OXO pantry storage containers

KonMari Your Pantry on Any Budget

A few years ago, the KonMari method of decluttering became a Big Deal. This method, as explained in the The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (affiliate link) by Marie Kondo, involves decluttering by category instead of location, and ending up with items and spaces that bring you joy. I stood back and listened to the buzz about this method, not sure I wanted to dive in. (The feelings of the balled up socks in my sock drawer is the least of my worries.) But this year, I finally decided to read the book for a little extra motivation as we declutter. There was a lot in it that I was willing to let slip by me without a second thought, but one thing stuck out: the KonMari pantry.

Our pantry is a converted coat closet. It has wobbly shelves, covered in 1970’s floral contact paper, barely attached with sketchy brackets. The kids often pull things off of the shelves, strewing them all over the house. For a while, E liked to pour out little tiny noodles and carry them all over my house. Last week, I found macaroni in a bathroom drawer. Something needed to be done.Use the #konmari method for your #pantry

That was pantry chaos part one. 

Marie Kondo said that she visited the home of a woman who wanted her help. The home wasn’t cluttered, but the woman felt like something wasn’t right. Kondo realized it was the amount of environmental print in this woman’s home. Environmental print is education jargon for words on the walls, packaging, etc. All of these words and brightly colored packages were not allowing her brain to rest. I thought the part about socks having feelings was crazy, but this, I can believe.

Our pantry was brimming with words in large print and brightly colored packages. Just looking at it stressed me out. When any of our senses is overwhelmed, we can go into sensory overload. Our pantry had me experiencing sensory overload on a daily basis.

That was pantry chaos part two. 

Last weekend, we tried the KonMari method on our pantry. The result? A peaceful, if not joyful, space. We chose more expensive containers for our pantry organization, but in this post, I’m including pantry organization options for any budget.

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my policies. 

Pantry Organization

Clear Storage Containers

Getting things out of their original packaging was key for us. We needed containers that weren’t so easily accessible to the children. And if they did access the containers, we needed them to be a little more difficult to dump out. Also, getting rid of all that busy packaging would bring peace to a chaotic area. We went the expensive route on these, because we have tried other systems that failed for us, and we knew a good system would help us waste less food.

Expensive Option

We bought OXO POP Containers. These are NOT CHEAP, but they are good quality and will last us a long time. Tip: Get them all from the same place! Don’t, for example, try to use your Bed Bath and Beyond coupons for some containers and your 5% off Target Red Card for some more containers, because they lids will be entirely different and won’t be interchangeable. Speaking from experience, here.

Less Expensive Option

These food storage containers are also stackable and air tight, but they’re way less expensive. (Actually wondering if Nate came across these when he was doing the research?? haha!) They don’t have the cool pop button that the OXO containers have, but one could probably live without fancy buttons.

Frugal Option

Mason jars work really well for some pantry items (flour, rice, etc.) We’ve tried this option before, but I think our mistake was that we didn’t buy enough variety in sizes. Try 16 oz jars for items like rice and flax seeds, and 64 ounce jars for granola bars and other snacks. Also, they’re round. Marie Kondo recommended square containers for cupboards, as there’s less wasted space.

Downright Cheap

This way is definitely more eclectic, but extremely cost effective. Buy items in glass jars, and reuse the glass jars for storage. Buy pasta sauce in 16 ounce jars, and go to Costco for items in huge jars (lots and lots of pickles!) Clean them really well, especially pickle jars, and reuse them to organize your pantry.

Related: Baby Clothes: To Keep or Toss? 


Expensive Option

I’m not sure why wire mesh baskets are so expensive, but they are. As a result, we bought only two baskets like these to store packets of cocoa, dried fruit, and other relatively flat items.

Less Expensive Option

Instead of items specifically made for pantries, buy CD storage baskets. With supply and demand, you can get these for cheap these days!! The Container Store has these for $6.99 each, which is about half the price as the baskets made for pantries.

Downright Cheap

Who needs wire mesh? Reuse high-quality boxes or gift baskets to organize your pantry. One Christmas, Nate got boxes and boxes of dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate. The boxes were really well made, so we used each half for storage in the bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry room.

Related: Preparing Your Family for a Spending Freeze

Take Advantage of Wall Space

Magazine holders

You can buy fancy kitchen caddies, or you can go for the cheaper option: magazine holders. Mounting magazine holders like these (except for silver) on the pantry door has helped us store things like plastic bags and foil. These things need to be kept out of reach of our little ones, so this was a good solution for us.

Dry Erase Board

Not quite a storage solution, but we’ve also put a dry erase board in our pantry. When I can get my act together, I write our meal plan for the week on it. This also helps with the “too many words” issue because it hides nicely in the pantry.

Do you have any pantry organization secrets for me? Share them in the comments, please!! 




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