Organizing the Pantry

Heather Bullard | Pantry

Spring cleaning is in full force over here. What began in the bathroom with tossing out long forgotten shampoo bottles and jars of expired aspirin has now moved on to the kitchen. Since the task felt a bit overwhelming I decided to break it up into blocks of time. The refrigerator was first to get a makeover and itย gave me enough satisfaction to muster on with the rest. My list still includes sorting through the coffee accoutrements (located in the cabinet below the coffee station), adding liners the cookware drawers, and cleaning out the spice drawer – but over the weekend I tackled organizing the walk-in pantry. Here’s what I did to accomplish the project…

Heather Bullard | Pantry

1. Put on Some Dancing Music

This should be self explanatory but trust me – it will help get the job done. I had Spotify’s popular Bill Withers playlist on shuffle repeat all day. Sets the mood for happy work!

2. Take Inventory

Pull everything off one shelf and pile it on your kitchen counter or table. Check expiration dates and dispose of anything that has gone rancid. Sort items by type; baking, legumes, snacks, cereals, paper goods, etc. Then move on to your next shelf. Do this until every item has been sorted through and your kitchen looks a disaster.

Heather Bullard | Pantry

3. Make a Shopping List

Now that you know what you have you’ll also know what you need. Make 2 lists. The first one is for food that needs to be restocked or purchased. The second is for containers to hold those items. You don’t necessarily have to shop for containers – go on “walk about” through your house and see if you might already have something that will work. I did a combination of both.

4. Clean the Empty Pantry

Wipe down the shelves, sweep the floor, clean the baseboards, and touch up paint or markings where needed. I also waxed our salvaged wood shelves to keep them protected from spills and such.

Heather Bullard | Pantry

5. Create Sections

In essence, like items with like. This will help you find things easier and streamline future maintenance. I organize by type of food; legumes, nuts, baking items, salts & spices, snack foods, breakfast items and grab-n-go.

6. Keep Favorites Within Reach

If you make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day keep those items grouped together near the front. Like your oatmeal piled high with nuts, raisins or cranberries? Have them assembled in a basket for easy access. The idea is to make it work for your lifestyle and how you cook.

Heather Bullard | Pantry

7. Hide the Unsightly

I keep seldom used items – waffle makers, George Foreman grill, my husbands pocket sandwich maker and his giant pancake batter dispenser in large baskets that slide under the bottom shelf. Larger appliances like our rice cooker, stock pots and slow cooker are stored on the highest shelf. We also have our microwave tucked in the left corner as you open the door.

Here are a few links for items I used in our pantry:

The salvaged scaffolding plank shelves and steel brackets were custom made by my husband. The two lower shelves are counter depth and height and the uppers are set back and more narrow to accommodate for smaller canned goods, cookbooks, and storage jars.

Have you been spring cleaning? What are your favorite pantry organizing tips?

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42 Comments

  • Ei Con

    How do you keep track of expiration dates once your stuffs in the lovely jars? Do you ever add more stuff to an existing jar that has a different/newer expiration date. The look is lovely but the logistics confuse me.

    March 22, 2017 at 1:41 pm Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Items with expiration dates are written on masking tape and attached to the bottom of the jar. No, I don’t add new on top of old. I always replenish jars with fresh stock. We are a small family and I only buy in quantities we can consume without having too much waste. This system has worked well for us for years. ๐Ÿ™‚

      March 22, 2017 at 1:51 pm Reply
      • Tricia Rose

        I’ll need to improve my handwriting.

        March 24, 2017 at 1:37 pm Reply
  • Donna

    I keep my Kitchen Aid mixer, food processor, blender and heavier appliances on a middle shelf waist high so I can slide them off and carry easily. I cover them all with quilted cotton covers to make them more attractive and keep dust free.

