The 10 Commandments of a Clean, Organized, and Happy Pantry

published Apr 17, 2018
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(Image credit: Minette Hand)

Your pantry — be it a room, a cabinet, or even just a drawer — deserves a little love. It’s the commissary of your kitchen, the foundation of your foodstuffs. And it’s all too easy to let spice jars and half-full bags of granola take over.

Instead, make a vow to live by these 10 guiding principles and enjoy a happy, healthy pantry for years to come.

1. Thou shalt group like items together.

The things you reach for at the same time — like coffee and sweetener — should stay together.

2. Honor thy baskets.

The secret to an instantly organized pantry is a whole lot of baskets or bins. Find some perfectly sized to fit two or three or four to a shelf and stick everything in them. I use these cheap Target ones all over my house.

3. Thou shalt use uniform containers.

In life, I subscribe to a “march to the beat of your own drummer” philosophy. But in a pantry, you’ll be surprised how much a little uniformity makes everything look and feel amazing.

(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

4. Thou shalt decant thy pantry staples.

Speaking of uniform containers, take your pantry staples — the things you run out of and re-up on, like flour or cereal or pasta — and decant them into matching containers like these OXO POP ones.

5. Thou shalt label everything.

Your baskets, your containers, everything.

(Image credit: Natalie Jeffcott)

6. Remember your habits and make things easy to find.

The things you reach for most often should be the most accessible — keep them front and center at eye level.

7. Honor thy healthy snacks.

You can use your pantry organization to help you along on your wellness goals. Put healthy items in front and at eye level, and hide your weaknesses (bye bye, butterscotch chips) on the backs of high shelves.

8. Thou shalt make use of shelf risers.

If you have deep shelves, stepped shelf risers like this one put everything in reach.

9. Remember and honor the FIFO principle.

That’s “first in, first out.” Use the oldest things in the pantry up first.

10. Thou shalt purge weekly.

It’s the final commandment, but the number-one tip: Take on a weekly pantry purge (set an alarm!) to get rid of expired items and consolidate almost-gone goodies.

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: The 10 Commandments of a Clean & Happy Pantry