3 Forgotten Places (That Aren’t the Pantry) Where You Should Always Decant

published Jul 19, 2023
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Glass jars with assorted pickled products
Credit: Martí Sans / Stocksy

My love affair with decanting began when I moved into my third home. I started using old spaghetti sauce jars to store my dry pantry goods. I removed the labels with my OxiClean method, spray painted the lids, and added chalkboard labels. I poured black beans, split peas, lentils, and popcorn kernels into my repurposed jars and they made me so happy. I loved seeing everything lined up neatly in the pantry, and it was so much easier to access and use than partially full plastic bags wrapped in rubber bands. 

Decanting not only made my pantry look so much better, but it also meant that I could see what I had (and how much I had) so I would actually use it. In addition, it created more room in my pantry because I could stack the jars without sacrificing any functionality.

From there, my obsession grew. I bought sets of OXO POP Containers when they were on sale (Costco for the win), and decanted additional items in my pantry, including rice, cereal, and pasta. I loved that these containers were rectangular, which maximized space, and that the entire system was modular, meaning I could easily get what I needed even when the containers were stacked. 

Eventually, my decanting habit spread from the pantry to other places in the house. Moving items from variously shaped (and often garish) packaging into clear, rectangular, more uniform containers made for an instantly less cluttered, calmer space. Here are some other places in my home where I use the power of decanting to create calm and functional spaces.

1. The Fridge

I’ve recently been taking items like sliced cheese and bags of deli meat out of their packaging and putting them into glass food storage containers instead. I label the containers with their contents and the use-by date. The uniform containers and the ability to stack them has made our fridge significantly more orderly. An unexpected consequence of decanting items that I keep in the fridge is that it’s made more space in the cabinet where I keep the containers, as more of them are getting used. 

2. Under the Kitchen Sink

I also like to decant dishwasher tablets that we keep under the sink. The airtight lid keeps humidity away from the tablets so they don’t stick together, and the clear container allows me to readily see a dwindling supply so I can buy more before running out. (And if you haven’t seen this smart DIY under-the-sink storage hack, you need to check it out.)

3. In the Laundry Room

The laundry room is one of my favorite places to decant. Rather than storing the oddly shaped OxiClean container, the tub of laundry pods, and a giant floppy bag of baking soda (I use baking soda and vinegar to whiten sheets), I put them all in OXO POP containers, including scoops for the powders. By decanting, I can line these products up next to each other, see what I have at a glance, and access them with ease. (If you live with children or other vulnerable groups, the original packaging may be the best way to ensure cleaning items like laundry pods are sealed and out of reach. Otherwise, ensure products are always out of reach and child-proofed if possible. These child safety strap locks are an easy addition to add to any storage container. )

By eliminating packaging that creates visual clutter and often makes storage a challenge, decanting can turn a chaotic space into a practical and serene organized oasis — and it’s not just for the pantry. 

Where else in the home do you decant? Let us know in the comments.