Thursday, July-27th-2023

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Pantry Organization!!

Dear Readers,

Organizing anything is an art! Everyone likes organized stuff; it is pleasing on the eyes and makes things easier. I had written this article on pantry organization long back in 2015. Ever since I have not updated it. It's a long due project. In 2020 we moved from one of the coldest states to one of the hottest states of America. Most things in a typical American kitchen are standard: There is mostly a covered pantry, the drawers are under the kitchen island and there is a cupboard/cabinet under the drawers. The size of the pantry and the number of drawers and cabinets varies. I am not a collector. I believe in simple living. I have kept most of the stuff from the old house and moved it with us. Recently, I have tried to replace most of the plastic containers with glass ones.

Here I am going to talk about the art of organizing pantry or kitchen shelves. We can organize the kitchen within our budget. We don't need to invest a lot to be organized. Here I am sharing the pictures of my pantry, where I have organized the things as per my needs. You can get some ideas from these pictures and organize your pantry as per your requirements.

pantry Organisation

Here is the Amazon link for stickers you see in pictures.

All the lentils, beans, and the flour are kept together. I have used stands to raise the height of the back containers so that I can see them well. I like to use either glass containers or metal ones as much as possible. For the top shelf I avoid heavy glass containers.

pantry Organisation

All the snacks, biscuits, cookies, laddus, munchies, nuts etc. are kept together so that it becomes easier to figure out what we have. We usually avoid store bought snacks as much as possible. I dry roast peanuts and store it in glass container - it tastes fresh and is a perfect substitute for potato chips. There are also some homemade sorghum laddus (gluten free) and namakpare in this shelf.

pantry Organisation

In the USA, sometimes it is hard to find smaller packs of spices, so we are forced to buy more than we need. I keep all the extra spices in a basket, so I have extra ones stored at one place, and it is easier to find them when we need it. Usually, we do not eat canned food. There is barely any canned food in our kitchen apart from some coconut milk or bamboo shoots which we don’t get fresh or frozen. I keep Chinese and Thai food ingredients together with soya sauce, rice noodles, jasmine rice etc. I don’t keep potato, onions, tomatoes, ginger, and some fruits in the fridge; these have a spot in the pantry.

pantry Organisation

In our kitchen we try to use clean ingredients. When it comes to oil and ghee, I choose organic ones. I have a variety of oils to make different things. I make Italian dishes in olive oil. I prefer to cook veggies in sesame oil. I also make Chinese in sesame oil. For some vegetables I go with mustard oil. For Thai, I go with coconut oil. I make Indian sweets in pure ghee. For dal and roti I use homemade ghee but for deep frying gulab jamun I go with storebought ghee. I keep all the fats together, so that it becomes easier to figure out what we have.

pantry Organisation

A beautiful day starts with a cup of aromatic chai. I keep all sorts of tea, coffee, and sugar together. Jaggery and honey are kept behind sugar. I keep heavy glass containers on the bottom shelf and light ones on the top shelf. All the baking goods such as vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda, chip chocolates, breadcrumbs etc. are kept together in the basket, so that things are organized.

pantry Organisation

Spices are key ingredients in any cuisine especially in Indian cuisine. I have a huge range of spices in my pantry: Whole seeds, ground seeds, leaves and a variety of other spices. The name label helps to find them quickly. I recently changed my plastic spice containers to glass containers after 25 years😊 I have several varieties of pickles: some are homemade and some are storebought. I make a small amount of fresh seasonal pickles at a time. I have kept all the pickle bottles together in the baskets.

pantry Organisation

The less used spices are organized in a drawer.

pantry Organisation

I like to keep my kitchen counter as clean as possible. For that, I organize most of the stuff in the pantry or in drawers or in the kitchen cabinets. The most used spice box (masaldan) and salt is in the drawer next to gas stove. This helps with making daily meals. I keep salt and garam masala in a separate container, so salt doesn’t get soggy and garam masala aroma is maintained. I also keep some dry flour in a stainless-steel container to roll the rotis.

pantry Organisation

We have an open floor plan kitchen and I spend a lot of time there. I keep my laptop charger and my phone charger there in the drawer which helps while I am working on my center kitchen island. I also keep some hand moisturizer in the kitchen which I always need after cleaning the dishes.

pantry Organisation

The following pictures are of our old house kitchen

Neatly organized pantry-

pantry Organisation

An organized pantry helps with time saving as it is much easier and quicker to find things.

Here are a few pictures of organized pantry with details.-

pantry Organisation

organized pantry

organised pantry
organized pantry

Lentils and beans organization- Lentils and beans (Dal/ pulses) are cooked every day in Indian kitchen. I like to keep a good variety of lentils and beans. I also like to keep them in transparent containers so that it is much easier to recognize them.

lentils and beans organisation
Organizing Lentils and Beans

Spices organization- Spices are key ingredients in any cuisine especially in Indian cuisine. I have a huge range of spices in my pantry. The name label helps to find them quickly. The food-grade plastic containers in this pic are almost 17 years old. I got them from Aminabad, Lucknow in 1998. They have traveled to many different houses, cities, countries, and to three different continents with us and are still working fine.

spice organisation
Spice organization

Organizing Spices- Following pictures shows some Italian herbs kept together, then Raita/mattha (butter milk) or yogurt spices like dry mint powder, roasted and ground cumin, black salt etc. are kept together. During specific cooking it helps to take this small basket out and use the related spices.

spice organisation
Spice organisation

Tea and Coffee- We use a variety of tea and coffee. Keeping them together helps in remembering what exact flavor we do have.
Soya nuggets/ Badi / Mangaudi- it helps in organizing these things together.

pantry organisation
pantry organization

I mostly cook beans from scratch but I like to keep some organic chick peas and kidney beans cans just in case if we have some guest or need a quick fix. I keep some homemade onion tomato masala in the freezer so canned beans do help to fix a quick dish.

international grocery

Cookbooks- I love to read!! In our house books are there in each and every rooms. Cookbooks have an imporatant palace in our Kitchen too. Our public library is also very big and has a extensive collection of cookbooks. So huge range of books to work on.


Some Other Tips/ Suggestions for organization:

  1. It is important to keep a notepad and a pen in the pantry to write down the things which are running out.
  2. You don’t need to make a big investment to be organized. Clean the things and sort them out.
  3. Once you have organized your kitchen, make a habit to put things back on alloted palce .

Hope you like this article about Pantry organization. Please do share your views and comments about it. Thanks!

With best wishes,