Jan 27, 2012 - Open House, Organization    110 Comments

My Corner Market (aka my pantry)

I have a problem, I am a compulsive organizer.   My kitchen pantry is the subject of this weeks obsession: Pantry Organization.  I like my pantry to be “merchandised” like a corner store.  When I walk in or glance in at my pantry I want to be drawn in to a neat, clean, well stocked space.  A space to inspire me to whip up a yummy treat or grab a quick snack.

Pantry Organization Tips

Note: if you would like to tour my Midnight Beach Kitchen, check it out HERE.


Here are a few views from outside the pantry.
Kitchen Pantry Organization Tips

Kitchen Pantry Organization Tips

First of all, you must be able to see well in your pantry.  When we built our current track house, the builder wasn’t going to put a light in the pantry!   I insisted on a fixture being wired and then we purchased and installed a light from IKEA for $19.99.  I LOVE it because it gives off tons of light (and of course it is incandescent, NOT florescent).

Kitchen Pantry Organization Tips

Another essential ingredient for a great pantry is an electrical outlet.  This means that my husbands protein shakes can stay in the pantry, just pop the shake cup in the dishwasher.


An extension cord taped down taut keeps the ever useful toaster oven hidden out of sight in the pantry as well.  Meanwhile bottom half of an orange box from Costco holds my KitchenAid Mixer attachments.  My most used binder cook books are close at hand.

Kitchen Pantry Organization Tips

I like to keep chip bags, bottles and other not uniformed packaging in larger bins or baskets.  Light weight or rarely used appliances are kept up high.  And, although it is kind of boring, I have opted for white or stainless appliances for the last 15 years and love the way they all blend in.

Kitchen Pantry Organization Tips

The popcorn machine is neither rarely used or light, BUT when we had it with in easy reach, we ate 3X as much popcorn.  At least this way we get some exercise getting it down before we gobble up the corn and popping topping…mmmm.  Note: I highly recommend this Paramount popper from Amazon.

Kitchen Pantry Organization Tips

I also have a strange addiction, you know like the ones on the TLC show?  Yes, but mine happens to be: using up a product and throwing away the empty packaging.  Weird right?  When every I finish a tube of toothpaste, shampoo, milk container etc. I get a strange satisfaction from throwing it away and knowing I used every last drop.  I’ve even bought smaller sized packages knowing I could throw out the package sooner!  Yikes, my secret is out.  ANYWHO, my pantry actually feeds this addiction as explained below.

I love going shopping (with my handy dandy list found HERE) and then coming home and stocking my pantry store.  I like it to look neat, tidy.  I open and unload each of the boxes of cereal, fruit snacks, granola bars, what ever into a cute, neat container.  Then, I throw all of the cheap packaging into the recycle bin.  The good looking packages are cleaned and added to my inventory.  Repetition allways looks great when merchandising and a pantry is no different.  I love having the cereal all the same shape and size (note: these are from IKEA, $3.99).

Kitchen Pantry Organization Tips

Keeping kid snacks down low and easy to grab helps my four boys feed themselves.  Again, repetition of baskets helps keep things looking fresh.  I found these little beauties at Ross years ago.  The small ones were $3.99 and the large one was $5.99.  They have removable liners so I can wash them and keep things fresh.

If you are looking for FREE bins, look no further than your Costco orange boxes.  HERE is a tutorial for making them pantry ready.

Kitchen Pantry Organization Tips

I love these bushel baskets I picked up at a yard sale.  Keeping root vegetables in baskets helps the air flow keeping them fresh longer (note: these are often at yard sales and thrift stores).

Kitchen Pantry Organization Tips

I know I’m sounding repetitive, but repetition in these large storage bins looks clean and they were freeeee!  Check out my post on recycling bulk food containers from club stores HERE.

Kitchen Pantry Organization Tips

I love these bins that I made for my nursery years ago from the janitorial supply center at Home Depot (read about them HERE).

Kitchen Pantry Organization Tips

Come on, isn’t this bin much cuter than the bag or box that the little chip bags come in?

Kitchen Pantry Organization Tips


 I like keeping as much off the floor as possible so I can run my Swiffer vac around when the kids drop any crumbs.

Kitchen Pantry Organization Tips

Happy Organizing!

Due to the HUGE success of this post, I have added a second Kitchen Organization Post HERE:

Kitchen Organization Tips

Also read 10 tips for an organized Master closet “From Blah to Boutique”:

Linked Up: Tatertots & Jello, Funky Junk, Home Stories A2Z, House of HepworthsOrganize Your Stuff Now



  • love the idea of a plug in the pantry. Reorganized mine yesterday but really would love to paint and do a major overhaul- just don’t have time right now but at least the 2 year old crackers are in the trash along with alot of other stuff!

    • Mary, removing 2 year old crackers is a HUGE start! Good luck on the overhaul someday :)

    • Love that comment – two year-old crackers! You’re a girl after my own heart!

  • Looks good I did something similar with the sealing acrylic bins/containers for a smaller pantry. One question where are your can goods?

    • Good question Dawn. Since I don’t like looking at all of the can labels I keep them in a tall upper cabinet in another corner of my kitchen. I keep them stacked two tall on a giant lazy suzan I bought at Bed Bath & Beyond. I think they were like $15 each before the 20% off coupon, but all 3 were worth every penny. I like the Pinterest pic where someone wrapped a 12 pack soda box and kept their cans in there. I seem to have too wide of a variety to limit them to those boxes. I’ll post more kitchen organization tips soon!

  • Wow, what a great post! I would love it if you linked your tips up to my organization link party this week. I know my readers would love to see them: http://thriftmeblog.com/lets-organize-2012-pantry-recap-link-party/


    • Katy! Thanks, I went to your party too late! Maybe next time.

  • This looks great! I love plugging in appliances out of site. Wish I could do that!

  • Wow! that is a really beautifully organized kitchen. I love the bushel basket idea for root vegetables. I’m going to keep my eye out.

  • Love it – it’s beautiful! I found you on Pinterest…and I’m so impressed!

    Becky B.
    Organizing Made Fun

  • This is so pretty and organized! Thanks for all the pictures and descriptions…I am so thankful when blog posts include lots of information like yours so that I can replicate ideas if they will work for me!

    I am wondering about the $3.99 IKEA containers…do they have a seal on them? We have to put everything in sealing containers because otherwise we tend to get pantry moths. It is so frustrating, EVERYTHING boxed or bagged must go in a sealed container. The IKEA ones are nice and uniform and inexpensife so I’m just wondering if I could use those.


    • Tamie,
      The lids snap on and then the spout snaps closed with a rubber style seal. In full disclosure, my husband isn’t a fan of them with larger cereals like Frosted Mini Wheat, but Cheerios, Lucky Charms and other smaller cereals pour out perfect.

    • Tamie,
      Just to give you MY experience. Originally when organizing my pantry I bought the same containers from Ikea but I had to return almost all of them because they were not sealing well meaning air was going inside. I put cereal in one and the cereal became hard as stuck together. I returned them all and bought OXO pop containers and they WORKED! The OXO containers are pricey but they work so if you have bugs problem I think you should invest in OXO pop containers.
      Hope this help!

      • Total bummer Tamie, I haven’t had any trouble with mine, could be that I live in a very dry climate. Glad you found some that work!

  • What a great idea! love the idea of the outlets.wish i had a pantry to use this idea.if i ever do,i know now how to organize it.

  • Oh, wow! I love your pantry – I am so envious!

    I live in a tiny flat that I really do love, but it only has one food storage cupboard and a small fridge with a tiny ice box! But the principles of your way of organisation can be adapted to my tiny place too

  • Possibly the best organized pantry I’ve ever seen! Mine is truly embarrassing. I’m pinning this post and scheduling a trip to Ikea for the supplies! Thanks for inspiring my spring cleaning project!

