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When we took on our pantry last year, I needed a lot of help! We went from this:

5 Pantry Organizing Mistakes I Didn't Realize I Was Making To this! 5 Pantry Organizing Mistakes I Didn't Realize I Was Making It was an amazing difference, and I was completely in heaven for months. I shared my Pantry Reveal, as well as 10 Tips about organizing it (which I’ve now retracted some of in this very post!) As I’m sure you can predict, with two small children it didn’t stay this pristine. Here is my pantry a few months ago (a year after the reveal):

5 Pantry Organizing Mistakes I Didn't Realize I Was Making

Not horrible, I suppose, but certainly not as neat as I would like. So I began to evaluate what wasn’t working for us. As follows are the five pantry organizing mistakes I didn’t realize I was making…

1.) Storing Non-Pantry Items in the Pantry

5 Pantry Organizing Mistakes I Didn't Realize I Was Making

5 Pantry Organizing Mistakes I Didn't Realize I Was Making

This was never intended to be more than a temporary solution in the first place, until we move the media components to the family room. It seemed great in theory, but the reality of having the DVDs within the boys’ reach is a nightmare. Quite honestly, we rely more on our internet capable DVD player and instant video services- the physical DVDs are becoming a thing of the past in our household. I have moved them out of the pantry and I’m getting ready to put them in sleeves in a media binder instead. What I put here instead:

5 Pantry Organizing Mistakes I Didn't Realize I Was Making

Somehow I seem to accumulate a crazy number of small appliances. This large pull-out drawer is better equipped to handle their awkward dimensions than the kitchen cabinets. It’s not necessarily pretty, but it’s functional until the media components can move to the living room!


2.) Storing Fruit in the Pantry

5 Pantry Organizing Mistakes I Didn't Realize I Was Making If you go through fruit very quickly, this may not apply to you. In our case, it takes us a little while, and in the warm, dark pantry rot happens more quickly. This was a simple enough solution- we just moved the fruit back to a counter fruit bowl, and also to the refrigerator. We don’t seem to have the same issues with bread, but I’m often making sandwiches for lunches, so the turnover happens more quickly. What I put here Instead:

5 Pantry Organizing Mistakes I Didn't Realize I Was Making

As my boys grow older, they are consuming more and more food. One shelf and one basket were not enough! So the snacks are overtaking this basket very comfortably.

3.) Having Permanent Labels on Snack Containers

5 Pantry Organizing Mistakes I Didn't Realize I Was Making I never anticipated that this would be an issue, for some crazy reason. But kids change their minds about what they like to eat- and often!

5 Pantry Organizing Mistakes I Didn't Realize I Was Making

I switched out my printable labels for the Martha Stewart for Avery Chalk Labels. Now I can label them in chalk pen and simply wipe them off if something changes!

4. Ignoring Valuable Real Estate

5 Pantry Organizing Mistakes I Didn't Realize I Was Making

  When we inset the top of the pantry to make the shelves easier to reach, I was completely okay with sacrificing the space. I’m not sure why it took so long to realize I didn’t have to! When canned food storage began to overflow into the other areas, it finally occurred to me that I had two blank doors.

5 Pantry Organizing Mistakes I Didn't Realize I Was Making

So I went ahead and bought two inexpensive can/jar holders. This is one of the best pantry storage tricks out there, and I even implemented it in our former home. It opened up so much space in the drawers, I don’t know why I didn’t think of it to begin with!

5. Not Keeping a Pantry Inventory

5 Pantry Organizing Mistakes I Didn't Realize I Was Making

This always seemed fussy to me, until I actually tried it. Along with my free printable menu planner, this has made meal planning extremely easy and actually helped me save money in our weekly grocery budget. I no longer need to try to remember every little thing we have, and I don’t end up with unnecessary duplicates. Get your free printable pantry inventory here!

