Downshiftology

Ready to eat healthy and live well?

Sign up for FREE recipes and goodies from me!

Pantry Organization: Tips for a Creating a Healthy Pantry


Posted by on March 29, 2017 / 32 Comments

Create a healthy pantry and easily find ingredients (even if your pantry is small) with these glass containers and pantry organization ideas.

Pantry organization ideas - I've got several tips for creating a healthy pantry and moving all your storage containers to glass jars.

One of the lovely things about moving is that you’re forced to go through everything you own and assess if it’s worth keeping. Now, some people probably dread this (and I’ll admit it’s a ton of work), but in the end I actually find all the purging freeing. As in, my life just got heaps more “white space” – which gives me a sense of calm and satisfaction.

On my recent move I got rid of and/or donated quite a bit of stuff. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized I don’t like clutter and my style has morphed into a more minimalist, warm modern, Scandanavian-esque, yet rustic, SoCal neutral vibe. Clean and white makes me happy.

Watch my pantry organization video by clicking below:

SUBSCRIBE TO MY VIDEOS

My entire apartment still needs furniture and decor, but as a foodie person it only made sense to tackle my kitchen first. Especially as that’s where I spend 80% of my time. A few years back I moved all my pantry dried goods into BPA-Free containers, thinking I was doing good. But now I know that BPA-Free plastics can be just as harmful as BPA, if not more. So on this recent move I ditched the plastic altogether and moved everything to glass.

Pantry organization: moving everything from plastic to glass

My number one goal on this pantry makeover was moving everything from plastic to glass. I didn’t want bulk goods and raw ingredients hanging around inside all that plastic. I also found that my former plastic containers weren’t as airtight as they claimed to be. I don’t know if it’s because of the pop-top mechanism, but I had several batches of nuts go rancid quickly in those old containers.

My new glass containers are Weck jars and I’m absolutely loving them! Ironically, they’re even cheaper than the plastic, which, I would have never guessed. But here’s what I love about them. First, the cylindrical jars are big enough for bulk ingredients, but you can still grab them easily with one hand. This was an important consideration for me, as I tend to grab things quickly. Second, the tops are 100% airtight with the gasket and clips so food stays fresh.

Pantry organization ideas - I've got several tips for creating a healthy pantry and moving all your storage containers to glass jars.

Pantry organization ideas - I've got several tips for creating a healthy pantry and moving all your storage containers to glass jars.

I use an assortment of Weck jars in everyday cooking (you’ll see them frequently in my recipe photos), but for my pantry organization I stuck to four sizes for one primary reason – the lids were the same size. The cylindrical jars line up uniformly next to one another and the mold jars (due to their slight taper) stack neatly on top of each other. This allows you to maximize storage space top to bottom.

Here are the exact pantry jars I used:

Another great thing about these glass jars is they’re dishwasher safe. So if you want to swap ingredients or clean them out, just toss them in the dishwasher. I used the glass lids and gaskets that came with the jars as I wanted that guaranteed airtight fit for my nuts, seeds and berries, though you can find cork lids as well.

Pantry organization ideas - I've got several tips for creating a healthy pantry and moving all your storage containers to glass jars.

Pantry organization ideas - I've got several tips for creating a healthy pantry and moving all your storage containers to glass jars.

Large countertop jars for my flours

Because I’m gluten-free, I use several different types of flours in my baking, such as almond flour, tapioca flour, coconut flour and cassava flour. Initially I wasn’t planning to leave these flours out on my countertop, but after I found the gorgeous Montana Jars with acacia wood lids, I knew they were too pretty to hide.

These jars are perfect for flours as they’re large and the opening on top is wide, making it easy to get measuring cups in and out. The wood lids also match my barstools and wood floors, so everything tied together beautifully.

Here are the exact countertop jars I used: 

If you can’t find these jars on Amazon, you can also purchase them at Crate & Barrel.

Pantry organization ideas - I've got several tips for creating a healthy pantry and moving all your storage containers to glass jars.

Pantry organization ideas - I've got several tips for creating a healthy pantry and moving all your storage containers to glass jars.

