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  • Writer's pictureNicole Strachan

Decanting Pantry Basics

Having a tidy and organized pantry is one of the most crucial areas of the home for keeping life organized and simple. Depending on the person you are, you either love or hate to be in the kitchen but, no matter which side of the spectrum you are on you want ease and practicality from this room. If you hate the kitchen you want to grab and go! You want what you want when you want it. God forbid you have to cook you want this meal cooked and done in 30 mins or less. Now If you love this space you want seamless transitions from cupboard, to counter, to sink, to stove. This is your oasis and you want to flow through your elaborate kitchen creations and know exactly what you have on hand so your culinary masterpiece lacks no detail to big or small. My simple solution to storage in this room is to decant.


What is Decanting

Decanting? I thought only wine was decanted? Traditionally wine is what we are used to hearing this term in reference to, but the term and practice has grown to mean a little more. In the home organizing world decanting refers to storing your items in storage containers. Spices or flour are a common example of items we decant, but there is so much more we can decant in the kitchen.


Why Decant

Before we go into what we can decant, let's go into the whys we decant first:

  • It creates ease. It's really easy to scoop out the sugar from a structured container VS. the mess created when trying to measure when pouring it from a crumpled, tattered paper bag

  • Keeps your items fresh and keeps pets and pests out. Your spices will last longer and taste better when sealed in an airtight container, your brown sugar stays softer, your flour wont attract weevils

  • It adds space to your pantry. By eliminating the packaging you are able to keep more of the same items contained vs. having different shaped and sized boxes or bags toppling all over each other or worse, having them stacked on unsightly storage solutions.

  • It's more economical and environmentally friendly. The more you practice decanting the less waste you will invite into your home and the less you will spend on duplicate items.

  • Saves time. It's really easy to know you need granola bars when planning a grocery store trip by glancing at a depleting clear container vs. searching for and digging in a box you thought had stuff in it but your 14 year old left 2 empty boxes in the cupboard and the 2 year old ONLY eats those type of granola bars and now you have to run to the store to buy them before a tantrum happens.


What Can We Decant

Short answer, everything. Longer (but succinct) answer start with a couple of your pantry basics like rice, flour, spices, sugar, pasta, beans, tea and coffee and eggs. Starting with the basics will allow you to find the groove of what systems/containers do and don't work for you with out a huge investment. Once you figure your brand of containers expand what you are decanting to more unique items like: granola bars, nuts, chocolate chips, produce, Oreos, coffee pods, cooking oils and well everything.



How To Decant

  • Use canisters for dry goods and baskets for small items. Dry goods like beans, nuts flour need to be in airtight containers like canisters. Prepacked snacks and tiny packages can go into baskets.

  • Look for a line of kitchen storage containers you like functionally then aesthetically. I always put function first, because it doesn't matter how cute something is if it doesn't work it will only frustrate you.


  • Buy matching systems as this keeps your organization functional and aesthetically pleasing. a big part of decanting is to minimize the visual clutter, so if you have some green, some purple some blue different shaped storage systems you will only be creating a problem for your self. They are called systems because they work with each other and are more efficient with each other. You want items that nest together, stack together etc...

  • Buy as much in bulk as you can. Bulk allows you to buy in non-standard quantities so you do not over stuff your containers. In addition to that it also costs less, and has less packaging

  • Label your items. You can use labels, dry erase makers or chalkboard labels. This is all dependent on your style. My only rules with labels are make them visible and

  • Do not decant or label one off ingredients, instead have a miscellaneous category for them, usually in a basket. One offs are the new ingredient you are testing out and probably won't buy again, or those special occasion items that are only bought once a year.

  • Commit to the process and be practical. Good quality food storage containers are not cheap, so work purchasing some new containers into to your shopping budget every month or so until you have your pantry the way you want it.


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