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How to organize your pantry

Posted February 28, 2013


If your pantry looks more like a disaster area than a well-organized home for your groceries, you'll want to read this article written by Geralin Thomas! She is the owner of  Metropolitan Organizing here in Raleigh and has been featured on the show Hoarders as an organizing expert. The article includes organizing advice, a list of pantry staples and her favorite grocery list app.


My thanks to Geralin for sharing her tips with us here on the blog!

How to Organize the Pantry: Done-in-a-Day Organizing Project

By: Geralin Thomas

Are you craving a done-in-a-day organizing project that can be completed in small bites? This post, how to organize the pantry, is going to help you with that particular challenge. Why not organize the pantry and create a list of staples that are appropriate for your lifestyle and your budget, especially if you buy in bulk and own an array of cooking and baking appliances which you store in your pantry.


Tips and Suggestions – How to Organize the Pantry

  • Begin by discarding anything stale, spoiled, or expired. Reminder: dry goods are susceptible to pest infestations and infestations begin with invisible-to-the-eye eggs. Put dry goods in the freezer for 5 days to sterilize them; it’ll kill eggs and bugs.
  • Vacuum and clean the shelves and walls. Wipe the underside of shelves too.
  • Use either glass or sturdy plastic containers with tight fitting lids to hold dry goods such as flour, sugar, pasta, teabags, coffee beans, and cereal. Buy square-shaped containers because they are more efficient space-savers. Look for flat lids since they can be stacked.
  • Group like items together: breakfast items, snacks, baking goods, etc. Then, create groups within groups (for example separate the tuna from the tomatoes and the soup from the beans in the canned goods section.)
  • Label the shelves (condiments, beverages, etc.) as well as the individual containers (baking chips, whole wheat flour, rice)
  • Don’t forget to save room to store your paper products too: napkins, paper towels, lunch bags, foils, wraps, etc.
  • Divide your pantry into zones with separate areas for the ABCs: Appliances, Boxed goods + Baking essentials, Canned goods and Soft packages.
  • Measure the ABCs ingredients in your pantry; know the basic measurements and add a little bit of “grab room” between shelves.

Continue reading the article, including pantry staples list and grocery app, on Geralin's website at MetropolitanOrganizing.com.


Cary, NC based professional organizer, Geralin Thomas CPO-CD®, and the Metropolitan Organizing team specialize in working with chronically disorganized clients in and around the Raleigh area. They help people declutter and organize their time, their stuff and their electronic data in homes and offices. If Geralin looks familiar, perhaps you’ve seen her on the A&E TV show, Hoarders, where she’s been a featured organizing expert on more than 20 shows. For more information visit the Metropolitan Organizing website:  http://www.metropolitanorganizing.com.


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  • doraellie Mar 3, 2013

    I suddenly have a pantry which we added in a dead space in my kitchen - after ten years of being without. My husband put in drawers with fully extendable slides, I was so excited because the cupboards I was using were very high and my storage method was sort of shove and hunt. Enter the new pantry, but how to organize it? Your idea of putting food in order of meal use is brilliant, thank you!!!

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Feb 28, 2013

    That's funny Oxy - we hardly ever use salt on anything but have multiple types of flour.

    Good luck on the pantry remodel! Send us some pictures. Maybe we should start a pantry picture thread. I think we will do that next week!

  • Oxymoron02 Feb 28, 2013

    Good timing! My hubby will be going out of town for a few days in March, and tearing apart the kitchen and stockpile for a clean and reorganize while he's gone has been on my mind for the past few days. Professional tips welcome.

    Pantry staple #8 Flour: White, Wheat, Bread, Self-Rising, Cake, etc.

    Umm, we only keep one, AP. We do, however, maintain not less than 3, and usually more like 5-7 types of salt. Kosher, coarse and fine sea, plain ol' iodized (best for salting pasta water, and on chips if we're lacking pickling salt), himilayan pink, and newly acquired coarse and fine mediterranian sea. Pound for pound, salt out-weighs flour in my house by at least 3 to 1.