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Pantry canisters

Planning and shopping for organizing products can be overwhelming if you're wanting to DIY your pantry project. Let me give you a place to start!

When I consult with clients about their pantry, we go over a list of pantry items that could possibly be decanted. Some people want air-tight canisters for almost everything; others want most of their items stored in their original packaging, inside of bins. So you'll want to first decide which items you'll want to decant, and what items in your pantry you'll keep in bins. Here is a picture of the form I use to help us get started:

Use the list to decide what you do want an air-tight container for, and cross out the items that don't apply. From there, think about how much you typically keep on hand in your pantry. If necessary, look at the packaging from the store to figure out how many liters or cups the box or bag holds. Make a note of those quantities, so that you can pick out an appropriate size container when you're ready to shop.

I've used the 'FLIP-TITE' line from Better Homes and Gardens (found at Walmart) in my pantry. I like the different sizes available, and the prices can't be beat. The only problem I've run into with these containers - is that you can't buy all sizes online. I've driven around to several different Walmart stores to gather everything I need for clients' pantries. You might have to do the same for your own pantry if you go with this brand.

Please excuse the poor quality of my pictures - but they should help to explain how I went about planning for my own pantry...

As you can see, there are several items from the list that I did not decant. For example, I didn't buy any canisters for pasta. I don't make a lot of pasta - and when I do, I usually cook the whole box at once. It made more sense for me create a bin for all pasta and grains that I don't usually keep on hand, but that need a home in my pantry for when I do buy them.

When shopping for your containers, something you'll want to keep in mind - is how you use each item that will go inside. For example, do you pour or scoop? I always scoop when I'm measuring flour and sugar - so I wanted a container with a wide opening at the top. The large containers at the top of my picture, holding my flours and sugars are GREAT for scooping. They hold 23 cups! A measuring cup can easily fit inside without making a mess. This was especially important to me when it came to buying a container for powdered sugar. I don't really need to keep 23 cups on hand, but the opening at the top is what sold me on that size for holding powdered sugar (since it can be messy)!

As you can see in the picture above, I happen to have a perfect amount of each size container for my baking items. This was not an accident! After making my list of what I wanted and what size containers would be needed for each, I bought my containers AND several extras in each size. I brought the containers home, and before doing anything else - I put a sticky note on each container, specifying what would go inside. I played around with the arrangement of the containers on my shelves until I was satisfied with the form and function. For some ingredients, I changed from the size container I had planned for, in order to get just the right amount of each size. There were also some items (like kosher salt) that I had planned to keep in a bin - but decided to decant in order to fill an empty space. (Sidenote: I also have a "baking" bin in my pantry that holds even more ingredients for baking - like cocoa, baking powder, crisco etc. - it's ok to decant some items from a category, but not others.)

This picture shows how I store the snacks in my pantry. Things that come in boxes or bags - like goldfish crackers and pistachios, were decanted into air-tight containers. Other snacks that are individually wrapped - go into bins. I also created a "salty" bin, a "sweet" bin, and a few "refill" bins to hold even more snacks - as if this isn't enough for my family! Hopefully this picture better explains the line on my form that says "snacks that aren't individually wrapped". I don't always buy the same snacks, so I didn't label any of the containers. If we get tired of the pretzel sticks, I won't buy them again and we'll replace them with Oreo cookies when they're gone! haha

[P.S. I found the scoops at Hobby Lobby. They came in a pack of 4, each one a different size. I like knowing my kids can use a scoop when snacking, instead of their hands that might not always be clean!]

A few days ago, we transformed a pantry for someone who throws a lot of parties. She keeps large quantities of party-type items which included sprinkles. I decided I want a canister of sprinkles in my own pantry now, just because it's so cute! That's why I added it as a miscellaneous item on the form :)


I hope that form makes more sense to you now, and I hope it will come in handy when you're ready to get your own pantry organized! Use it to make notes of how many containers to buy and what sizes you need. Remember to purchase extra and then return what you don't end up using. You'll thank me later!

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