Friday, February 26, 2010

15 February Featured Space: Kitchen - Pantry Must Haves

A long long time ago, in a far away itty bitty town, a girl named Jen was dreaming of an organized pantry space.  And like most, Jen was very excited when her dreams came true.

But it didn't happen overnight.  Nope, it was a process.  But now that the process is complete and the pantry is organized, life couldn't be better for this small town gal.  For her daily routine has gotten easier and streamlined, and that makes for continued happiness day after day.

So, enough about my happiness, and more about another way the pantry has become such an amazing space in the kitchen.

I actually spent a portion of a paycheck on multiple clear food storage bins, quite awhile back now.  That being said, I can say with certainty that the investment was worth the payoff since we acquired the food fresh savers!

Here is a lineup of my favorite pantry food storage options:


We will start with these plastic storage baskets, that I also mentioned here as a handy way to store my snacks.:

I use these fabulous baskets all over my homestead, but they make their appearance a few times in my pantry:


Why IHeart these cheapo plastic baskets:
1.  They are great for holding a whole slew of snacks, so I dedicate one basket for doing just that.
2.  These baskets are perfectly sized to fit two full loafs of bread, side by side, making this the perfect option for a bread box (most bread boxes I find, can only hold one loaf of bread):

3.  They stack!  That's right, the little handles actually flip open to make these babies stack-able, which is great for putting a couple on the floor of the pantry, to hold all that produce (potatoes, onions, garlic, etc...) that should be stored in a cool dry place. 

The next pantry must have is a handy cereal saver:

We actually have two of these puppies, we never just have one box of cereal open at a time.  In fact, we had three of these amazing containers, and recently just lost one due to a cracked lid incident, which we are still grieving over.

Why IHeart the cereal saver:  
1.  It keeps the cereal MUCH fresher than the original packaging does.  Especially when little fingers are involved and they aren't always concerned about getting that plastic bag inside the box, rolled down air-tight.  This is fool proof freshness!
2.  You can always see what's remaining, which is great for a quick peek at pantry inventory before running out the door to the grocery store (a repeating theme to the rest of the clear storage containers being featured below)
3.  There are times when we purchase multiple boxes of cereal due to a sale, however, we will only open two boxes at a time, put them in the containers, and leave the other boxes alone until a container is empty.  We waste far less food this way!

Following the cereal saver, comes a way I store my hot cereal (packets that is):

These Sterilite Clip Lock Lid Containers, are absolutely the right size for all sorts of boxed goods!  I have 4 total, which hold my oatmeal packets, granola bars, hot cocoa packets and microwave popcorn packets:

Why IHeart the clip top containers:
1.  Space Saving!  Yep, this time, these little guys actually save me a ton of space in the pantry, as I can fit the contents of two oatmeal boxes, into one container!  And they stack nice and neat besides!
2.  Still going for that visual inventory thing!  Love that I can always see what's in stock!

Next on the list is this Sterilite Ultra Seal Bin and the Sterilite Ultra Seal Bowl:

 I actually have about 6 of the lovely containers square containers, along with 3 of the bowls, residing within my pantry space:


Why IHeart the Ultra Seal:
1.  Again, freshness is the main purpose.  The square containers are fabulous for storing boxes of crackers, cookies, or small bags of chips.  The bowls couldn't be any more perfect for storing larger bags of chips.  And seriously folks, it may sound gross, but over a month later, the crackers, cookies and chips are all as crisp and fresh as the day they entered the containers.  
2.  Because of the freshness factor, we waste SO much less food.  It's absolutely AMAZING to me how little dry pantry items get thrown out, unlike prior to the investment, when we were throwing out miscellaneous boxes of crackers and chips all the time, because no one was willing to take a bite of ae chip for a staleness test.  ISH!
3.  Same as above: You can always see what's remaining, which is great for a quick peek at pantry inventory before running out the door to the grocery store, ensuring multiples aren't unnecessarily purchased.

Noodles Noodles Noodles!

These 365 clear storage containers from Ikea, come in the perfect size to hold a full box of noodles!  It's pure perfection folks!

Why IHeart these clear containers for noodles:
1.  Hmmm.... Freshness?  Yes please!
2.  Visual Inventory?  Yes please again!
3.  Easy pouring when cooking!  Absolutely!

Catching on to a theme here?

Last on the pantry must have list, is a clear shoe box?!

 Sure is folks!  Plastic shoe boxes are another fantastic storage option throughout the entire homestead, but I have a very groovy circles one, tucked right inside the 'ol pantry, because I was "thinking outside the box"!

Why IHeart shoe box storage in the pantry:
These are so great for coralling smaller items, that don't sit/stack well on a slotted shelf.  For example, I use this one to hold all of the kiddo's snacky puddings, jellos, applesauce and fruit cups, that we steel from daily to make their school lunches. 

And that's all there is to it!  All of these items make organizing any pantry space, and absolute breeze!  And the money you'll save.  It's awesome when those pennies start adding up, because you are throwing less out, or buying less duplicates.  And, when you buy in multiples, they often stack perfectly as well, making more space!  

And of course, no one is bribing me paying me to say any of this!  I am just sharing what is personally working well for me!  A lot of the items pictured above happen to be Sterilite brand, however, that's because my second home is Target and that's what they sell.  I have been extremely happy with the brand however, I also use it for all of my food storage for leftovers in the fridge!

The next post will actually be some full shots of my entire pantry makeover, including before and after pics!  So stay tuned!


  1. Is it wrong that this post makes me want to run to target get supplies, go grocery shopping and then attack my pantry? My poor husband isn't going to know what hit him! haha


    PS: I'm a friend of Erin's and I totally passed your blog on to all my closest unorganized girlfriends!

  2. Great tips. I'll definitely have to revisit this post when the time comes for my pantry organization! :)

  3. Would you ever consider sharing your label template?? I love the multi-colored cuteness!

  4. Awww, thanks gals! I am so happy that you are enjoying and following the blog! Emily, it melts my heart that you are passing it on as well! Much thanks for that!!!

    If you send me a quick email to, I will reply with an Excel attachment that has the label template! :)

    Thanks again!

  5. I just found your blog and love it. I will be following now! Great tips! XO, Pinky

  6. We always have a lot of Ritz Crackers, Saltines, etc....With 6 kids ranging from 10 to 20 yrs in age, my crackers inevitably get half eaten then thrown back in pantry...what's an easy way to store them and keep them fresh longer?? Would you put each in a separate container? Currently, they just still stay in the box! My friend turned me on to your blog recently and I am addicted!! Already working on the Hubs to give me an organizing allowance so I can get to work!! :)

  7. I love the idea of all the clear storage but I am such a direction follower that I have a hard time throwing away the original packaging and all the very specific directions on them! haha

    1. might want to consider cutting out the directions and putting them in the clear container

  8. @Anonymous, I empty all the single packages of Ritz into these containers that I had shown above:


  9. I am obsessed with your blog :) do you have any other suggestions as far as food containers? I am having a hard time finding the ones you listed n your post.

    1. You can find many of the ones I mentioned at Target, but if not, The Container Store has endless options:


  10. I've got to say that your blog is truly awesome! I just moved into a new apartment with my boyfriend, and I finally have the luxury to decorate/organize the way I want to {we had been living with his friend before}! I do have a question...what size are your bread baskets from The Container Store? I may have missed it in your blog, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask!


  11. Know this is a bit of an old post, but I was just wondering which bins you got from the container store for the bread? They have them in three sizes (and I'm awful with measurements), but have been looking for something to tidy away bread in too (currently my family leave half-empty packets strewn about the island as, like you, we've found bread bins are too small for more than one loaf - and we have white bread for toast and granary for sandwiches!). Just want to check before I buy small/medium/large :) Thank you!

    1. Hi Alice!

      We used the medium size. I believe you can also find these baskets at Target. :)


  12. I will be moving into a new (old) house soon with little cupboard space and no pantry. I love these ideas and will be sure to use some of them once I move in.



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