Step-by-step pantry makeover: expert tips

Original article appeared in Temple and Webster Journal by Danielle Oppermann.

Professional organiser Sarah Shanahan shares her step-by-step tips to whip your pantry into shape.

Pantry glass

Storing pantry staples in glass lets you easily see what you have in stock and what needs replenishing, plus keeps ingredients fresh for longer. Image via

It’s easy to let things get out of control in the pantry – half-used ingredients build up, spice packets lie dormant, and it’s hard to find the items you need. Help is at hand with home organisation and decluttering expert Sarah Shanahan’s 10 simple steps. It’s all about editing down your items and making the most of easy-access storage containers.

Step 1
Remove absolutely everything from the pantry.

Step 2
Wipe all shelves and surfaces clean. If you’re investing in new storage solutions for the pantry, measure up first to ensure you make best use of the space.

Step 3
Sort through all the contents and group similar items together, throw out any out-of-date items, and set aside any unopened items you won’t use to give away.

Pantry space

We can’t all have a pantry this roomy, but make sure you leave enough space so you can easily see and access what you’re storing. Image via


Step 4
Sort the pantry into zones that make sense for you. For example set aside one area for baking ingredients, one for breakfast items (cereals, spreads), pasta and grains, cans and jars, condiments and spices.

Step 5
Be sure to position the everyday items within easy reach.

Step 6
Transfer open or unopened packages into clear glass storage containers where possible and label –this makes life so much easier and creates a well-ordered, calm and simplified look.

Step 7
Baskets are also handy for grouping items together – unopened pasta and rice packets, condiments and sauces, party and picnic products.


Group ingredients such as pasta packets, condiments or snacks together in baskets. Image via The Vintage Wren.

Step 8
Keep children’s snacks in bowls or baskets where the kids can grab them easily and pop them into their own lunch boxes.

Step 9
Keep it simple, don’t overcrowd the pantry to ensure you can find everything easily. Keep multiples of items in baskets on higher shelves or out of sight until you need them.

Step 10
Maintenance – after doing a big grocery shop, empty new products straight into their containers and rotate others from storage to keep everything flowing smoothly.

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