I Organized My Pantry Just Like Ina Garten — And Her Smart Idea Is Worth Every Penny

published Sep 6, 2022
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I would consider myself to be a fairly “organized” person, but every time I open my pantry, the sight of my cluttered cabinet makes me cringe. In the business of day-to-day life, it’s easy (and sometimes necessary) to put household chores, such as organizing my cabinets, on the back burner. 

But, in truth, whether I’m testing a new dish or reheating leftovers, I don’t feel like I have time to waste digging through endless shelves of cans and boxes just to find a small bag of beans or Old Bay seasoning.

So when Ina Garten shared this basic but brilliant way she organizes her pantry, I decided to follow in the Barefoot Contessa’s footsteps. Earlier this year, Ina announced on Instagram that she swears by clear bins to organize her pantry. I wanted to see if this budget-friendly trick actually makes organizing as simple as it seems.

Credit: Lauren Paige Richeson
The benefit of the clear bins is being able to see everything you have in stock.

The benefit? They’re made of sturdy plastic that wipe clean and are completely see-through, so all of your goods are visible. As with most things, the cost and quality go hand in hand. Be prepared to shell out some serious cash for some of the better-known brands. But there are some budget-friendly options. 

I ordered two plastic bins from Amazon that look exactly like the ones Ina used. And guess what? They came to only $12.50 apiece.

Credit: Lauren Paige Richeson
The bins from Amazon are a nice size, measuring 11” x 8” x 6”.

How I Reorganized My Pantry

Recently, I got really into upcycling and have drastically reduced the amount of plastic in my home. As a result, I’m now storing a lot of ingredients in glass jars. But because my containers are all different shapes and sizes, it’s quite difficult to keep them neatly organized. Eventually, all of the jars end up being scattered all over the place. 

I decided to use Ina’s idea for storing my jars. I experimented with different configurations, but in the end, I decided to fill the bins with items that I most commonly use so they are easily accessible for me.

Credit: Lauren Paige Richeson

I filled the first bin with my baking items, the second with seasonings, and a third, smaller one with more seasonings. I stacked the bins up on one side of the cabinet, so I could make use of the rest of the shelf space.

Credit: Lauren Paige Richeson
So nice and tidy!

It took me less than an hour to settle on a good setup, but the rush of serotonin I felt after was worth every minute!

Credit: Lauren Paige Richeson

The clear bins make everything visible in one glance without having to look through an entire shelf of unlabeled jars, or stand on tiptoes to find a specific item. The bins came in handy when storing things that get tend to get sticky or spill like sauces, beans, and grains. 

Credit: Lauren Paige Richeson
Now, I can just take out the bin, and place the whole thing on my kitchen counter when I'm cooking.

Now, when I’m ready to cook, I can just take a bin full of ingredients from the cabinet to the counter for an easy and organized mise-en-place. 

Credit: Lauren Paige Richeson

This organizational system makes my grocery list a lot shorter and cheaper, too. I can easily check to see what I have and how much I have left, and avoid buying extra because something was hidden in the back. 

Credit: Lauren Paige Richeson
Ta da! Looking good!

As it turns out, the Barefoot Contessa would never lead me astray, and Ina’s simple little technique turned out to be the perfect solution to streamline my cluttered culinary space.

The bins? They’re worth every penny. They make it easier to find what you need when you need it — even if all you’re looking for is peace of mind. 

How do you store your pantry items? Do you use clear bins? Tell us your tips in the comments below.