Summary

Looking for some great pantry organization ideas? Let Thistle’s culinary team walk you through pantry organization 101 and some suggestions for pantry organization categories. Regardless of your lifestyle or the size of your pantry, you’ll find something here to help make this very important part of your kitchen more organized and enjoyable.

How you organize your pantry depends on your household & lifestyle. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but it’s always good to start with a framework. Thistle’s culinary team already told you about the best pantry staples to always have on hand. Now they’re here to offer inspiration on how to organize it all. These pantry organization ideas will help make your pantry a pleasant and functional space that’s perfect for your household’s needs.

Pantry Organization 101

It’s fun to scroll through pics of the prettiest pantry organization ideas, but without first implementing the fundamentals of pantry organization 101, no amount of pretty will give you the functionality you need. 

A chandelier may bring luxury to a walk-in pantry. Wallpaper-backed shelves may be the perfect detail for a small pantry. Sounds lovely, right? But if you knock over the soy sauce every time you reach for the vinegar and you can never seem to find the baking powder, it’s time to get back to pantry organization basics. Here’s how to do it:

Purge Purge Purge

At least twice a year, take everything out of your pantry, wipe down all the shelves, and pitch whatever’s expired. To figure out whether something is safe to keep, consult a good guide, like this one from Food52. As you take good care of your pantry in this way, don’t miss a chance to also take good care of the earth: for everything you throw out, compost what you can. 

If something is unopened and still perfectly usable but not to your liking, give it to a friend or donate it to a food bank. There may even be a little free pantry in your neighborhood. If not, consider starting one.

FIFO: First In, First Out 

Tired of finding two opened boxes of the same pasta? When unpacking groceries, put the new stuff in the back and move the old stuff to the front. This ensures you’ll use up the items that are closest to expiration before opening up a new package. It’s also a simple way to do your part to combat America’s food waste problem.

It's important to rotate your items in your shelves according to their expiration dates. Don't forget to use labels if you need them!

Stock Up 

If you have the space, stock up on those items you use the most. With a nice stash of all your staple items, takeout will be easier to resist and you’ll spare yourself extra trips to the grocery store. That’s money in the bank.

Keep a List 

Jot down items you’ve used up on a paper list, app on your phone, or small whiteboard near your pantry or cupboard. Then the next time you do a big grocery trip you can restock without forgetting anything.

Minimize Waste

Whenever possible, buy from bulk bins—a staple of natural food stores. It cuts down on wasteful packaging, and, when you decant all those grains, legumes, nuts, and spices into labeled containers that nicely stack and nest, you’ll maximize pantry storage space. Looking to further reduce waste? Skip the plastic storage bags in the bulk section; bring reusable bags or clean empty jars to use instead.

Speaking of empty jars: Save them! Small jars—think jams and condiments—can be reused for spices. Medium and large jars, like those used for pickles and pasta sauce, are great for grains and dry beans. 

Deter Pests

Not the most fun of pantry organization ideas to consider, but it’s an important one: To keep pests like moths at bay, keep all dry goods in air-tight containers. Better to be safe than sorry. 

Try a Capsule Pantry

If you don’t have much pantry space, buy super versatile ingredients that you can get the most mileage out of. Don’t buy five varieties of one item. Instead, pick the type you use the most and keep it in stock. Here are some of our favorite capsule pantry items:

  • Canned tomatoes: buy the larger size (28 oz). Diced or crushed work great for virtually any tomato-based recipe.
  • Vinegar: rice vinegar is a great go-to for anything needing some acidity. It can be used in vinaigrettes, sauces, marinades, and for pickling. 
  • Oil: sunflower oil is neutral-tasting oil great for sautéing, roasting, dressings, sauces, and baking.
Use ingredients that work for you when coming up with your capsule pantry.

Pantry Organization Categories

As for exactly where to put all of your pantry staples, we highly recommend a “like with like” approach. It will make finding ingredients for a recipe OR finding quick inspiration in a pinch a lot easier! You’ll love it.

