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