Customizing your pantry organization with glass jars and paint markers

One of the things I had the most fun with as I reorganized my pantry was writing labels on all the glass jars. I saw this post a year ago which inspired these glass jars and handwritten labels – and I knew I wanted to do the same. My handwriting isn’t going to win any penmanship awards, but the labels definitely make finding your ingredients easy. Especially as my pantry is quite dark inside.

Pantry organization ideas - I've got several tips for creating a healthy pantry and moving all your storage containers to glass jars.

Pantry organization ideas - I've got several tips for creating a healthy pantry and moving all your storage containers to glass jars.

Sharpie makes two types of paint markers (an oil-based and water-based), so make sure you purchase the water-based paint marker. These come in a variety of colors, but sticking with my minimalistic approach I went with white. I also used a medium tip, though you can purchase a fine tip as well.

If you write your label and make a mistake, you can quickly remove it with a paper towel and rewrite it. The paint marker dries after about a minute, then it won’t smudge off. But as it’s water-based, you can still remove it in the future with a little water and a scrub sponge.

Pantry organization: my wood basket and snack containers

In the video above you saw that I store my sweet potatoes, onions and garlic in a wood basket. It has handles on each end which make it easy to lift, but it’s also long and narrow so it’s great for a small pantry. I tend to just slide it in and out when I’m looking for ingredients. To ensure that the bottom doesn’t scratch my pantry shelves, I added small felt furniture sliders to the bottom.

Pantry organization ideas - I've got several tips for creating a healthy pantry and moving all your storage containers to glass jars.

I purchased my basket at Target, but if you can’t find it, these wood baskets are similar.

The plastic snack containers are similar to the wood basket in that they’re narrow and have a handle, again making them easy to pull in and out. I also love that they’re not too big, so my bars and fruit strips stay upright.

Pantry ingredients and food

Creating a healthy pantry means sticking to wholefood ingredients as much as possible. Unfortunately, I can’t use those bulk bins at Whole Foods or other markets (due to potential gluten cross-contamination), but I do buy organic bags of items such as cashews, almonds and chia seeds, then transfer them to my glass jars.

Just remember that fresh pantry ingredients, such as nuts, seeds and berries are best eaten within a few months. So it’s a good habit to not buy too much.

I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t have snacks and munchies (remember: eating healthy isn’t about deprivation), but I do my best to purchase snacks with clean ingredients and from brands with an ethos aligned with mine.

Pantry organization ideas - I've got several tips for creating a healthy pantry and moving all your storage containers to glass jars.

Some of my favorite ingredients, brands and snacks I keep in my pantry include:

And here are items always in my kitchen:

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peak in my pantry. And hopefully it provided a little inspiration for your own pantry organization. If you’d like to see more lifestyle videos like this on my YouTube channel, let me know in the comments below!

  • Hipwatermama

    Thanks! I have been looking for glass containers, and will follow your lead!

  • Carrie Turansky

    Wonderful! I love these pantry ideas.

  • francesca schroer

    Wow, this was a really good video! Thanks! Very inspiring, I would love to see your apartment and maybe get inspired on simplifying even more. I love love loved your white maker! I’m ordering one right now!
    Where do you get your cassava flour? It’s expensive on amazon!

    • That white marker is magic! You’ll want to start labeling everything – ha! And I do purchase my cassava flour on Amazon. I buy Otto’s brand and while I know it’s not the cheapest, the quality is the best I’ve found. Some readers have complained that other brands have been gritty or don’t bake well. So I pay the premium for quality (it also lasts quite a while). :) x http://amzn.to/2nNC9ay

  • Liz Stark

    I definitely loved this pantry organization video! Excellent, useful tips. And I’d love to see an apartment tour video as well, if it’s not too much trouble to film. Love your decor style! :)

    • Thanks Liz! So glad you liked the video. I’ll queue up an apartment tour video for the future…and it’ll put a fire under my bum to finish decorating my place. Lol!

  • Prasanna Hede

    what a wonderful canisters you have there! lovely info!

  • Sue Frecklington

    Reinventing the wheel! I have been doing this for years, it’s not rocket science, just common sense.

  • Love all those glass containers! I agree with you, I much prefer to get rid of clutter and have a simple, clean-looking home.