5 Pantry Organizing Mistakes I Didn't Realize I Was Making

After our simple changes, this is the pantry now! It may not be a huge difference, but the plot of the story is making it work as time goes on and adapting when needs change. Even when you think an organizing project is done, chances are it isn’t going to be perfect forever – everything requires maintenance! Have you ever completed an organizing project, only to find that you were making changes shortly after? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! You can also see a post answering some of the most frequently asked questions about the pantry here!

I made some simple changes to my new pantry to have even more storage. Here are the 5 pantry organizing mistakes I didn't know I was making!


Hi Nina. I love your post! Pantries are a never ending battle at our house. I learned the hard way 2 houses ago when the corn syrup leaked down the back wall of the upper cabinet between the wall and the cabinet. It dripped down the back-splash below the cabinet for years (especially on warm days). Now I insist on storing sticky liquids, in their original bottles, inside a plastic container. Never had a problem since. Experience is the best teacher. ;)

I line up my canned goods by content color. This means I can tell at a glance if I’m low on tomatoes or tomato sauce, green beans, corn, pineapple, etc. I’ve used this system for years and it really works for me. No inventory tracking required.

Very smart system Julie!

Where did you get the wooden drawers? Thanks!

Hi Andrea, They were a DIY build :) Plans coming soon (finally)!

[…] to learn the 5 pantry organizing mistakes you are probably making? Then head on over to ‘Everyday Enchanting’ and find out how to […]

[…] the pantry in the spring of 2013, the pantry still ruled in 2014- both the initial reveal and the recap of the organizing mistakes that I corrected a year later! It was the very first DIY project we completed in this house and continues to be a very popular […]

Karen @ Dogs Don't Eat Pizza

Fabulous! Where did you find the baskets and bins? Thanks for sharing – great tips!

Hi! I was wondering if you oils post the dimensions of your pantry and shelves? I just love this!


We have redone our pantry as well and these are GREAT tips! Looks like it’s time for a re-evaluation of our pantry! :)

Very perceptive post pantry post. We have a new pantry and I can see exactly what you mean in each instance. My biggest nemesis: the plastic containers which I don’t like to use but husband protects like gold. Thanks for the advice. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music

Hi I was wondering where you found the clear plastic snack containers? I have something similar for cereal, but I Iove that size.

Hi Amber! They are Oxo Pop Top Containers. I bought them at Target, but they are also available on Amazon :)

Midweek Reads #17 | Goedeker's Home Life

[…] 5 Pantry Organizing Mistakes You Don't Want to Make – along with alternative ideas! […]

I absolutely love your pantry…Love it!!!!! You got my wheels turning :-)

[…] shopping is actually my biggest budget buster, believe it or not. My free printable pantry inventory helps me keep track of what I have, so I don’t buy […]

Where did you find the canned food racks on the doors? We have been looking everywhere, but we just can’t find them. Your pantry looks amazing, like I could live in there.

Hi Nikki!

We found them at Lowes- I can’t remember the brand, but they were with the cabinet organizers and etc.

Your pantry shelves are nicely organized to being with; love it! Thanks for the tips of what not to do too. I had to pin to keep for later as we want to build a nice pantry like this soon too. Have a nice weekend.

Oops! These mistakes I am guilty of all. Great tips and love the way you replaced with chalk labels.

Pinning it!

Honestly, I’m doing it all the time. It seems like it is not so hard getting the overall concept right – but it’s always the teeensiest details that make the result perfect. For me it is really the same things for most projects you tackle in any domain: 80% of the perfect solution take up 20% of the time, but the tweaking to make it to 100% perfect… :)
But isn’t it great to know close to perfect you can get with that first leap? A great solace to me :)

I really enjoyed this post, and I really appreciate you how showed the the “middle” post of what the used pantry looked like I can’t image ever using the pantry inventory…but I like your other tips so much I just might give it a try! :-)

Wow, what a gorgeous pantry! I didn’t see your original post, but I’m thrilled to get these tips after you’ve lived with it awhile! Thanks so much for sharing, it was really helpful as we are building a new home right now!

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