2017 Home Organization Challenge: Week 2 The Pantry

January 14, 2017

Welcome back to A Bowl Full of Lemons.  We survived one of the most challenging weeks and you’ve done very well, so we’re staying in the kitchen for another 7 days. It’s time to clear out the pantry. If you don’t have a pantry, simply clean out the cabinets that you store your food in. By the looks of your photos shared on Instagram, you are coming along just fine. (Use the hashtag #abfolchallenge and take a look at others who are on the same journey).

If you’re just joining us, welcome. Simply print out the schedule and checklists below and tag along. For encouragement, join our Home Organization 101 Facebook community to share your progress, or struggles, or questions. Or simply look through the photos and read how others are doing.


Free Challenge Kit



For the perfect companion guide to our challenge, purchase The Complete Book to Home Organization. It includes all 14 weekly challenges as well as a ton of inspiration and tips about the spaces we will be organizing. No need to log onto the computer for ideas, this manual has it all!



If you need more guidance on cleaning your house, be sure to pre-order my brand new book The Complete Book of Clean.  It has tons of tips and checklists that will teach you how to get your homes sparkling clean.



Week 2: The Pantry

This week should be pretty straight forward. Empty the pantry, wipe it out, toss expired food, and put it all back in an organized fashion.


  • PLAN – Before starting, make sure you have a good supply of boxes, bins & food containers. You will need them.  If you do not have any, simply organize your pantry into “categories”.
  • SET UP – If you are using them, line up your empty bins, baskets & containers onto the kitchen table. If you don’t have any, you can still separate your food into ‘categories’ on the table.
  • PURGE & ORGANIZE – Take everything out of your pantry.  Check the expiration date and throw out expired or no longer used items.  Place “like” items in the baskets on the table. Organizing your food into categories (bins) will help keep your pantry looking nice and neat.  (Categories to consider: School, Breakfast, Pasta, Baking, Sauce, Bread, Snacks, Sides, etc.)  You can also empty bags & boxes into OXO containers or mason jars for a more uniform look.  If the unused food isn’t expired, you can donate it to a local food pantry.
  • CLEAN –  Once you are finished organizing everything into categories, you can wipe out your pantry, then sweep & mop the floor.  You want it all nice & clean before you put everything away.
  • PUT AWAY – Place all of your neatly organized bins, boxes, and containers back into your pantry
  • LABEL – Label each bin & container with a labeler or hang a tag on the baskets.


Last year, we yanked out the ugly wire shelving and cheap hollow doors.  We replaced them with wooden shelving (which we installed ourselves) and more stylish looking french doors. Installing the french doors has given me the push I needed to keep the pantry neat and orderly. Each week after I return from the grocery store, I spend a couple of minutes tidying up the space. Also, it has helped me to eliminate wasteful food and indulgent grocery shopping.  I try to stick with a list and only buy what we need for the week. It’s been a nice change from the overstuffed shelves full of food.



THE LAYOUT. Categorize your pantry into zones for easy access and order.


COOKBOOKS. My cherished recipes line the shelves of my pantry.

DRY GOODS. Mason jars are the perfect way to condense boxes and bags into uniform food storage.


CONVENIENCE FOODS. Open baskets are great to store convenience foods and quick snacks for the kids.



BULK GOODS. Large open mouth jars are the way to go when storing bulk foods. I found these at World Market.



CANNED GOODS. Canned goods are heavy and should be stored near the bottom of the pantry. Large bins or baskets on the floor are great to store overstock items.



DECOR. Not only can your pantry be functional but it can be pretty as well. Bring your home decor into the pantry and add a little charm. I love to display vintage scales and old mason jars.



Here are several blog posts that will inspire you to get your pantry organized.


This week, let this blog post be your guiding force. Take as much or as little time as you need to complete the challenge.  If you need it, you can find more pantry inspiration in my book. Let’s get organized!

Share your progress on Instagram using the hash tag #abfolchallenge, blog about the weekly challenges, and  share your before and after pictures over at my Home Organization group here.  Hold yourself accountable and finish all 14 challenges! I can’t wait to see what you accomplish.  Good luck. I’ll see you back next week for the week 3 challenge. Happy Organizing!



Disclaimer: You may find Amazon affiliate links within this post. Thank you for your support to A Bowl Full of Lemons.

8 comments on “2017 Home Organization Challenge: Week 2 The Pantry

  1. Jayne H. says:

    I did the pantry last weekend because I needed the three day weekend for my kitchen. My motivation came when I got home from work and saw my Grove box . I am in love with the basil scent of the multi purpose cleaner. The mint glass cleaner is amazing. I love everything! It was the first time I ever looked forward to cleaning. I am hooked! Thanks Toni!

  2. Elizabeth Sobon says:

    Any ideas for utilizing the dead area at the top of my panty? The shelf is about 4 feet below the ceiling. Of course I wouldn’t put stuff up there that I use regularly, but I don’t know how to maximize that space.

  3. Hilva Allen says:

    What happened to your OXO containers from your 2014 pantry makeover?

  4. April says:

    Are you bins on the bottom on rollers? It doesn’t seem real floor friends to continually scoot those in and out to gain access to what’s inside. I like the idea of the mason jars but they never seem to hold enough… but it’s a sign, too, I have too much processed snacky foods! 🙂

  5. Shari says:

    Great looking pantry! I love the wire baskets! I have special needs daughter who doesn’t eat food. She is fed via g-tube with “formula”. We receive 120 bottles of food for her a month. It is the size and looks like a pedisure bottle. I struggle keeping them organized in our pantry. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you!

  6. Katie says:

    Any suggestions for how to best organize a lazy susan with food?

  7. Audrey says:

    You inspired me to clean my own kitchen prior moving!

  8. Kimberly says:

    I love this! It seems like the pantry can start to get unorganized so fast! I love having matching containers to put my flour & sugar in, labeled of course!

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