    • Woot Woot, I always love a trip to Ikea!

  • Hi Amanda – I too am an obsessive organiser (I am from NZ so we spell it with an s) and until recently I thought I actually had issues! Recently I have found loads of wonderful sites on FB that have amazing women who also like organising…suddenly I don’t feel so bad! I also have an obsession with throwing away packaging knowing I have used every last drop! Am glad to hear there is at least one other person out there in the world with this desire. I despise having more in my pantry/bathroom cupboard than we need. Use all you have to the last drop!
    I am so obsessed with organising (and VERY inspired by your pantry) that I am considering starting a Professional Organising business in my home town – it’s a reasopnably new concept here in NZ, hope it takes off!

    • Becs,
      Yay! I’m not the only one :) Good luck with your business, there are a lot of people out there that need your skills.

      • there should be a group for this. I have this obsession as well. I love having these containers so that I can throw bags and boxes away.

  • Did I mis-understand, but if you are recommending using the Toaster oven plugged into the pantry, what about the plastic binders and plastic storage right next to them? They could melt or be a fire hazard. Eeeek!

    • Janet,
      I appreciate your concern, I had the same thought until I realized that my particular toaster oven only gets hot on the top, not on the sides. Phew!

  • Wow! What an incredible pantry, wish you could come over here and help me do mine!

  • How do you keep up with expiration dates on cereals, etc.?

    • I just write on the bag with a permanent marker

    • Cereal doesn’t last long at our house, seriously a week tops.

  • And your kitchen is Blue! I love it. I need a pantry so bad and right now it would be organized if I had one.

  • Amanda – Great job in organizing your pantry! Do you find it easier to keep it organized? That’s the true test of an organized space :) Love the baskets of onions and potatoes – clever!

    • Michelle, Honestly my pantry is usually the cleanest most organized spot in my entire house. Everything has it’s place, tried and tested, it’s like a well oiled machine. The only problems we have in there are the empty fruit snack or granola bar wrappers my toddler leaves in random places or when my 7 year old leaves the bread bag open. But those are all really easy to straighten up. After a shopping trip the boys are assigned to help put things away including dumping all of the new snacks into the bins. It’s really a snap.

  • How do you organize your canned goods?

  • Love your ideas. When you buy items in bulk (or even larger sizes in grocery stores) do your containers hold all of the item? I’m thinking cereal… or goldfish… or even breakfast bars bought in bulk.
    I too love throwing packaging away and try putting things in bins… but get frustrated when the new containers do not hold all the product. Grrr…

    • Amy, The smaller cereals do fit in the Ikea storage containers, but the larger ones do not. I store the unused portions or refills as I call them above my refrigerator and refill them as needed. As for the goldfish, I keep them in the large popcorn containers and the large boxed fish fit with room to spare. Breakfast bars and bulk granola bars fit in my bins perfect. If you need a larger bin, you could try the boxes from oranges (I did a post on them ).

  • Your pantry is gorgeous but howwww can u in good conscience feed your family all of that processed crap?maybe now that u have organized your chips u could spend a little more time cooking healthy for them and yourself .

    • Whoah Sally, simmer down. We are all healthy, and you should see all the produce in the fridge. Thanks for your concern ;)

  • Where did u purchase ur cereal containers?

    • I bought them at Ikea. They are $3.99. There is a link just above the photo in the post above.

  • LOVE your pantry and yes! I’m inspired to organize better. I too share your confession. I get deep satisfaction from throwing away stuff! Especially in the recycle bin :)
    THANKS for the gorgeous pics also. It’s now on my Pinterest.

  • What a great idea! love the idea of the outlets.wish i had a pantry to use this idea.if i ever do,i know now how to organize it.

  • OMG. You are my new idol.

  • I absolutely love the idea of the small appliances in the pantry. I am not sure it would’ve worked in the past, but we are an empty nest now, and I believe I can come up with some room in there for them. I already have a plug or two! So glad I popped by from Pinterest!

