Pantry Organization with Mason Jars

Magnetic labels on mason jars make food storage easy.

Magnetic labels on mason jars make food storage easy.

A little confession. I think about food a lot. I mean, a lot. Not with a sense of hungering longing, but in how it connects us to the world. What creatures died for this food to live? How did the sunlight feel on the soil as it grew? And so on.

To appreciate food, why not liberate it from the shadowy depths of kitchen cabinets? And why not go a bit further, and celebrate its form by shedding the original packaging?

Enter mason jars and magnetic tape. Simply place food in jars, print labels, and arrange however works for you.

I sort the ingredients alphabetically and keep a separate section for duplicate jars of ingredients purchased in bulk.

Surplus goods are easy to  find to replenish the main selection on an adjacent shelf.

Surplus goods on an adjacent shelf.

Benefits of Mason Jar Organization

  • Easy to find ingredients in the midst of exuberant cooking.
  • You know exactly how much you have. Tip: look at those measuring marks on the jar!
  • Inventorying everything for replacing provisions takes about ten seconds.
  • You’ll use the ingredients you have—no redundant purchases of items lurking in the back of a cabinet.
  • Easier bulk purchasing for less plastic in your life.

Do It Yourself

Food is beautiful when freed of brand labels and marketing messages.

Food is beautiful when freed of brand labels and marketing messages.

I get a lot of questions about what I store in mason jars and how to create the labels. To answer both, here are a few links that might be helpful:

It’s a fun project, and it will help connect you to your food. And it might deepen your relationship with the world. Just saying, it might.

Pantry organization with labeled mason jars

Pantry organization with labeled mason jars.

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8 Responses

  1. Kate says:

    Where did you find the shallow bookcase to store your jars? If it’s something you modified would you please share how? Thank you!

    • Shane says:

      Good question! The bookcase is built-in original house construction from 1955, a few 1×6 boards screwed together with 1×2 trim around the perimeter. It’s fastened directly to the wall by added trim supports at the top, a little over halfway down, and at the base.

      If I were to rebuild this storage unit from scratch (which I would totally do in a new house), I would make it even shallower by using 1×5 boards. Hope this helps, and happy organization!

  2. Marian says:

    I have a tiny pantry and want to build a shelf for mason jars. This is EXACTLY what I want to make! Thanks for the description, timing is perfect!

  3. Olga says:

    Hi there! How do you keep track of expiration dates on these?

    • Shane says:

      I’m glad you asked! For dry goods I don’t track expiration since the jar organization helps me use the ingredients more continuously. For fermented foods I write the dates on the lids with dry erase markers, color coded by production batch. (Color coded because if a date becomes illegible with use, I’ll have a reference on the other jars.)

  4. Sue Vey says:

    Only suggestion would be to add “furring strips” low on each shelf to keep jars from rattling off and onto the floor in case of an earthquake.

  1. October 4, 2016

    […] sau, pentru condimente poti lipi mici magneti pe capace si apoi sa le depozitezi asa cum vezi in imaginea de mai jos care este un bun exemplu de organizare a […]

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