I love using jars for beautiful but practical storage systems in our home. I use them for everything…from keeping odds and ends from room to room organized, to storing clothespins together, to housing a rainbow of crayons in our craft basket, to arranging and displaying the contents in our medicine cabinet just *so*. Your basic, clear jar is a simple but charming way to store the smaller items in your home. One of my favorite methods of glass jar storage is how we use them in our kitchen pantry. They just happen to be the perfect thing for storing your dry goods.
When we moved into this old house one of the first things I started taking note of was its lack of closet space. We have one closet for linens upstairs and that’s pretty much it, other than a couple in the bedrooms. Don’t get me wrong, homes from the 1920’s are dreamy! But they do have some downsides like everything else. Like our last home that was 800 square feet with no storage whatsoever, we have had to be rather creative when to comes to where to put things. We rely on all sorts of containers, make-shift closets like a cupboard or cabinet, and our basement for bigger items. Honestly, Andrew and I really don’t care for storing things down there unless of course we have to and it’s something like Christmas decor or special newborn pieces I’m keeping hold of just in case. 😉
I decided when unpacking our kitchen boxes to utilize our original Shaker style cabinets for dry pantry goods, like rice and beans and dry ingredients for baking, right alongside our everyday items like plates, bowls, and cups. I did the same at our old place on the open shelving we installed because there was literally little to no storage in our tiny shotgun kitchen. I know some of you out there are familiar with this style. In our current home, the beautiful but transparent glass doors on our cabinets mean you can’t really shove things in there willy nilly and get away with it. Or I suppose you could, but the organizer in me isn’t going to have that. I even organize the inside of my cupboards that aren’t see-though, because I really enjoy the process of organizing and it makes it easier do find this or that.
I think pretty organization is key if it’s going to be visible. My mom had passed down a few of these jars from her vintage collection years ago but I found the rest at Walmart for a really good price. They’re not vintage but they are pretty much identical to the select old ones I have. I love that they come in three sizes, giving me more storage for sugar and flour. You can find them here. And then there’s the whole knowing what’s inside said glass jars, because you think you’ll be able to remember that this particular shade of white is indeed arrow root powder, but you won’t. Trust me. No one wants to be in a frenzy sticking their noses (or fingers) in various containers to see if this or that is flour or sugar or soda or wheat when in the middle of a recipe. You gotta label them! Again, to no surprise, I use my DYMO embossing label maker for this. I am warning you, once you get one of these labelers you will get a little slap happy and start going nuts for fun. I think it’s a thing the Monica Geller’s of the world can only fully appreciate. With that, have fun making your kitchen pantry all purdy guys!
Carolyn - I love storing things in jars but my hangup is what do you do about the directions on the bags you just tossed? I, for one, can never remember how to properly cook rice, or Israeli couscous, or millet, and rely on the packaging quite often. same with pasta! So many people store their pasta in containers but depending on the noodle, they can have significantly different cooking times. Am I the only one who struggles with this? Quick question: can the labels go through the dishwasher? Beautiful kitchen, Amanda!
Daniella - I have the same problem as Carolyn! Ha! I want to organize everything neatly, but then i’m like, “How do I cook this?!”
I’m also wondering if that type of label comes off easily. I’ve tried writing on the lids, or stickers… but it’s a pain to switch up.
Love your blog!
Daniella - I’m also curious… if it doesn’t all fit in a jar at once… what does everyone do with the half empty packs?
admin - Daniella, I store those rubber banded in a rubber made bin under one of my cabinets. I usually try and find the right jar size for the contents, but it’s not always a match! x Amanda
admin - Daniella, the labels stick really well but also can come off if you want to change them. Stickers are such a pain, yes? And as far as how to cook something, just cut off the prep instructions and stick them in a recipe tin. You’ll have them there if you need it! x Amanda
Rebecca Huff - As for the label, if it is cardboard or plastic you can cut it out and tuck it in with the food (like rolled up inside the jar)… for things I can’t cut, I usually take a picture on my phone and store it in an “album” Kinda funny to do that but hey, ya do what ya gotta do!