  • Hi, love the ideas here. I do want to know if you have other pictures/posts of your kitchen with the black painted cabinets.. I’m trying to decide black or white for my own thanks!

  • Wonderful post on an organized pantry…At my old house, when I use to use a microwave….we kept it plugged into the pantry! Loved having an outlet in there!
    I don’t really have a pantry at all right now…sad. But my husband is working on it! Thank you for all the great ideas and sharing your photos with us!

  • Oh wow, I think I’ve found my organizational nerdery soulmate!! :P You are my new favorite blogger, lady! Now I just need to figure out how to reproduce your pantry in my own house, on open air shelving. I have a feeling, with the colors and art I’m using, my kitchen is going to kind of look like a candy shop ;)

  • LOVE this! We are a military family and never have the luxury of a large pantry on post but I ‘pinned’ this on Pinterest so save for the future. I’m going to try and do as much as possible with my itty bitty pantry. It’s beautiful!

  • Love your pantry!! I have a light in mine, but never thought of an electrical outlet in there. I have to have all my things in plastic containers because we have had a mouse problem a couple times. We had some well-fed mice!!!

  • We must have been separated at birth. Love your blog and that you’re as messed up as me!

  • LOVE that you kept it monochromatic – hard to do but makes the end result so much nicer. I’m trying to do the same in my 5 year old daughter’s room, all her baskets & bins are burlap, canvas or white. It sounds “serious” for a kids room but imaine it against the mint green walls and black & cream stripe curtains…still fun but doesn’t look like a daycare center!
    I am bummed to hear that your anti- flouresent bulbs! We use the *SOFT WHITE* CFL bulbs in every spot in our home and they are just as “warm” in color as incandesents…and a million times better for the enviornment. Our children’s future planet depends on the decisions we make now :)

    • JoJo, I’m sorry but CFL’s are one thing I can’t compromise on. I do recycle, reuse and compost, so I hope that counts for something :)

    • The environment argument cracks me up. Now they are concerned because CFL’s have mercury and are TOXIC. If one breaks, you have to use hazardous waste methods to dispose of it. Just think of all those broken CFLs in our landfills . . .Our children’s future planet depends on not falling for every new marketing gimmick on the planet. I’m with you – give me the old tried and true light bulbs – I stocked up because I came from California where the legislature is MENTAL. BTW – pantry is FABULOUS. ;)

  • Everything looks great. I’m wondering the measurements of your pantry. We are going to be planning a remodel and want to add a pantry. Thanks!

  • Just wanted to say you are adorable in your compulsiveness!

  • I love your pantry! I am buying a new house and it has a pantry, which is a luxury I have not had in quite some time! I am so excited and I can hardly wait to get moved in and get everything, including the pantry, organized!! I am on the lookout for ways to organize my new home so everything will be nice and neat and easily accessible!!

  • Love love love how you re-organized your pantry, is it possible if you could Email me and give me some ideas on how to re-do mine if possible please??

  • I seriously think I am love with you! Just looking at your pantry makes me salivate! We just sold our house and I swear when we buy a new one the buying factor is going to have to be whether or not it has a pantry just so I can make it look like yours. Well done!

  • I love this article. I am also an organizational madman. I know I will be implementing some of your great ideas. Would it be OK if I was to write a short review of this article for our blog? I would like to grab the main pic and write a few sentences talking about your great ideas with link to the article on your site. If this would be OK, please e-mail us so we have written confirmation. Thank you and continue with your great website.

  • I am wondering how you painted your wash tubs? Everything I have read says the paint will peel if its not done right. I have found different ways to paint it but was wondering how you did it. I love the idea of taking sand paper to it for a distressed look.

    • I think I used some Kilz primer I had leftover from another project. It has never “pealed” just scraped off with the sand paper. Good luck!

  • I just wanted to compliment you on your very tactful and sweet responses to few negative comments. I am not sure I have ever seen someone respond with such class. My compliments…and your pantry is glorious!

