Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pantry Efficiency

Colleen and her family were blessed recently with a gorgeous new home.  When you move it always takes some time to settle in and decide how you want everything.  So after a few months of living, I came by to help her rev up the efficiency of her pantry. 

We started with some homework.  Colleen emailed me her before pictures.  I asked her to buy some containers for storage, to get something to use for hanging stuff on the wall, and to consider keeping her flour and sugar on the counter top.

To make your pantry work well for you, it's important to sort the contents into practical groups. These will vary depending on your family but some will be stored right on the pantry shelves, and other groups will go into a box.  

We started with baking items in Colleen's case.  She had some in her pantry and some in a cupboard.  I chose to move everything to the cupboard because it is closer to the workspace that she uses when she bakes.

We moved the flour and sugar into canisters on the counter.

Then we organized the other items into containers that Colleen already had.  We also created 2 baking bins - what I call "fast grab" boxes.  One has baking ingredients like chocolate chips, marshmallows, coconut, etc..  The other has the baking powder, baking soda, vanilla and such.  By keeping these items in a bin, you can easily grab the whole container and keep it on the counter while you bake...rather than running back and forth for each item you need while you complete your recipe.


Next we moved on to the upper shelf of the pantry.  

We stored things at the back of the shelf that Colleen did not plan to use often.  We also put the treats up out of reach from the kids, and then added the cereal boxes.

On the rest of the shelves we sorted items into groups. 


For example,  the soups are all together.  Lunch treats together.  We used the containers that Colleen had purchased to make some more fast grab boxes as we did in the baking cupboard.
Toast Fast Grab Box
Potatoes went in a box on the floor.  Finally we hung up her broom, mop and dust pan as well as her kids' lunch bags.


With a little training the whole family can be in on maintaining order in the pantry.  

We had found some tupperware hiding at the back of the pantry shelves so I did a quick tupperware sort in order to be able to fit all of it in her main tupperware cupboard.

All in one spot
If tackling the whole pantry is daunting, start with one category.  How about a coffee fast grab box?  Throw in your beans, filters, tea bags, scoops, grinder and instant mixes.  Try it for a week. 

What kind of fast grab box does your family find efficient?  Share your ideas in the comments!


  1. That pantry looks great!


  2. Every time I read a post, I think wow! I want to do that at my place! I like the bins idea. We have a few, but it still is a bit out of control in places. Colleen, it all looks fabulous and I bet you love your new organized space!

  3. Love looking through your blog Shannon. You have such great, inexpensive solution ideas. We use Grab-boxes all the time at my house. I have one with school-lunch-treats that the kids have access to - they pack that part of their lunch themselves. In my baking cupboard, I also have a smaller box that has all my "decorating" stuff in it - food colouring, sprinkles, etc. LOVE being able to pull that all out at once instead of digging for it one at a time.