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Should I Decant My Pantry Items?


I always get the same question from my clients: "should I decant my pantry items?" My answer is always the same — it all depends.

Decanting a 5-pound bag of flour into an OXO Pop 4.4-quart container

There is no doubt about it, decanting looks fantastic, and the process does have some upsides. But here's the reality of decanting everyone needs to know...

  • Decanting is way more complicated than it looks. It can be a time-consuming, tedious, and messy chore. In addition, it takes time to pour your items into their appropriate containers every time you go to the store.

  • There will be back stock — especially if you buy in bulk. So, if your purpose is to make more space, your backstock will still take up a good amount of real estate in your pantry or cupboards.

  • Matching and nice-looking containers are expensive. It can get costly fast if you're decanting to get the uniform look and picture-perfect pantry. OXO Pop Containers are my canisters of choice, and one small bin starts at around $8.00 and can go up to $26.00.

So, if you love the idea of decanting but are unsure about the additional steps and costs that come with it, I suggest you start small and find containers that hold your usual supply. Here's a good starting point:

Labeling Pantry Items

I'm not super into labeling, and I don't think you need to label everything — especially if the contents inside a clear container are apparent. However, if you want to include labels on your canisters, here are my three tips:

  1. Label only your pantry staples and not the things that will not frequently change (think flour, sugar, salt, etc.)

  2. Create labels that you can reuse if you do end up switching containers, like these dry erase labels from The Container Store

  3. Make your own labels, and don't worry about outsourcing from Etsy or other small shops — The Brother PTouch Label Maker is awesome

If you have questions about decanting or wondering what size containers you should buy, head over to my Instagram page and send me DM or email works great too. I'd love to help you create your perfect pantry.