One variation of a "like with like" approach.

But remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all way to do this. For example, if you never bake but drink a ton of smoothies, ditch the baking section to make room for all your smoothie boosters. Your lifestyle should dictate which pantry organization ideas you decide to implement. We’re just here to help you get started. Categories to consider include:

  • Baking: flours, meals, oats, sugars/sweeteners
  • Dried: grains, pastas, legumes, nuts, seeds
  • Liquids: oils, vinegars, sauces
  • Canned and Jarred Goods: beans, tomatoes, coconut milk, nut butters, curry pastes
  • Snacks & Prepared Food Items: crackers, cereal, dried fruit, granola, energy bars
  • Spices: alphabetized and stored in similar-sized containers
  • Sticky Stuff: to contain any mess, put items like honey, syrup, and molasses on a separate tray
  • Kid-Friendly Shelf: keep items in a basket or bin that’s on their level so they can easily grab something when they need a snack. This helps not only keep little hands out of your other organized areas, but also allows you to curate some healthy choices for your family.

For even more pantry organization ideas and category tips, check out two of our favorite food bloggers’ seasoned advice. Smitten Kitchen has some great advice on how to keep a well-stocked pantry despite having a tiny kitchen. And Minimalist Baker offers lots of tips for beginners, including equipment must-haves.

Now it’s your turn: Give some of our favorite pantry organization ideas a try. You may not get it just right the first try, and your household’s needs may change over time. It’s all good. A pantry in process is better than a totally disorganized one. Start with the first step of pantry organization 101—a purge—and go from there. With our framework of pantry organization ideas, more efficient meal prep, less waste, and pleasant kitchen vibes await you.

Get meals delivered to your door
We believe eating delicious is crucial to a healthy diet. Each week, our team of chefs design a new menu for what's in season, fresh and flavorful.
TRY THISTLE
Posted 
May 15, 2020
 in 
Lifestyle
 category.
Summary

Looking for some great pantry organization ideas? Let Thistle’s culinary team walk you through pantry organization 101 and some suggestions for pantry organization categories. Regardless of your lifestyle or the size of your pantry, you’ll find something here to help make this very important part of your kitchen more organized and enjoyable.

How you organize your pantry depends on your household & lifestyle. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but it’s always good to start with a framework. Thistle’s culinary team already told you about the best pantry staples to always have on hand. Now they’re here to offer inspiration on how to organize it all. These pantry organization ideas will help make your pantry a pleasant and functional space that’s perfect for your household’s needs.

Pantry Organization 101

It’s fun to scroll through pics of the prettiest pantry organization ideas, but without first implementing the fundamentals of pantry organization 101, no amount of pretty will give you the functionality you need. 

A chandelier may bring luxury to a walk-in pantry. Wallpaper-backed shelves may be the perfect detail for a small pantry. Sounds lovely, right? But if you knock over the soy sauce every time you reach for the vinegar and you can never seem to find the baking powder, it’s time to get back to pantry organization basics. Here’s how to do it:

Purge Purge Purge

At least twice a year, take everything out of your pantry, wipe down all the shelves, and pitch whatever’s expired. To figure out whether something is safe to keep, consult a good guide, like this one from Food52. As you take good care of your pantry in this way, don’t miss a chance to also take good care of the earth: for everything you throw out, compost what you can. 

If something is unopened and still perfectly usable but not to your liking, give it to a friend or donate it to a food bank. There may even be a little free pantry in your neighborhood. If not, consider starting one.

FIFO: First In, First Out 

Tired of finding two opened boxes of the same pasta? When unpacking groceries, put the new stuff in the back and move the old stuff to the front. This ensures you’ll use up the items that are closest to expiration before opening up a new package. It’s also a simple way to do your part to combat America’s food waste problem.

It's important to rotate your items in your shelves according to their expiration dates. Don't forget to use labels if you need them!

