Today’s post is proof of my utter devotion to OXO food storage containers. That’s right…today, we tackle the pantry.
I have two pantries: one for snacks (i.e. chips, granola bars, sandwich stuff, cereal, etc.) and another stocked with ingredients for meals and baking supplies.
Today, I’m going to walk you through the latter…my “Cook’s Pantry,” if you will. (Just go with it. It makes me sound so refined.)
My Cook’s Pantry
This pantry is a veritable OXO shrine. Why do I love these containers so much?
- The airtight seal keeps food fresh (even longer than the original packaging).
- The clear plastic allows me to easily see the contents and make note of what needs restocking. I keep an ongoing grocery list, which I add to as soon as I run out of something. That way I’m sure to remember it on my next grocery trip.
- The containers are stackable and space-efficient.
OXO containers aren’t exactly cheap, which is why I gathered them a few at a time. Every visit to Marshalls and T.J. Maxx became an OXO treasure hunt. Hint: Always check out the clearance aisles. That’s where I found a lot of mine.
As I mentioned in a previous post, Better Homes and Gardens Flip-Tite containers (sold at Walmart) are another good option. They are similar in design, but sold at lower prices.
I used my trusty label maker to identify the contents of each container. Here’s a closer look:
I use them to store pasta, dry beans, panko, nuts, and various baking ingredients, such as flour, corn meal, and powdered sugar. The labels easily peel off, allowing me to change a container’s designation, if needed.
Now, moving on to the gray bins…
I found these beauts at Big Lots, believe it or not. Big Lots is one of my go-to stores for discounted organizers. They sell all types–office, closet, kitchen, you name it.
These bins separate food items by type. I use the following categories, which I (of course) printed on some labels: Cooking Oils, Sauces/Dressings, Canned Goods, Drink Mixes, Treats, and Miscellaneous.
Now, I realize a “Miscellaneous” bin is akin to a junk drawer, but I promise it contains very organized miscellany.
To maximize space, I added a three-drawer organizer below my pantry shelves.
This container holds overflow items, such as my essential BOOMCHICKAPOP. I must have at least two bags in reserve at all times. I simply can’t risk running out.
Anyway, the final stop on our tour is the back of the pantry door where I store my spices.
My husband installed this storage rack at our old house, and when we moved to our current home, hanging another rack was one of the first items of business.
In the dark ages before I discovered this organizer, I stored my spices in a drawer and never could find what I needed. Oh, the horror…those little bottles rolling, clanking, and leaking tiny bits of oregano and thyme all over my drawer. This handy rack has spared me the trauma of unruly spices and saved me some valuable kitchen real estate.
Here are some other tips for pantry organization:
- Empty your pantry and wipe down all the shelves and flooring.
- Sort through your food items, discarding anything that has expired.
- Consider donating any non-perishables that you probably won’t use, such as the can of coconut milk that I mistakenly bought a few months ago.
- Group your foods by type. Some ideas for categories: Cereals, Snacks, Breads/Pitas, Canned Goods, Oils/Vinegars.
- Install a shelf in the garage for bulky, nonfood items, such as paper towels, bottled waters, or kitchen appliances.
- Before grocery shopping, make a detailed list (and NEVER shop while hungry). Anything not on your list is an impulse buy and will only serve to clutter up your pantry, empty your wallet, and potentially clog your arteries. Keep blinders on, and stick to your list.
- There are a variety of hanging shelves that you can suspend from existing pantry shelves to create added storage. A great option for tight spaces.
Now, I know my whole “OXO system” isn’t for everyone, but it could be easily adjusted. For example, start with your cereals. See how you like it and then expand from there if it suits you.
Or maybe you don’t like the OXO idea at all. The practice of opening your foods and transferring them to separate containers seems like extra, needless work. I hear you. (Although, I promise it really doesn’t take much extra time!) Try out the bins instead. Or don’t use any containers, and simply assign general categories to each shelf.
The point is to instate some sort of organizing system. A method to the madness. A way to keep inventory. A way to avoid a pantry full of needless duplicates and expired food.
Because, really, who needs seven cans of stewed tomatoes at the ready? Or four packages of lasagna noodles? Unless your family is the Duggars. Then, yes, by all means…
But for the rest of us, less is better. A tidy, uncluttered pantry means less waste (both money and food) and more space.
What have you got to lose (besides those assorted cans of stewed tomatoes)?