How to Clean Out and Organize the Pantry

I’m sure you will be relieved to know that the Pantry Clean Out Project went swimmingly. (You were worried, weren’t you?)

Of course, cleaning out the pantry only alerted me to the other areas of my kitchen that need attention. I went to move something from the pantry to another cupboard and discovered that needed organizing too. You know what they say. When you give a mouse a cookie . . .

At any rate. I started a list for the next 29 days of this Organizational Challenge. At least it won’t be difficult to find projects.

Here is another Before picture. I actually went to Trader Joe’s this morning, so I unloaded those bags as well as the bag that had been sitting on the floor earlier today.

What a mess!

So I took EVERYTHING out.

Okay, well. ALMOST everything.

I did actually remove everything from the floor, sweep, put the bags into one big bag to recycle, and neaten up my jars.

The rest of the jars, I put in a bag to be put up in the attic in case I ever decide to can apple butter or strawberry jam. I didn’t need them all cluttering up the pantry. The ones I saved are for chicken stock, which I make weekly.

Next I wiped down all the shelves. Eventually I want my husband to replace the wire shelves with melamine, like the short ones that he added in between. It could also use a good paint job. But for now, I just wiped them down and started putting everything back in.

I was planning to put some things in other areas of the kitchen, like the blender and the le Creuset pot and the two French Press coffee makers. But once everything was reorganized, I discovered room for them in the pantry. Since the rest of my cupboards are in desperate need of an overhaul, I didn’t want to make matters worse by adding stuff to them. Maybe once I get through the whole kitchen, I’ll reorganize a bit.  But for now . . .


The baskets at the bottom, by the way, are for potatoes and onions and veggies that don’t need refrigeration. Clearly I’m overdue for a trip to the market.

Tomorrow, for this 30-Day Cut the Clutter Challenge, I plan to tackle the junk drawers. Thanks again, Amy, for the inspiration!


  1. julie/just precious says

    Big asked “hey, is that ours? because it looks like ours.” Doesn’t it feel great?

  2. says

    It looks awesome! Isn’t that the best feeling now? I’ve been staring at my pantry longer than usual since I did it. I know it won’t last but it’s nice to enjoy for a bit before it clutters up again.

    My junk drawers are horrible. I’d be too scared to open them to even see how bad they really are haha

  3. says

    I sooooo need to do this! I was just looking at my pantry saying the same thing..What a Mess! I am in the lookout for new containers for flour, rice, pasta etc.. most are so expensive, any suggestions as to where I can get some for under $10 a piece?

  4. says

    It looks fantastic! I’m working on a countdown to spring declutter challenge of my own on my blog. I’m so glad you found some inspiration to declutter from Amy. And thanks for “introducing me” to her blog!

  5. says

    I’m just amazed at how little you have in your pantry with a big family! Is it because everything you eat is fresh? Do you keep some items on the counter, like baking needs?

  6. says

    OH, AWESOME!! You did such a great job! I love that I issue the challenge and you are currently kicking my butt in it 😉 Your pantry looks amazing and I can’t wait to see what other projects you crank out. Way to go, Jo-Lynne!!!

  7. says

    What a great idea about the baskets for potatoes and onions. I am constantly moving them around in my pantry from shelf to shelf. Never thought about adding baskets like that! Sweet!

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. Anna says

    Nice Work, Jo-Lynne!
    I’m so inspired. I’m starting today with you! Awesome timing, because this morning I’m SO frustrated with tripping over/around/through S*#T! It makes me feel frustrated, disorganized and stressd ! Thanks for the rescue and good luck with your purge!

  9. Kristi Miller says

    Same organizing method is amazing for refrigerator and freezer – on a smaller scale!! You go!! :) Love the potatoe/onion idea – mine sit on the floor. duh!!!

  10. House Cleaning Flemington, NJ says

    Hi, Thanks for the tips.

    I went to a Home Improvement store and bought some plastic coated wall organizers. I took EVERYTHING out of the pantry and threw away expired food. I organized canned food, took plastic bins where I put envelopes of stuff like gravy mixes, chili mix, taco mix, etc.
    I found things in there I NEVER knew I had!

    I feel MUCH better and VERY organized!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *