This is Day 24 of our 31 Days of Less and More series. To read all the posts in order, start with Day 1 and check out our overview page to see the topics for the entire month.

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 Food is capable of feeding far more than a rumbling stomach. Food is life; our well-being demands it. Food is art and magic; it evokes emotion and colors memory, and in skilled hands, meals become greater than the sum of their ingredients. Food is self-evident; plucked right from the ground or vine or sea, its power to delight is immediate. ~Anthony Beal

Food is all that, and more, but it has become such an afterthought in our society.  To that, I say—slow down.  Enjoy the mystery that nourishes us all.  Take time to learn to cook, for sure.  And when you do, you’ll need a well-stocked pantry to cook from.  Having what you need on hand  lowers the barrier to cooking and baking.

I buy things in bulk or when they’re on sale and my pantry shelves are usually well-stocked, but it’s so easy to let it get out of hand, which leads to waste.  Just like every other part of my house, I am motivated by beauty.   So, I find that if I makes things pretty, I’m drawn to them, more apt to tend to them, and more apt to use them well.

Let’s make a pretty pantry, shall we?  (And here’s the download for the pantry stocking list!)

1. Decide on some pretty containers.

I use large glass containers (from Walmart)  for my baking supplies and keep them on the counter, ready to use!  For my dry goods, I use plastic containers (also from Walmart) and add pretty homemade labels. If you have a closet pantry, you might want a combination of baskets, glassware, and  plastic containers.

2. Labels, labels, labels

You can get fancy with this and order labels from an online shop.  I just printed my labels at home, using the champignon font at 200.  I then use clear packing tape to tape them on.  When they get dirty or dusty, I can always redo them and change the font around, if I want.

3. Take everything out

Start with a clean slate.  Take everything out of the pantry or off the shelves and group like items together.  Discard items that are expired or no longer edible. You might discover that you’ve been hoarding pasta or cake mixes, in my case.  Consider purchasing uniform containers for things like pasta, rice, and baking goods.  You’ll save space and mess if you have those items stored in airtight, uniform containers.  Wipe all the surfaces clean.

4. Put it back pretty.

I personally find lots of food packaging pretty, so I try to arrange them on my shelves so that the pretty side shows.  The uniform containers are nice for this, too, because they let you see what you have and if/when you’re running low.

5.  Maintain it.

Once a month, when you do your biggest grocery shopping trip, it won’t take long at all to revisit the pantry. If you’re like me, the kids have rearranged a lot of things in a short amount of time. Better yet, add that to their list of chores.  My girls have been wanting some new shorts for ballet, so I had them take everything out of the pantry, clean the shelves, and put everything back in order to earn their shorts.  It’s a win-win.  They get to practice very helpful task and I get a clean pantry.  I was gonna buy the shorts anyways!

*Remember, all of this organization and beautifying is so we can make our kitchens places of nourishment for the body and soul.

Challenge Day 24:  Make a date with your pantry today.  Think about what containers you need and wash them out or purchase what you need.  Create or purchase labels.  Take everything out, sort it by type, then put it back and make it pretty.  Next, make a meal plan for the next week that uses up all the food you forgot you had on hand.  For inspiration check out Edie’s recipes here or my recipes here.  Snap a photo of your pretty pantry and share it with us on Instagram or Facebook!  Be sure to use the hashtag #31DaysLessMore

Read Ruth’s corresponding post here, Less Kitchen Confusion and read Crystal’s insights on Less Paper Clutter/More Filing!

19 comments on “31 Days of Less and More, Day 24 {More Pretty Pantries}”

  1. Hehe. When I browsed this post via FB, I read: More Pretty Panties. A good thing indeed, but not nearly as functional as Pantries.

    Thanks for this series, Edie.

  2. Haha! I totally read “pretty panties” as well! This is so great though; I have a Billy bookcase “pantry” with glass doors that I try to keep covered because it’s always a mess! Inspired to get some attractive containers and organize. I’m also doing an end-of-the-month food clean out- trying not to buy anything except millk and eggs. This will help me see what I have, thanks!

  3. Thanks for the inspiration, Edie! I thought I would share this tip. I use clementine crates to store things in my pantry. Boxes and bags of pasta fit neatly in them. I also keep my baking supplies, spices, extracts, sweeteners, etc. in loaf pans. Easy to pull out what I need and keep the shelf clean.

    • great helpful tip Laura… maybe I will paint the clementine crates white to match my beachy décor : ) Thanks for the pretty pantry inspiration Edie!

  4. I’m really enjoying this series! Here’s a mundane question: how do you keep tabs on the cooking instructions for the rice/pasta/etc you’ve packaged so nicely? I can imagine myself getting my pantry all pretty and then not knowing how to prepare anything! 🙂

  5. This is a good reminder to finish my half-done pantry from this summer! I got everything in jars and love the function. However, I did not get the labels finished and have gotten lazy about completing the job. I echo Kate’s question. I bought some bulk soup starter mixes from Whole Foods and wondered how to make the instructions more attractive. For now, I have been cutting out a small section I really need and taping it to the bottom inside of the canning jar lid. Then it’s not noticeable but handy. I’m sure there are better ways to do that, however!

  6. Edie, I saw this post early today in my inbox and read, “pretty pastries” and thought…oh I need to take time for this….later. I was so excited to see what you had up your sweet sleeve. And then when did my tired eyes behold at this late hour? Pantry shelves! I just must be honest…it was a bit disappointing. I was so looking forward to some sweet bakery-style eye candy. 😉

    Thanks for the organizing tips. 🙂 Last summer we were on a no spend budget, except for the bare essentials…like eggs, and I used up everything in my pantry. It was fun to get creative. I even shared about it on my blog and discovered one of the recipes I made (I tweaked a mix) has gotten pinned like crazy!!

    Wishing you an Extraordinary weekend!!
    [hugs]

  7. Edie, I’m really enjoying your “31 Days” series. I love, love, love your pantry! Is the font you used for your pantry the same as you used for your vinaigrette labels. If not could you share that font, Please?

  8. I love the shallow shelves in the photo. My pantry is narrow and deep, so things get shoved to the back. I’d like to find some bins of some sort that can be pulled out easily in order to not lose items in the back.

    Another commenter asked about cooking directons. I have the same question. If you put things like rice and beans in glass containers, what do you do with the directions on the original packaging?

  9. Edie I love your blog. I am just getting caught up on a few posts, and also read more pretty panties. Of course I mentally bookmarked that one and came back today. Amen sister, more pretty panties…oh, um yea pantries, that too 😉

  10. Oh, I love looking at pantries…and yours is one of my favorites! I have a teeny tiny gallery kitchen, and store the bulk of my groceries in the basement, so I have some work to do to make mine look as pretty as yours. Thank you for another great post in this series!

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