  • You are encouraging me to continue with my lifelong endeavor of being organized! It doesn’t come naturally, at all, for me! I like your idea of putting canned goods in the lazy susan. Right now we put containers in there that we put leftover in. I would like to put canned goods there instead. But, any suggestions on where to put containers that we use to store leftovers in. We have a lot of containers because I like having leftovers and I use them for my and my husbands lunches also during the work week. Thanks for any help you can offer.

  • Wow what wonderful tips, who knew a pantry could be so easy in the eyes!! *Sigh * I wish I had a pantry now.. All I have are some shelving going down steps to the basement … Maybe someday you could give some tips on organizing something such as that? Especially since it’s common and I’m sure they’re are a number of us who have similar set up and no pantry. I’m sure however that I could take a few of yor tips and impliment those.
    Thanks again for showing us your beaitiful pantry!! :) )

  • So I don’t have a walk in pantry I have a closet type one that has deep shelves.

    Any suggestions for that?


    Love the container ideas etc and the clear is a great idea then you can see what and how much of something is in there and left.

    • Angie, I would set it up just the same. Snacks low for the kids, appliances you don’t use often up top and if you can get an outlet in, put it right in the middle. Happy organizing.

  • I was trying to clean and organize my pantry. It was a horrible mess! Good thing I have bumped into this post. Really helped me a lot in organizing my pantry. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Just wondering how (what) you use the space under your kitchen sinks (for)?

  • I make my counter top just high enough to allow a rolling kitchen island to go under. It makes cleaning easier and you can store everything on it you would normally put under the counter, plus the obvious use of the island when you need a little more space for working.

  • Hi! First, I LOVE your pantry and am insanely jealous, both of the pantry and of your obviously innate organizational skills! But the thing that struck me most when I read these comments (once I “ooohed” and “aaaahed” over the pantry photos) was your extremely gracious responses to all the naysayers and negative folks that commented on your post. I loved the way that you responded to them all with so much kindness and grace, gently acknowledging their viewpoint, but not backing down from your own. Wow. Seriously – I was impressed. It made me want to subscribe to your blog just because you have to be a really classy and kind and compassionate person to handle the negative stuff in such a great way. Kudos to you on a job well done – on so many levels! :) Hope you have a great day!

    • Thanks Melanie,
      At first sight I thought about deleting the not so flattering comments, but some made me laugh so hard I kept them on for everyone else’s enjoyment. Really, it’s just a blog and I don’t take life or myself quite as serious as a few of my commentators do.
      Have a great day!

    • My thoughts EXACTLY! I love the grace and kindness!

  • Hey Amanda, Thanks for this, I know it is an older post but I just found it and it gave me the kick in the butt to get my pantry reorganized. It seems I go away on duty for a few weeks or so and come home and my pantry is a disaster so I had kind of thrown in the towel for a while. Last night I remedied it and felt way better. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Hi Amanda, I love these posts! I pinned them a long time ago and am just now getting around to reading them. I have a few questions. Where did you get those bins you have on the ground? I know you got the other containers at IKEA (which we don’t have in Tennessee). Is that where you got the baskets, too? I also read your post on organizing your cabinets–I have the same awkward corner cabinet and I love the turntable idea. It seems all those containers, baskets and turntables can really add up fast. Any tips for those of us on a tight budget? I’d love to get that organized but my husband is still in school so spending hundreds of dollars on baskets and turntables isn’t an option right now. Thank you!

  • You have really inspired me to get my pantry sorted. I seem to spend so long looking for ingredients I always end up having to rush cooking. Thanks for such great ideas!

  • 329145 520214I truly prize your piece of function, Excellent post. 516729

  • I love your pantry space! I am constantly having to come up with new ideas for organizing with each move we make (we are military). My current challenge is a pantry/laundry room that has deep cabinets. My things get so lost in there! I will be working on this space soon! My other challenge at this house is I have to shop for our American goodies (we live overseas) once a month – a two hour drive (one way!). So, stockpiling our stuff is not fun.