    March 22, 2017 at 2:02 pm Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Genius! Love that you disguise them! ๐Ÿ™‚

      March 22, 2017 at 2:15 pm Reply
  • amy

    Heather – I am such a fan. Your home is so beautifully designed – thanks very much for sharing it with us. ๐Ÿ™‚

    March 22, 2017 at 2:02 pm Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Amy, thank you for taking the time to stop by and leave such a warm compliment. Wishing you a happy Spring! ๐Ÿ™‚

      March 22, 2017 at 2:18 pm Reply
  • Rhonda

    Inspiration and then some…I’ve never seen a more beautiful pantry! I know what I’m doing this weekend.

    March 22, 2017 at 3:48 pm Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Let me know what playlist you use to help get you through the chore. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Have fun spring cleaning!

      March 22, 2017 at 3:52 pm Reply
  • Garden, Home and Party

    I listen to audible books while cleaning and organizing. I’m getting ready to move so spring cleaning is huge, as is paring down. It feels so good. I love some of your storage ideas and plan to adopt them wherever we land once we sell our home.
    Thanks for such great ideas for a organizing pantry.
    xo,
    Karen

    March 22, 2017 at 7:28 pm Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Just within the last month I started listening to podcasts while driving. I’ll have to try audio books next!
      Spring and moving…quite the combination! I’m with you on the paring down. It feels good doesn’t it?

      March 22, 2017 at 7:46 pm Reply
      • Carmella

        Ooo! Listen to A Man Called Ove on audio. Warning: tears may be involved at the end.

        March 23, 2017 at 9:06 am Reply
        • Heather Bullard

          I read the book and loved the family that embraced him despite his being a curmudgeon. Very sweet story.

          March 23, 2017 at 9:24 am Reply
  • Cindy in Oklahoma

    Love your containers and the date labeling tip! I confess my favorite room in our house is our pantry which is located in my second favorite room – the kitchen. I love to get in there and piddle, but I try to wait until everyone is gone because if they saw the actual process of my obsessive compulsive organizing and rearranging behavior their teasing would never end.

    March 22, 2017 at 7:42 pm Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Wish you lived next door! I’d invite you over for coffee as a ruse just to get you to rearrange my cupboards! Haha! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      March 22, 2017 at 7:48 pm Reply
  • Cindy Gardner

    Thank you for such an inspirational and timely post! There is nothing more beautiful than a well organized pantry such as yours. Deep cleaning my pantry just went to the top of my to do list! And buying more jars!
    Cindy

    March 22, 2017 at 10:00 pm Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      It feels great once you accomplish the task! Getting motivated takes longer than the project. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Have fun with your deep cleaning and Happy Spring!

      March 23, 2017 at 7:26 am Reply
  • Heather

    What do you do with canned goods? They are always the hardest to make look pretty with all their primary colors and such. Any genius ideas? I tried putting them in baskets but then they’re heavy and hard to pull out you see what I have. I added a pantry when we renovated and it has a door I can close but I’d love to like how it looks even when the door is open!

    March 23, 2017 at 6:22 pm Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      We actually keep very few canned goods on hand. Just San Marzano tomatoes, various beans, and a couple jars of marinara. They’re stacked on shelves above the microwave in the corner. I’ve seen wire racks that hold them nicely and you could always try wood crates instead of baskets for the heavier items. ๐Ÿ™‚

      March 23, 2017 at 7:27 pm Reply
  • Pam Harris

    I absolutely love everything about this!! We’re supposed to get some rain this weekend, you’ve inspired me to get cleaning!! ????

    March 24, 2017 at 7:09 am Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Perfect rainy weather task! Happy Spring!

      March 24, 2017 at 7:46 am Reply
  • Teresa

    Love everything about your pantry…especially using glass jars etc. I need to get mine under control. Wish I had your eye ???? have a wonderful day.

