12 Pantry Mistakes The Container Store Thinks You’re Making

Looking to give your kitchen pantry a makeover? Side-step these slip-ups to create a neat and tidy space with these tips from the ultimate storage experts.

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

1 / 13
via containerstore.com

Professional Pantry Organizing Tips

Have you ever wondered how a professional would recommend organizing your pantry? If so, click ahead for these tips from Cori Horsch,  buyer for kitchen at The Container Store. She shares how to correct the most common mistakes you might be making. While you’re at it, follow these 10 tips to organize your kitchen counters once and for all.

2 / 13
via containerstore.com

Mixing Categories

Grouping like with like is a basic rule of organizing—and one we should all try to follow according to Horsch. Think in terms of broad categories: contain all baking ingredients together and do the same for beverages, breakfast, canned goods, condiments, grains/pastas, and snack foods. That way “when looking for a specific item, you’ll know right where to go to find it,” Horsch explains. Keep your produce off the counter with this brilliant idea.

Shop Now

3 / 13
stasher bags
via containerstore.com

Losing Little Things

Container Store customers are obsessed with Stasher bags and for good reason. They are the perfect way to contain all the little things that get lost in the pantry, like seasoning packets and accessories for small appliances. Use the easy-to-see-through clear version or color-code by category. Keep your food fresh with these kitchen storage products.

Shop Now

4 / 13
turntable container
via containerstore.com

Wasting Space

You might be overlooking valuable pantry storage according to Horsch. Maximize every inch by using a shelf expander to add an extra layer of storage to your existing shelf. And solve those awkward corners with a customer favorite, The Home Edit Divided Lazy Susan. Have you ever wondered who is the Susan in the “Lazy Susan?”

Shop Now

5 / 13
tray divider
via containerstore.com

Piling Instead of Filing

Stacking stuff is a big mistake; when you pull something from the bottom, you risk an avalanche. Use dividers to divvy up the space so you can slide things in and out with ease. To save time, try storing pot and pan lids, baking sheets, food storage containers, and even lunch bags this way. Take a look at these kitchen cabinet dividers for some ideas.

Shop Now

6 / 13
bin label clip
via containerstore.com

Guessing What’s Inside

Horsch has a simple solution to the problem of not knowing what’s inside the storage container; apply re-usable write-on labels. Or better yet, she suggests for a clean look and so you can see what it is you use clear containers. They eliminate the need for guessing what’s in there and how much is left. Looking for more label inspiration? These clever kitchen cabinet and pantry storage ideas will keep things in plain view.

Shop Now

7 / 13
shelf liner
via containerstore.com

Having Sticky Shelves

Shelf protectors do more than just protect the shelf, they make it, “very easy to wipe up the mess with a wet rag or paper towel,” Horsch says. And the Montauk Open-Front Bin “is your best friend for spills!” Store messy marinades and sticky sauces inside and if anything spills, they’re washable. Check out these 16 pantry organization ideas you’ll wish you knew before.

Shop Now

8 / 13
open front bin
via containerstore.com

Not Unboxing

Horsch’s habit of opening and dumping could not be easier and it makes so much sense. She recommends designating “reach in bins for categories like protein bars, chocolate, snacks, and easy-to-grab single-serve foods. Then get in the habit of opening the bulk box and dumping the food into the bin.” Follow these tips to store stuff you buy in bulk.

Shop Now

9 / 13
via containerstore.com

Picking the Wrong Storage Containers

The wrong containers can cost you money, time, and space. If they are not airtight, “like the hard to keep in stock ProKeeper,” then Horsch reminds us, “you’ll have to re-buy food that goes stale.” If they are not labeled or see-through you may overbuy or not restock in time and risk running out. And if they do not stack then you’re wasting valuable pantry space. Keep your food containers straight with this little hack.

Shop Now

10 / 13
spice shelf
via containerstore.com

Always Alphabetizing

Instead of wasting time reciting the alphabet, Horsch prefers to simply, “keep the most often used items up front for easy access.”

These are 21 Container Store products professional organizers use in their homes.

Shop Now

11 / 13
stepping stool
via containerstore.com

Not Using a Step Stool

Less convenient spots, like a fourth shelf, are “perfect to store back stock (like those extra boxes of chicken broth) or rarely used items” according to Horsch. But you might need a step stool to help you reach it safely. She suggests keeping a slim, folding, step stool in your pantry so you can easily reach those up high spaces. Check out this super simple step stool that works everywhere.

Shop Now

12 / 13
gravity can feeder
via containerstore.com

Forgetting to Rotate

If you keep re-stocking with the new in front, you risk forgetting to use the cans in the back before they expire. Horsch recommends using a gravity can feeder; simply fill from the top and it will dispense from the bottom. That way you are always using your back stock first.

Get a better look at your spices with this instant spice rack upgrade.

Shop Now

13 / 13
garbage can
via containerstore.com

Skipping the Edit

“Once your pantry is set-up and everything has a place, maintaining it will take minimal effort,” Horsch explains. During the purge process remove anything you’ll never use, like a gift set of sauces in flavors you don’t like and relocate these 15 foods you should never keep in your pantry.

These are foods you’re storing all wrong.

Shop Now

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest