New Year's Resolution - Pantry Organization

It’s 2016! New Year's resolutions are popping up left and right. I’ve attempted them all…gym memberships, detox cleanses, less TV, more reading, hand-written notes – the list goes on. However, there is one resolution that I wholeheartedly stand behind. Kitchen organization. Or more accurately, pantry organization.

What started as a project is now a part of everyday life. (I’m pretty sure that’s how resolutions are supposed to go.) How can you do it and more importantly, why should you stick to it? Three reasons:


  1. Saves Time

In the upfront in may take some time to transfer foods and ingredients into storage containers (I use these), but on any given day, being able to see what I have I on hand makes me more efficient at prepping, cooking, cleaning up, and it even saves me time at the market. I no longer need to empty out (and put back) an entire cabinet to find a mostly used up McCormick’s container of mustard seed. I don’t spend time at the store shopping for items that I have at home, but didn’t realize. And since everything has it’s own container (with a sealed lid!) I don’t fidget with packaging while trying to measure out the amount I need. I use containers for nuts, dried fruit and granola as well, so I can grab a quick (healthy-ish) snack when I need to.

  1. Saves Money

As I mentioned, I can easily glance through and see what I have and roughly how much, so I don’t end up buying extra ‘just in case’ ingredients. In the sealed containers contents stay fresher longer than in their own packaging (in my experience). The containers are also great to keep out the humidity (east coast summers – not great for your hair or your sugar bowl). By labeling the containers myself, I’m also able to add purchase dates and make sure everything I need is fresh and usable, which saves me from tossing perfectly good ingredients because I can’t remember when I bought them. I have three kids, short-term memory is not my thing.

  1. Turns You Into A TV Chef
Well, not really but with ingredients easily accessible and a pretty good idea of what’s in the pantry, I tend to use different combinations of spices, or change up a recipe by adding or switching out ingredients on a whim. Having everything at my figurative fingertips makes me feel like I have my own cooking show, ”Tarragon – just let me grab it. Almond flour, oh it’s right here." And you know what? It looks good. It’s nice to open a cabinet and not see a leaning tower of spices or a film of flour on everything. Now I’m not terribly embarrassed if a guest takes a peek while pretending to get a glass of water from the kitchen.


I use our clear plastic containers to store everything. They all use the same size lid, so they stack easily. The 8oz size is good for things like sesame seeds and pine nuts and the 16oz and 32oz containers work well for storing peppercorns, cashews, almonds, sugar, flours…you get the idea. For certain spices and smaller amounts I use small, squat mason jars.

I label the side of each container and stack them with frequently used ingredients up front. You can organize however makes sense to you…product type or even alphabetically, if that’s your thing. I label the lid of my mason jars and line them up in a shallow drawer.

Do you have pantry or kitchen organization tips for us? (Or even photos.) We’d love to know how you make the most of your kitchen.

Amanda Hesser, co-founder of Food52, shared her tips for a clean, organized pantry back in August. It’s inspiring - and the perfectly stocked, labeled, and organized pantries are swoon worthy – check out her blog post and photos below.


Happy New Year and Happy Organizing!




 photo courtesy Amanda Hesser, Food52

photo Amanda Hesser, Food52


photo courtesy Amanda Hesser, Food52

photo Amanda Hesser, Food52


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I have stopped using plastic to store food in due to the health hazards of some plastic containers. Do you know if yours are safe?

Lorraine Hart

I am looking for your actual snail mail address as I need to send something there from my employer.Thanks. How do you get the contianers?

Grace Ann Wilson

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