How to Organize the Pantry for Under $12

Hello dear blog readers!  Today I’ll be taking on an organizing project.  Let me just say that organizing is not my forte…I prefer to decorate lol!  But, things had really gotten out of hand and I actually enjoyed getting this done! Closed pantry closet door

What’s lurking behind that door?

How to Organize the Pantry

Let me just say, my pantry was a disaster.  I’d tried a couple of times to organize and straighten up, but it always ended up back the same way.  I was tired of getting clobbered on the head by falling mismatched Tupperware.  I hated how everything just got shoved inside when I’d return from grocery shopping. IT. WAS. TIME.  I needed to figure out how to organize the pantry!

disorganized pantry shelves

I started by taking everything out to assess what needed to be done.  Can you believe I filled a trash can with expired and stale food!  My main issue was a lack of storage containers.  Everything was out of control because nothing had a proper home.  I know how pricey containers can be, and I didn’t want to spend a fortune.  So, I rounded up containers I already had from around the house.

empty storage containers used for how to organize the pantry

Now I know things aren’t going to look as “pretty” as they would if I’d used the matching containers from a big box store.  And along those lines, this post is quite a departure from my usual posts about decorating.  It is definitely my most utilitarian post to date!  But I’m also all about getting things done on a budget.  So my goal was to create an organized and decent looking pantry for next to nothing.

I filled my baskets and trays pretty quickly and knew I’d need to buy some more.  A trip to Dollar Tree was in order.  I returned with eleven items to complete my task.

stack of dollar tree containers used for how to organize the pantry

The red stacking bins were for the cans.  I can’t believe how much space these freed up!

how to organize the pantry using dollar tree can storage containers

The trays did a great job of corralling various items.

pantry items organized in a dollar tree container

Chips, popcorn and animal cracker snacks went into the basket.

snacks stored in a dollar tree storage basket

I had four bags and boxes of opened rice, orzo and quinoa…

rice, quinoa and orzo

And I do like the look of dry ingredients in see through containers, so I emptied the contents into the four containers with grey lids.

grains and pasta stored in dollar tree plastic containers

Now, about the Tupperware.  Most of our food storage containers were old, stained and/or had missing lids.  Can anyone relate?

mismatched food storage containers

That’s why I was so thrilled to receive this set at our family’s annual Christmas Eve Yankee Swap.

box of new Rubbermaid food storage containers

It felt very liberating to throw out all of the tired old containers!  I filled the white bin with this new set and felt a sense of glee knowing that each container has a lid.

food storage containers organized in a box

Also located on the top shelf are a box of plastic zip lock bags in various sizes.  Before, these were up there loose and would come crashing down on a frequent basis.  Now, they’re nice and tidy in a box of their own.

zip lock bags organized in a box

I also have a stash of aluminum pans.  I often make meals for friends with new babies or for people from church, so it’s nice to have these on hand.  However, they take up a lot of space.  I put disposable coffee cups, tissues and napkins inside to save precious real estate.

disposable coffee cups and aluminum pans

One thing I really wanted to add to the pantry was a “grab and go” section for my 5 year old daughter.  I stocked one of the containers with her favorite snacks and put it at her level.

snacks organized in a pantry

I’m very happy with my “new” pantry.  It makes me feel like a grown up :).  I know it doesn’t look like something out of a container store catalog, but it’s a big improvement and it didn’t cost much to make such a positive difference.

organized pantry shelves with containers - how to organize the pantry

It felt good to come down this morning for breakfast and swing open the doors to an organized space.  Now I just need to keep it this way!

how to organize the pantry

I hope this post helped you learn how to organize the pantry and inspired you to tackle your own.  You don’t need to spend much to achieve big results!

Until next time!


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  1. Way to reuse and make your space there easier to utilize! It’s ok they are not all matchy matchy- that just gives you the opportunity to upgrade when you find something you super love in the budget OR make a new post about how it was driving you mad so you covered them all with fabric with the help of your faithful glue gun sidekick! 🙂

  2. What a transformation! I have a pantry in desperate need of organization, this is really inspiring. Thank you.

  3. Thanks for sharing all of your creative organization ideas. We are moving into a place that has a much smaller pantry and I need all the help I can get utilizing the space I have. Thank you!

  4. Looks great!! Those tupperwares drive me crazy too LOL! Don’t you love dollar store storage!? I have to make a trip to tackle my pantry too.

  5. you did a great job!!! I love pantry organization. one day I am gonna tackle mine. It feels so hopeless right now.

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