Samantha - Perhaps you could cut off the part of the package with the cooking directions and tape it on the bottom of the jar? Sneaky hiding spot 🙂
Desiree Fawn - I do exactly that for mine 🙂 Especially for oatmeal and rice since I used to mess those up all the time depending on the type. I just cut it out and stick it inside, or I’ll tape it to the bottom of the lid if it’s small enough.
admin - Samantha, great idea! I same my packages and cut out the prep instructions and tuck that away in a recipe jar. It works well! x Amanda
admin - Carolyn, great questions! I cut off the preparation directions and put them in my recipe tin. The labels can go through the dishwasher, but I don’t recommend it. They could potentially come off and get stuck in the machine. I’d just hand wash. x Amanda
Jameson - Everything you touch is beautiful! I revamped my pantry like this when we moved into our house with the “le parfait” clip jars that come in all sizes too Including a 3 liter size that I have the most of. Thank you for sharing your labeling idea…. Until now I have either been trying to remember the items, or leaving a piece of the box or bag inside the jar that came with the contents. But this is much prettier. I may have to put that label maker on my wish list!
Laura Johns - YESS!! i do the same – glass storage and dymo embossed labels for EVERYTHING! 🙂
admin - Laura, everything is right! Woo! x Amanda
Natalie - These cupboards are huge, would love some! I need to reorganise our cupboards as I find food gets wasted. Definitely want to make some of those lovely jars too, simple yet more personal. X
admin - Natalie, that’s my biggest issue with bigger storage anywhere in our home. Things get lost or go unnoticed. I suppose that’s a plus for small-storage homes! x Amanda
Hayley - We love storing our dry food in glass jars! hiw do you mark the expiration date on things? Do youwait to refill the jar until you’ve used all of the first “batch” of the contents?
admin - Hayley, we tend to use everything within a year, but if you’re worried about that you could always label it under the bottom of the jar for reference. I always wait to refill as well. We tend to use the same brand of dry goods each time they need a refill, but not always. Waiting ensures even cooking times. x Amanda
Beka Johnson - How lovely!
Our kitchens are very similar. Mine have the glass doors as well but the bottom cabinets are an espresso and the hardware is more modern.
People always ask me if it is hard to keep my shelves organized and I tell them that they would be this organized whether or not I had glass =) I think it is really fun to display things. I love your big jars and they are lovely. I have flour and sugar displayed on the open too. I have hand painted tea cups displayed higher and every day use on the bottom.
I totally love our 1925 home but it does have some down features and I try not to store too much in the basement either. =)
admin - Beka, cheers to 1920’s homes!! So fun to have an old, beautiful kitchen huh?! The basement is SUCH a different story. One day it won’t be entirely creepy. 🙂 x Amanda
Charlotte - Beautiful post! We use this system on open shelving system our pantry is so tiny. A simple idea beautifully photographed & written here.
Alison - I also love storing my pantry items in jars so they look pretty, but my question is what do you do with the half-full larger bags, boxes, and containers after you’ve poured them into your glass containers? Those are definitely not pretty and I never know what to do with them. Thank you!
And I think you mentioned this recently, but I would love a post about how you thrift shop.
admin - Alison, I store those rubber banded in a rubber made bin under one of my cabinets. I usually try and find the right jar size for the contents, but it’s not always a match! x Amanda
Ashley - Your kitchen pantry is what I wished mine looked like!
I also use glass jars for EVERYTHING…love them! I recently organized our pantry with glass jars and I love the aesthetic of it, plus the fact that I can see everything. I have yet to get a label maker, but I really should!
Jenni - I am loving those large jars for the bigger bulk things like flour! I have a mishmash of recycled jars that I currently use for dry good storage, but I have yet to find great jars for my flour or sugar. The hunt continues… 🙂 But now that I’ve realized how cheap a label maker is, I have a feeling I’m going to order one as soon as I’m done typing this comment! 😀
Adrienne - Organization is definitely not my strong suite. But I am realizing with the more children I have that it is absolutely essential! I love all kinds of mason jars and have quite the collection. Thanks to your post, I believe I will put them to good use in the pantry. Thanks so much for the inspiration! Absolutely love your cabinets, by the way.
Sarah Keller - Do you happen to have any posts about storage and organization in small kitchens? We went from a big, beautiful Victorian home in upstate NY to a small condo in Germany (and we’re a family of six), so trying to squeeze everything into this tiny kitchen here and actually keep it de-clutter is a constant uphill battle. By the way, our Victorian was super old and also had almost zero closet space, haha! So, I hear ya 🙂
Patricia Williams - Looking forward to this journey
Haley - I love this! I am trying to do the same thing in my kitchen – wondering what you do about pantry storage for snacks and/or canned goods?
Anna - Can you tell me the color of your kitchen cabinets here?I have followed you for years, love your old house and your new!