    How do you store spices? That seems to take up a whole cabinet in my kitchen and my rarely used spices are in two shoe plastic bins that take up too much space in my pantry. I don’t think that is working for me right now!

  • Could you give at least a rough idea on your pantry dimensions? We are in the planning stages of building our home and I totally covet an organized space like yours and I’d like to make sure we allow enough room. Thank you!

    • Paige, It is 46″ X 46″ where the shelves are and about 27″ deep. Each shelf is 15″ deep. Happy building! I love the planning stages. NOTE: If I were building from scratch, I would probably do some sort of adjustable shelving.

  • Your pantry looks great – so well organized! I’ve got this linked to my post on pantries too today, for inspiration!!

  • We are renovating our kitchen and adding a walk in pantry, there fore I have been researching ideas on what to put into my new pantry. I truly believe every pantry should have a light, but I was thinking about adding a motion sensor light. I love the idea of an electrical outlet in the pantry as well.
    Your organizational skills are wonderful, I thank you for your ideas and will be incorporating as many of these ideas as possible into my new pantry when it is completed.

  • If you throw out the packaging how are they supposed to know serving size/calories?
    Obviously the chips and individually packaged products have that on them.

    You should put up labels or page protectors on te wall and put it in front of or behind the cereal containers and such. Just cut it out of one of the boxes and then get the satisfaction of recycling it!

    • Oh Elizabeth, You overestimate our families need to count calories! I have four boys, an believe me, they don’t go by what the cereal box “serving size” says! BUT, for those who ARE more calorie or nutrition concise, you’ve got great ideas.

  • I am insanely jealous of that pantry! I really wish I had one so I could organize it like this since I’m OCD when it comes to organizing things lol

  • Love the ideas. I was wondering if you know where I can find the angled baskets though. Love that Idea the most.

    • Cherry, I bought mine at Ross a few years ago and haven’t seen the same ones again. If I come across any, I’ll reply here. Happy organizing!

  • Amanda, I love your blog! You have so many creative, wonderful ideas. I think yours may be the first blog ever that I follow regularly.

  • […] My pantry.  While I love my pantry, I wrote that post mostly to show my organizing abilities in order to […]

  • […] See how I organize my Corner Pantry HERE […]

  • Gorgeous! You’ve inspired me to get back to work on my own pantry, which is much smaller, and so could could definitely use this level of organization! And I LOVE the idea of having an outlet and a light in the pantry. I can’t get an outlet in ours, but I was considering a battery powered light, and I think I’ll definitely follow through on that.

    My only suggestion, which probably isn’t relevant to a family of four boys (I bet food doesn’t stick around too long, ha) is to store the potatoes away from the onions – I’ve heard storing them next to each other can make both go bad faster. If you’re my mother you would display the potatoes on the kitchen counter (potatoes are important!), but a different cabinet would probably work well. :D

    • Yay Brittany! I’m glad my pantry could be an inspiration to you :) And you’re right about my food not sticking around long, but that is a great tip to store them in different places, thanks!

  • Does the cereal go stale if you put in in containers?

    • Cindy, it does NOT! I actually stopped using the cereal containers from Ikea and have switched over to recycled popcorn containers for all of my cereal and grains. They have a screw on lid with a large opening and can usually handle a full box of cereal. This means that we have consumed a huge amount of popcorn, thanks to our industrial popcorn popper, which is a tad embarrassing! If you aren’t a huge popcorn eater, the containers from Ikea worked great, I just liked the larger opening and size of the popcorn containers from Costco.

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  • Just came across this! Love it! Just a little hint: you’re not supposed to store potatoes and onions in the same place. Gases from onions make your potatoes sprout a lot faster.

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  • I love all the ideas you are throwing out on the blog. Maybe im dreaming a bit away because I know I never would get it like that in my house. Ok, I admit that I envy you a bit.

  • looking good

  • nice post

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