Welcome to Spring Clean Your Life, your one-stop shop for gotta-try-those tips & bookmark-me inspiration to spruce up your kitchen and home this season—and well beyond.
For some people—those who might self-describe as Type A, OCD-ish, or neat freaks—a well-organized pantry is a thing of beauty. For others—those with small apartments or limited storage space, a tendency toward clutter, or calendars scheduled in 5-minute increments—a well-organized pantry is a necessity. Wherever you might fall on the spectrum, the reality is that neatly lined shelves of glass jars individually labeled and all facing forward often falls under the shorthand category of #goals: projects to undertake when there’s more time or more money, or when your friend who’s really good at straightening up can come over and just do it for you.
It’s this kind of I’ll-do-it-later thinking that causes a box of orzo to come tumbling out of the cabinet when you go to reach for the vinegar, or has you buying lentils only to discover that you already had three bags of lentils hiding way back on the shelf. But it doesn’t have to be like this! There are so many simple ways to transform your pantry and so many delicious ways to cook those lentils—and you can do it all tonight.
Inspired by the #pantrygoals of Instagram, here are 20 photos to achieve the pantry of your dreams.
Use jars of the same size to make everything looks ‘grammably perfect.
Use jars of various sizes so you can see what’s hiding in the back.
Step one: Hire a cute dachshund assistant.
Those neatly lined jars on the shelf? They actually serve a purpose (besides inspiring pantry envy). Getting bulk items out of their packaging and into containers not only makes your pantry easier to organize, but it also makes it easier to see what you actually have—glass jars are great for decanting, as you can see through them. Because reaching into a bag of flour only to find you’re all out is a terrible way to make pancakes.
Unless your superpower is the ability to tell the difference between cornstarch and confectioners’ sugar just by looking, you've got to label your jars. For ingredients you like to stay stocked in all the time (things like rice, sugar, and all-purpose flour), a label maker is a handy tool for tagging your containers. For ingredients you’re just trying out (things like maca powder, ashwagandha, and reishi...can you tell I’ve been experimenting with Moon Juice?), a piece of tape with the ingredient name written on it will do just fine. Or you can go the extra step and paint chalkboard labels on your jars, which you can write over when you decide that maybe ashwagandha isn’t for you. Bonus points for including the date on which you purchased the ingredients, so you know how fresh they are.
Whether your pantry is the size of a child’s nursery or the size of a milk crate, there are inevitably items you reach for on a daily basis. So why not create a mini pantry for those daily MVPs (that’s Most Valuable Pantryitems)? Keeping tea and honey next to the mugs is a simple way to make the mornings go a little faster and add a dynamic element to your cupboard.
Everyone knows that the first rule of pantry organization is to keep like-minded ingredients together: vinegars next to vinegars, dried beans along with dried beans. This type of organization can be done by designating specific shelves for various types of ingredients (labeled or not), or by using baskets to group ingredients together—which makes quite a pretty and organized picture.
But what about recipe-specific categories, like "Chocolate Chip Cookies" or “Tuesday Night Chili"? Put everything you need for your go-to recipes in a basket, then pull it out when you’re ready to cook...like a meal kit you made yourself.
Have you ever really looked at how pretty the ingredients in your pantry are? Those tiny pearls of Israeli couscous, the deep red of ground Aleppo pepper, the varied mottling of Jacob’s Cattle beans, the muted green of cardamom pods, the sparkly crystals of large-flake sea salt...they’re like mini works of art. So why not show them off? Whether you need to expand your limited pantry space or are looking to decorate differently, your beautiful ingredients will add color and texture. Just be sure to give them a dedicated space, like a floating shelf or a standalone open cabinet, where it’s clear that they’re curated, not clutter.
Don't be afraid to inject some color and fun themes into your pantries—you're giving it a personality!
What good is a beautiful pantry if you can’t enjoy it? To remind yourself how much you love your decanted, glass-jarred, neatly labeled, basketed-up, glorious pantry, it’s best to do a Mandy Moore: Walk into your space, gasp, shriek “Oh my god!” and tell everyone around you to shut up, then fall on the floor in a fit of joy. (Hello, Champagne shelf!) Do this once a day to remind yourself how wonderful you—and your shiny new pantry—really are.
Which pantry was your favorite? Tell us below!