    March 29, 2017 at 9:38 am Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Thanks, Teresa! I know for a fact you have amazing style and taste! I’d love to see your pantry…and entire home! ๐Ÿ™‚

      March 31, 2017 at 9:38 am Reply
  • Libby

    Heather… Will you pleeease come and organize my pantry!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Your styling (even in the pantry) is absolutely beautiful!!! I have wanted to organize my pantry, but I get stuck and overwhelmed with “how?” You have given me the inspiration and the visual that I have needed. I am sorry that I may need to be a little bit of a copy-cat. ๐Ÿ˜‰ You are always AMAZING!!!
    THANK YOU for ALL of your incredible TALENT that you so very GENEROUSLY share with us!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    March 30, 2017 at 9:47 pm Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Awe, thanks Libby! You can do it! Feel free to copy away. That’s the whole idea of sharing…to help inspire and encourage each other. Be sure to put on some great music to help get the job done! ๐Ÿ™‚

      March 31, 2017 at 9:40 am Reply
  • Cynthia

    Hi Heather, You are officially my new design crush! I love everything about your light, airy, organic-raw-looking style. I love you even more now that I realize you are an organizing kindred spirit. I send you all my best in orderly bliss (from Toronto).

    April 8, 2017 at 2:35 pm Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Goodness, thanks so much Cynthia! ๐Ÿ™‚

      June 23, 2017 at 7:47 am Reply
  • Mary

    LOVE the pantry door…where did you find it? Please do tell! (love your blog also – one of my fav’s!)

    April 11, 2017 at 9:01 am Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      The door was custom made. It’s basically a Shaker style with white laminate glass. You should be able to order one from a local door/window company.

      June 23, 2017 at 7:47 am Reply
  • Heather Green

    I remember buying some vintage French ephemera from your booth at Farm Chicks several years ago. Longtime fan! I’ve looked and looked but cannot find a comment where you shared the paint color of your cabinets. I’m in process of designing a kitchen and would be interested in using the same color. Thanks!

    April 17, 2017 at 4:59 pm Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Ah, The Farm Chicks was a blast! The cabinet paint was a custom mix but is basically a pure white without any blue or yellow undertones. Wish I had just used standard paint colors as I’m asked quite frequently and wish I could be of more help! ๐Ÿ™‚

      June 23, 2017 at 7:49 am Reply
  • Raya

    I love the shelves and all the jars. I am obsessed with an organized pantry, and decanting all my dry goods! Check out my pantry at my feed cardamom_and_coffee. Let me know your thoughts!

    April 19, 2017 at 5:55 pm Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Love, love, love decanting! Will have to check your feed!

      June 23, 2017 at 7:50 am Reply
  • gabrielle mader

    Your pantry is gorgeous….I wish I had a pantry I have a closet….but I make due!

    May 11, 2017 at 8:19 am Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Our last house had the tiniest pantry so I can relate. On the plus side, it’s easier to keep clean! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      June 23, 2017 at 7:51 am Reply
  • january

    One more question re the backsplash carrara tiles. Did you buy them locally? I’m trying to find similar carrara tiles but the ones I have found in my area all look so much darker.

    May 18, 2017 at 8:07 am Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Backsplash tiles are from Floor & Decor. They are 4×12 polished Carrara. You may have to wait for fresh stock as the marble color will vary from quarry to quarry.

      June 23, 2017 at 7:52 am Reply
  • Megan

    I just moved so am trying to start out on the right foot with organization. Finding the right containers and tools is half the fun. I was able to locate similar galvanized tiered stands yesterday at Walmart https://www.walmart.com/ip/Better-Homes-and-Gardens-2-Tier-Rectangular-Serve/55149822

    May 19, 2017 at 6:30 am Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Thanks for the link! Was sad to see Target stopped carrying them.

      June 23, 2017 at 7:53 am Reply
  • Crystal matin

    Love this organization. What do you use for your spice jars Heather?

    May 27, 2017 at 12:13 pm Reply
    • Heather Bullard

      Spices are kept in a drawer. I’ll be sure to share it in a later post!

      June 23, 2017 at 7:54 am Reply
  • Jules Galli

    I love your kitchen layout and pantry. We are just building and I am using your layout as inspo. Can you advise the size of your pantry by chance?

    Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

    October 3, 2017 at 11:50 am Reply
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