  • I dream of having enough cupboard space to fit everything into and when I do get it, them I’ll be following suit and making it look awesome. Great tip to get the lids the same size.

  • Katrin Nuernberger

    What a good point to move everything to glass. I love the look of organised cupboards… I think I have some work to do in my house :)

  • Gillian M Thompson

    I’ll be moving soon so have pinned this to refer to when I come to organise my new pantry. Love those jars and I love your style. I’m dreading the move, it’s big one, returning home from being overseas for 10 years. Things will be going quiet on my blog front soon as I start to have a real purge. Can’t wait to get rid of loads of junk & clutter. :)

    • Moving from overseas really is a big endeavor! I’ve done it a few times…and it’s all those move that probably prompted my minimalist style. ;) But you’ll feel so good after getting rid of the junk and clutter. Best of luck to you Gillian! :) x

  • Carol Hall

    Thanks for the video, Lisa! My storage is a mix of plastic & glass so now I’m thinking I should change to all glass – thanks for the info. Here in the UK we use Kilner-style glass jars, very easy to open and air tight. But I’m going to look for the Montana jars on Amazon UK because they look good. There is a current trend for copper items here in the UK and the Montana jars would look good with those.

    • Yes, Kilner jars are great! Very similar to our canning jars in the US. And I’m loving that copper trend. I don’t have much copper, but I may have to grab a few pieces to add to my collection. ;) x

  • I’d been looking for something just like this! Couldn’t find anything that would fit perfectly or Look nearly as put together. Love it times a million. I’ll have to save this and recreate it!

  • Tracy Larsen

    I’m in the process of renovating my kitchen and converting an unused half bathroom into a pantry/closet. You’ve inspired me to get rid of all those mismatched plastic (unhealthy!) containers and get glass for all my bulk items. I’ll be going to IKEA to check out their glass jars and I’ve ordered the marker too. This will be a beautiful and simple way to keep my paleo & gluten-free kitchen organized. Thanks for this pretty and inspirational post. Loved the video too! Keep them coming please. :)

    • Kitchen renovations are always exciting – it’s a blank slate! Happy this post inspired you and thanks so much for your kind words on the video. I have plans to do a spice drawer organization video soon! :) x

  • Pingback: Chemex 101: Brewing Tips and Advice From a Coffee Novice | Downshiftology()

  • Pingback: 11 Creative Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do With Leftovers | Weynk()

  • Pingback: 5 Things You Need to Know About Cassava Flour()

  • Pingback: How to Make Powdered Sugar (in 30 Seconds) | Downshiftology()

  • Pingback: Creating a Minimalist Kitchen: Tips to Clean, Declutter and Simplify | Downshiftology()

  • msat

    Okay, so your pantry isn’t a whole lot bigger than mine, yet you seem to have enough space whereas I do not, even though you have a lot of things in there that I keep elsewhere: nuts and seeds in the freezer, maple syrup in the fridge, baking stuff in a high cupboard because I use it so rarely, and snacky stuff not at all. Keeping flours on the countertop would be great if I had space, but where do you keep your legumes (lentils, split peas, and assorted beans, both dry and canned)? And the celiac-friendly grains such as quinoa (I’ve got several different kinds), and millet? And tea? I also have oats (regular, steel-cut, and quick) and spelt, which you may not be able to eat, so that may be part of the puzzle, and a selection of rice and buckwheat pastas. Still, you’ve inspired me to get rid of some of the stuff that I’m realizing I never use… And I love your labelling tip!

    • That sharpie pen is the best, isn’t it?! As for space, I don’t eat many grains and legumes, which reduces the bulk of many items you mentioned. Even though they may be gluten-free I find that my body doesn’t always respond favorably to them. So that keeps out many of the items that you mentioned, though I do have rice, lentils, oats (I only keep regular) and a few cans of beans. I also don’t usually keep any GF pastas and opt for zucchini noodles or other veggie noodles. I try to go as fresh and seasonal as possible and view my pantry items as playing a supporting role, rather than being the bulk of a recipe. Hope that answers your questions! :)

As Featured In

Ready to eat healthy and live well?

Sign up for FREE recipes and goodies from me!

© 2014 Downshiftology. All rights reserved.
Simple Share Buttons