A well-organized pantry is about far more than just aesthetics: it can actually change our home management tasks by keeping us organized, on-budget, and efficient in our approach to meal planning and preparation.

For the past year, I didn’t realize just how much digging through half-opened bags of chips and stale animal crackers stressed me out on a daily basis. I dropped about 57 items a day, which annoyed me, and because our products were so disorganized and thrown pell-mell into various baskets, we never knew what we had and what we lacked. As a result, we would inevitably end up with 15 different jars of marinara, yet would forget to pick up the black beans we actually needed for that night’s dinner.

Recently, I resolved to take on my pantry once and for all. Admittedly, though, I was unwilling to invest the time and money into an Instagram-worthy edit. Not to mention, so many of the home organization blogs I follow simply do things differently than we do. We don’t keep produce in our pantry, for instance, while some of the people I follow opt to keep apples, bananas, bell peppers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and other shelf-stable items in clear containers within easy reach. So following an organization blogger’s step-by-step guide wasn’t going to work for us. I needed to figure out a system that worked for our daily patterns, our dietary needs, and our frequently-used items.

Once we figured out what type of organizational scheme we needed based on the items we regularly have and keep, we planned our organization around that scheme. Here are the steps we used to organize our pantry, which you can adapt to suit your needs as you approach your own organization adventure, whether you have a walk-in pantry, a closet, or a couple of food cupboards.

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