Real Life Pantry Organization

Such a good idea when you're short on space for a pantry: Ikea bookshelves!!!

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When we moved from our condo into our house, we lost a huge under the stairs pantry space from our little condo kitchen. The new house had more cupboards than the condo, but once we accounted for the amount of storage we needed for the pantry, it amounted to a lot less space for dishes. The design of the house means the kitchen acts as a hallway to get to the back half of the house, so we didn’t have any space to put a traditional deep pantry. So, Ikea to the rescue! We purchased 2 Billy Bookcases from Ikea, covered the back in a contact paper I liked and anchored them to the wall. Honestly, I prefer this set up to the big, deep pantry we left behind at the condo.

Real life pantry with re-purposed glass jar storage

That’s a real picture of my pantry up there. I love this pantry because it’s not as deep as traditional pantries, so I don’t lose as much stuff at the back of the pantry. The glass doors force me to keep it tidy and they also pick up on the reflection of the window, so it actually adds light to the room, a little bit like having a mirror there. They do get a little grimy from little fingers, but nothing that a quick wipe can’t take care of!

As for storage for our pantry, I prefer glass containers and I think re-purposing is the cat’s meow! The benefits are many! It diverts trash from landfills, saves the earth’s resources, and saves my resources ($$$)! There’s plenty of money to be saved by reusing things that we have coming into our houses anyway. Let me show you some of the ways that I use re-purpose glass jars I got for the cost of the products I was purchasing anyway.

Even though I often make my own pasta sauce, when jarred pasta sauce goes on sale, I pick up a few jars to keep in my pantry. Mr Wonderful likes to use it to make a quick lunch or dinner for himself or the kids. And in a pinch, even I will heat up a bunch of homemade or store-bought meatballs and add some jarred pasta sauce for a quick, brainless dinner for the family. These are actually Mason jars, which I have also re-used to can peaches. Mr Wonderful also likes to use them as large water glasses, so I just embraced that, and we have a whole bunch in our glasses cupboard.

Re-use glass jars as beverage glasses

These same jars make great dry pantry storage. I keep mineral salt, nuts, baking soda, baking powder, Trim Healthy Mama sweeteners, psyllium husks, chocolate chips, and all manner of dry pantry items. I bought those cute chalkboard labels and these chalkboard pens and also some oil-based, permanent white pens to write labels on containers that get cold or wet or dirty easily, and for those products I use often and always have on hand. I ordered all my chalkboard labels and pens on Amazon since it’s just so easy to find things there. And then, click, click… you’ve got mail!

I really held off getting an Amazon Prime membership for a long time, since I thought it was a lot of money to spend in order to have to spend more money, but now that more and more items are shipping to Canada and with 1-day shipping, it’s turned out to be super-handy, so we worked it into the budget.

Re-purpose glass jars for pantry storage!

Once upon a time, I spray-painted a bunch of lids black so that they could all be the same colour, but that was work that I just haven’t repeated. Over the years, I’ve also picked up some of these lids (the white ones pictured above). You can get them on Amazon, but you can also find them in grocery stores and other large retailers with the canning supplies. They are lids for freezer canning and dry storage, fitting perfectly on Mason jars. Now that I have collected a lot of jars, I either use these lids or only keep jars with black or white lids, so my pantry looks cohesive, which is important since my pantry is a feature in my kitchen and has glass doors.


There are plenty of other jars I reuse as well. I also love to use these shorter jars. Most are Better than Bouillon jars; they have a black lid and they are a perfect size for gluccie, stevia, and other things that I keep a smaller amount of in my pantry/fridge. The chalkboard labels are great for these too. Salsa jars are also a great size for pantry storage, but I don’t buy much salsa in that size and I reuse those jars for pysanky dyes (more on that later!), so I don’t have many of them in my pantry.

Great re-purposing idea! Chalkboard labels on re-purposed glass jars!

For larger pantry storage, I would love to get some sweet jars like these, which would match my chalkboard labels theme. But right now I’m using a combination of hand-me-down Tupperware my mom gave me and some cheap storage containers I bought in college.

I’m constantly trying to improve the look of my pantry since it’s always on display. Organization and tidiness are key. What are your tips for keeping your pantry tidy and organized? Tell me in the comments below: I’m always looking for new ideas! Thanks!

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