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oxo blue pop lid containers

For a Photo-Perfect Pantry, Try Adding Colorful Containers

Turn your storage space into an Instagram-worthy room by adding colorful containers that keep food fresh.

8 min read

If you’re looking to add some wow to your pantry, consider a splash of color. Brightly hued storage bins are an easy way to organize dry goods while making your space look Instagram-perfect. These cheerful OXO POP containers, designed to hold staples such as cereal, flour, sugar, pasta, rice, coffee, nuts and snacks, can be organized according to color so you know exactly where to look for what.

“The best solutions in organization are ones that consider how things function along with how they look,” says Ashley La Fond, founder of New Jersey-based home organization company Of Space + Mind(Opens in a new window). “If you just lean into how things look and not the utility, your system will break down. With organizing by color, it’s a system that is easy for you to follow.”

To create a pantry organization strategy that’s both visually appealing and functionally efficient, start here.

How to Organize a Pantry   

The basic principles of pantry organization are the same as those you apply to any room in your house: Clear out the space, assess your items, then put them back according to size and frequency of use. La Fond breaks it down into steps:

  • Empty the shelves. “The first step in any project is to take everything out. We really want to start with a clean slate,” she says.
  • Sort and categorize. Create large groupings based on what’s in your pantry. For instance, you can sort by canned goods, pasta, grains, snack foods, beverages, kids snacks, pet food and breakfast foods.
  • Toss expired items. La Fond says that expired products may indicate items you don’t need to replace or items that need to be stored in more accessible ways.
  • Get smaller. Once you have large categories, start dividing them into subgroups. For instance, split the canned produce into fruits and vegetables.
  • Maximize your pantry’s layout. Ask yourself which shelf in the pantry is most accessible, and then place items you reach for often (like snack foods) in that area. Likewise, put items you don’t use often in space that’s harder to reach. La Fond suggests using a turntable in hard-to-access areas to make it easier to reach items.
  • Focus on utility. If you have children who are old enough to grab their own snacks, make sure you store the food at a height that kids can reach.
  • Measure before buying. Containers are a great way to store dry goods, but before you purchase, measure the depth and width of the shelf space to be sure you’re getting the right dimensions. If you’re planning on stacking your containers, vertical measurements are important as well.
  • Arrange by height. Placing containers from shortest to tallest across the shelf is a smart idea. “It's a nice way to streamline as it’s the way our eyes are used to moving across a space,” says La Fond.
  • Size your bin to the food item. Be space-efficient by making sure the containers are appropriately sized for what you’re storing. The bin that holds your cereal is likely three times the size as one you need to hold nuts.
  • Make use of your floor. Storing cleaning products below the shelves will free up more space.

How to Introduce Color to a Pantry

To organize your pantry by color, start by choosing a single food category and using colored OXO POP containers for these items. For instance, place your kids’ snacks in containers with blue lids so they know it’s for them. The lids also could designate foods that are gluten-free or allergen-free. Grown-up snack foods, on the other hand, could come in a clear container.

“Color coding is pretty,” La Ford says, “but it’s also a way to quickly grab something without having to read a label because we’ve added that second layer of classification.” Even if things get mixed up in your pantry, La Fond points out, color coding means you can still determine what you have and where it lives.

Ensure that the Colors Don’t Clash

If the container is translucent, avoid colors that conflict with its contents. “You don’t want the color of a storage piece to fight with the color of the item that’s being stored,” she says. 

Choose an Accent Color

If you already have a fair amount of storage bins but want to dress up the pantry, choose one color (like blue) and add containers featuring that shade to a single pantry shelf (use several containers—just one can look like an accident!). “Choose a color that complements your existing aesthetic,” La Fond says. Grouping colored containers together will make the pantry look aesthetically pleasing.

Why Organizing by Color Is Worth It

Organizing your pantry by color can take a little time, but in the long run, it can make your life easier. “The number one reason to organize is not to be better at organization, but to be better at life,” La Fond says. “We want to create systems so that you can make breakfast more easily, make dinner without stress and maybe bring a little bit more joy back into those things.”

If just getting through basic tasks in the kitchen feels hard, she says, that’s a good indicator that you need some organizational structure in place. “That can really alleviate that stress and make it more fun to do the things that you need to do in your day,” La Fond adds.
 
Plus, the more beautiful your pantry is, the more likely you are to want to maintain it—meaning you’ll be well-organized for years to come. 
 
Once you’ve added color to your pantry, you’re ready for the next step: Discover more tips on how to makeover your pantry.

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