Organizing Your Pantry Step by Step

Pantry Organizing Step by Step & Maple Cinnamon Old Fashioneds

Ready for some pantry organizing before the holiday cooking and baking begins?

Food is such an important part of many holiday celebrations. Now is the time to get your pantry and food storage in order so you can know exactly where what you need is when you need it. That’s why I’m taking you step by step through the exact process I use when organizing a pantry for clients.


Want the quick and easy overview to organizing your pantry? Here are the steps. I’ll go into more details as to why you should do all of these below:

  1. Pull Everything Out
  2. Sort Like Items with Like Items
  3. Wipe Down Shelves
  4. Purge Expired Items
  5. Put Items Back Like with Like
  6. Use Containers Where It Makes Sense
  7. Repeat Quarterly to Maintain


Yes, everything. And here is why. If you just do one or two shelves, you may not realize that you have another jar of maraschino cherries that is upopened from last year that’s been pushed to the back of the shelf and will expire soon. Clearing the entire space gives you a chance to really see everything you have AND it’s a great time to wipe those shelves down.


Sorting like items together helps you see how much you have of certain items, if you have duplicates, and how much space you need to dedicate to that grouping. Because when we do finally get to the step where we put it back in, you are going to want all those like items together. Trust me!

How broad or specific the categories are depends on your family and how you use your food. There is no real right or wrong type of categorization as long as it a) helps you know what you have and b) find what you need when you need it.

As with all things organizing, start with the simplest system first and then refining it as you see necessary. For instance, a client of mine who is vegan started out with a broad “canned beans” category. But found she was still over buying certain beans because there were too many cans and she didn’t feel like searching through them all. So we refined and made bins of specific types to make it easier for her to use her canned beans. Another client wanted to divide the kid snacks and adult snacks. The kids could grab their own items off a lower shelf. And they didn’t keep invading her chocolate peanut butter pretzels.

Hawk Pantry Final


I want you to focus in on what I call your “prime real estate”. If you are in a pantry, these would be the shelves at eye level and one shelf above and below that. If it’s cupboard space, this would be the bottom shelf of the upper cupboards or the top shelf of the lower cupboards. You want to put that things you use the most in the areas where they are easiest to grab. So if your kids get their own breakfast, make sure the breakfast items are within easy reach. If you only bake 3 times a year, the baking supplies can go on a higher shelf. Take a look at your categories of like items. Think about which items you use most and which can go on the very top and very bottom shelves.


As we put the items back, we start to explore the world of containers and bins. This is usually that part people are most excited about because they’ve seen a super sweet pantry on Pinterest that they would like to emulate.

My first bit of advice when it comes to containers: wait until you’ve done all the steps prior before purchasing anything. Get your categories back into the pantry and live for it for a few days or weeks. Wait to add bins to see if the systems and categories work. I hate when I see someone spend a bunch of time and money picking out containers only to find out they don’t work.

Some examples where I’ve seen bins work for and not against you…If you find dragging individual baking products out is a pain, look for a basket to house your flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda to make it easier to transport from pantry to counter. Or perhaps you want to make it easier for you kids to pack their own lunches with bins of single serving snacks or lunch items in a bin for them to grab rather than individual boxes.

In the end, you are spending time organizing your pantry or food storage so you can see what you need when you need it AND so you can inventory what you have to make shopping easier. Investing the time now will help make your holiday meal prep and baking so much easier.

Maple Cinnamon Old Fashioned

Traditional cocktail with a bit of added sweetness and warmth.
Course: Drinks
Servings: 1
Author: Root 23 Simple Syrups


Maple Cinnamon Old Fashioned

  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • .5 oz Root 23 Maple Cinnamon Simple Syrup

Maple Cinnamon Simple Syrup

  • 1/2 C. Water
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1/2 C. Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract


Maple Cinnamon Old Fashioned

  • Mix ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake well then strain out over fresh ice.

Maple Cinnamon Simple Syrup

  • Bring water and cinnamon stick to a boil. Add in maple syrup and vanilla and reduce heat. Simmer until reduced (about 10 minutes). Allow to cool before using.

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