How to Organize Your Pantry on a Budget

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For months and months, our pantry made me cringe. It was messy, contained items we never used anymore, and I didn’t even know half of the things we had in there due to all of the disorganization. I cringe at these photos, but they are to show you that you are not alone!

Brace yourselves…

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AHHHHH!!!

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Stuff everywhere!

A few years ago I organized our old pantry by buying some cheap dollar store baskets and putting chalkboard labels on them, and for a while, that worked just fine.

But eventually, those labels fell off and truth-be-told I just wanted something prettier to look at when I walked into our pantry, but that also didn’t break the bank, either.

So when I stumbled upon THESE baskets on Joss and Main, I knew I had found “the ones.” And even better, I read some reviews, and one reviewer let us know that these baskets are also sold on Walmart.com (sadly, not in most stores) for even cheaper than on Joss and Main! HOLLA! And I LOVE THEM!

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And, they come in a giant box your child will enjoy playing in while you organize, too. Win.

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The best part? These baskets are less than $7.50 each! 

Iiiiii know. I’m excited, too!

Get them HERE.

I was looking for something that I could write on since I love when things are labeled, so the chalkboards are just perfect for that, AND I love that the cloth buttons on and off for easy cleaning. I am a fan of the lined baskets so that you can’t see everything that is there, giving it all a cleaner look.

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To help organize and store some other foods, I keep our pasta in jars like THESE:

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My baking ingredients in containers like THESE:

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And our cereal in containers like THESE: I realize the box the cereal comes in is just as easy, if not easier, to store the cereal in. But truthfully, I just don’t like looking at the boxes and prefer a cleaner look.

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Our pantry has now been organized for about six months and it is holding up well! In fact, these photos were taken only a few days ago. Still looking good in there! I really should get rid of all of those protein powders down there at the bottom, though… six containers of that stuff is a little much!

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So, here is what you need to do to clean up and beautify your own pantry.

  1. Take everything out. This is sooooo not fun, but is necessary. Then, throw away or donate anything you really don’t use. You will be surprised by how much you get rid of!
  2. A big help for me was taking out all of the appliances I really didn’t use anymore and getting rid of them and moving the ones we did use to our cupboards. The only ones I keep in the pantry are my crockpot and my mixer, which are a little too big for the cupboards.
  3. Group like items together to see what kind of categories you want to create. Here is what I ended up with:
    1. Seeds and blends- chia seeds, sunflower seeds, a digestive blend from Costco…
    2. PB and Syrups- Honey is also in this category because we use honey as a syrup, and on our PB and honey sandwiches
    3. Pasta- boxed pasta and rice
    4. Baby snacks
    5. Baby food
    6. Breakfast- Pancake mix and oatmeal cups
    7. Dressings and sauces- salad dressing, pasta sauce, BBQ sauce, teriyaki sauce
    8. Salsa- Apparently we like a variety of salsa because it needs its own basket…
    9. Adult snacks- adult bars, popcorn, pretzels, Triscuits
    10. Nuts and fruit- almonds, pistachios, mixed nuts, Craisins, raisins, fruit cups
    11. Kid snacks- Squeeze pouches, cheddar bunnies, fruit leathers
    12. Bars- Z bars and any others we may be trying out
    13. Oils and Vinegar
    14. Drinks- this basket was extra so I just put the extra drinks we replenish in the fridge with in here, like my daily shake and our Moscow Mule gingerales.
    15. Kid cups- I got this idea from my friend, Kristin. I got tired of always getting the kids’ cups down from the cabinet, so now they can come in the pantry and grab their own. Love it!
    16. Coffee, Tea and Juice
    17. Bread- tortillas, taco shells, breads
    18. Other- Produce that doesn’t need to be refrigerated and that I don’t want on my counter, bagged beans, bread crumbs and anything extra.
  4. To save money, I did use some extra baskets and bins I already had in the pantry to hold things like aprons, mixer attachments, paper goods, pitchers, and two big baskets hold my small baking goods and the larger Costco snacks
  5. Shelves like THESE really help maximize your space. I doubled my canned good space, and added extra space on my pantry floor to make some of the smaller items more accessible- kids lunch boxes, spare Pedialite, and my food saver appliance and storage bags.

This may sound silly, but doing this has made me so happy! Ha! I LOVE going in our pantry now and seeing a pretty space. Again, HERE are the best baskets ever.

Here are some other options I thought would work well in addition, and I think I will most likely end up upgrading my bottom row baskets to a few of these bigger ones, too, once they come back in stock.

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HERE

Or maybe just go with this one since it’s in stock right now…

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HERE

And because everyone loves a good before and after…

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Thanks for stopping by and let me know if you end up doing this, too!

Comments

  1. We try to organize the world, which isn’t organized the way our brains want to organize it.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. I wish I had a pantry to organize! Right now we just have everything in shelves and I can’t reach products I want (like the spices) without help. I can’t wait to move into a bigger space.

    • Katie, I was in your exact position a few years ago! Will these baskets fit into your shelves? It might be easier pulling out a basket for what you need rather than trying to reach all the way into the back?

  3. OH man. I am having serious pantry envy right now! LOL I have a tiny little pantry and as much as I try to keep it together, its a hot mess at the moment. I will have to look into these baskets because the are awesome!

  4. What a great transformation!! I love the new baskets and how they really open the pantry. Also, I’m kind of jealous of your space in general lol–we live in a small 1-BR and having space for food storage is clutch! Thanks for sharing :)

  5. Omg I love how you organized using those baskets! I have baskets too, but mostly for my baking goods (sprinkles, chocolate chips, brown sugar, etc) but I think I’m gonna have to do a few more baskets. One for snacks and another for grains. I’m gonna check out the ones you bought. They’re so cute!

  6. First of all, your blog is gorgeous! Secondly, this is so cool. I’ve attempted to organize my pantry and two days later I’m back to square one. I bet you can save a lot of money too because you can see everything you have.

  7. OH! I could not have found this at a better time! I am literally in the process of purging/de-cluttering our things an organizing them. I use coupons a lot, so we happen to end up with quite a bit of products. The problem is that by the time I get back home from my coupon-spree, I am so tired that organizing my haul is probably the last thing on my mind.

    But these are super simple tips and my marriage may survive another coupon shopping haul. haha

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. Love the ideas, and great photos! A very inspiring project. Great job, and thanks for sharing all the details. You have inspired me! Have a great week!

  9. Oh wow this came out great!! Thank you for sharing with us at #MMBH!!
    Pinning this for sure. :)
    XO

  10. Nice ideas! I love pretty organizational tips. These look so nice.

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