How Many Bottles Of Salad Dressing Are In Your Pantry?


Liz Jenkins


Pantry Organization made simple…

I recently organized a pantry with a client and she had a lot of bottles of salad dressings & marinades. A lot. She kept buying them because she couldn’t tell how many she already had, and, you know, they were on sale.

I see this often – not just in pantries but all over the house. If you can’t find something, well then, go get another. This not only wastes your money, but your time. The main goal of organizing is to be able to find what you need when you need it. This is especially true for pantries. Who wants to dig around in a bunch of bottles & cans, wondering what to make for dinner?

So here’s what you do with an out of control pantry:

  1. Empty it.
  2. Sort the contents by use. I usually sort in the following groups:
    • canned vegetables
    • soups and canned foods such as ravioli or tuna
    • prepackaged meals (hamburger helper, mac & cheese, etc.)
    • cereals & breakfast foods
    • condiments & sauces
    • drinks (juices, sodas, etc.)
    • baking (flour, sugar, chocolate chips, etc.)
    • staples such as corn meal, bread crumbs, shortening, etc.
    • snack foods and/or kids foods
    • other categories of foods that are particular to your household
  3. Discard any items that are out of date, dented or are just not something that anyone in the household likes or will actually eat and then CLEAN the pantry!
  4. Replace items in the pantry placing the most used items at body level – where they can be most easily reached, and place other items farther away that are not used as often. Group like items with like. So, in other words, all of the veggies go together and the salad dressings go together.
    Tip: If you are an avid baker, canner or other type of kitchen foodie, consider creating a cabinet or shelf just for this endeavor. I love to bake, so I have one whole cabinet that contains all of my baking supplies including the pans & muffin tins.
  5. Use shelf stackers for cans and jars, and bins to corral smaller packages.
  6. Consider installing a hanging storage rack on the inside of the door if possible for cans, beverages or spices such as this one.

The re-organization can be done very cost effectively. Bins are inexpensive and the stackers are available on as well as at places like Target or Walmart.

Tip: I like to give the kids one shelf or large bin for snacks. Pre-package pretzels or trail mix in small bags or containers, and put in a bin with juice boxes, granola bars, boxes of raisins or whatever your kids like to eat.


Before and after images, click the thumbnails to see enlarged images.