Stock Up 

If you have the space, stock up on those items you use the most. With a nice stash of all your staple items, takeout will be easier to resist and you’ll spare yourself extra trips to the grocery store. That’s money in the bank.

Keep a List 

Jot down items you’ve used up on a paper list, app on your phone, or small whiteboard near your pantry or cupboard. Then the next time you do a big grocery trip you can restock without forgetting anything.

Minimize Waste

Whenever possible, buy from bulk bins—a staple of natural food stores. It cuts down on wasteful packaging, and, when you decant all those grains, legumes, nuts, and spices into labeled containers that nicely stack and nest, you’ll maximize pantry storage space. Looking to further reduce waste? Skip the plastic storage bags in the bulk section; bring reusable bags or clean empty jars to use instead.

Speaking of empty jars: Save them! Small jars—think jams and condiments—can be reused for spices. Medium and large jars, like those used for pickles and pasta sauce, are great for grains and dry beans. 

Deter Pests

Not the most fun of pantry organization ideas to consider, but it’s an important one: To keep pests like moths at bay, keep all dry goods in air-tight containers. Better to be safe than sorry. 

Try a Capsule Pantry

If you don’t have much pantry space, buy super versatile ingredients that you can get the most mileage out of. Don’t buy five varieties of one item. Instead, pick the type you use the most and keep it in stock. Here are some of our favorite capsule pantry items:

  • Canned tomatoes: buy the larger size (28 oz). Diced or crushed work great for virtually any tomato-based recipe.
  • Vinegar: rice vinegar is a great go-to for anything needing some acidity. It can be used in vinaigrettes, sauces, marinades, and for pickling. 
  • Oil: sunflower oil is neutral-tasting oil great for sautéing, roasting, dressings, sauces, and baking.
Use ingredients that work for you when coming up with your capsule pantry.

Pantry Organization Categories

As for exactly where to put all of your pantry staples, we highly recommend a “like with like” approach. It will make finding ingredients for a recipe OR finding quick inspiration in a pinch a lot easier! You’ll love it.

One variation of a "like with like" approach.

But remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all way to do this. For example, if you never bake but drink a ton of smoothies, ditch the baking section to make room for all your smoothie boosters. Your lifestyle should dictate which pantry organization ideas you decide to implement. We’re just here to help you get started. Categories to consider include:

  • Baking: flours, meals, oats, sugars/sweeteners
  • Dried: grains, pastas, legumes, nuts, seeds
  • Liquids: oils, vinegars, sauces
  • Canned and Jarred Goods: beans, tomatoes, coconut milk, nut butters, curry pastes
  • Snacks & Prepared Food Items: crackers, cereal, dried fruit, granola, energy bars
  • Spices: alphabetized and stored in similar-sized containers
  • Sticky Stuff: to contain any mess, put items like honey, syrup, and molasses on a separate tray
  • Kid-Friendly Shelf: keep items in a basket or bin that’s on their level so they can easily grab something when they need a snack. This helps not only keep little hands out of your other organized areas, but also allows you to curate some healthy choices for your family.

For even more pantry organization ideas and category tips, check out two of our favorite food bloggers’ seasoned advice. Smitten Kitchen has some great advice on how to keep a well-stocked pantry despite having a tiny kitchen. And Minimalist Baker offers lots of tips for beginners, including equipment must-haves.

Now it’s your turn: Give some of our favorite pantry organization ideas a try. You may not get it just right the first try, and your household’s needs may change over time. It’s all good. A pantry in process is better than a totally disorganized one. Start with the first step of pantry organization 101—a purge—and go from there. With our framework of pantry organization ideas, more efficient meal prep, less waste, and pleasant kitchen vibes await you.

Get meals delivered to your door
We believe eating delicious is crucial to a healthy diet. Each week, our team of chefs design a new menu for what's in season, fresh and flavorful.
TRY THISTLE
Posted 
May 15, 2020
 in 
Lifestyle
 category.