{organizing with style} Pretty Pantry Labels Three Ways + FREE PRINTABLE LABELS

Last week I shared my five steps for creating an organized and pretty pantry, and I gave you a tour of our pantry space. Over a year after first completing our pantry makeover, the space is functioning just as well today as it did on day one - and I believe we have the labels to thank for that!

Pretty Pantry Labels Three Ways

Without labels, our pantry would just be a sea of matching white bins. I would have a pretty good idea of what goes where, since I organized it to start with, but imagine my poor kids and husband! They would never be able to find things, and certainly wouldn't be able to help put groceries away without things quickly becoming a disorganized mess!

Pretty Pantry Labels Three Ways

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When labeling, there are two keys I always like to keep in mind - making it pretty and keeping it flexible. Certainly your labels don't have to be pretty to be functional, but over time I've discovered that when I take a few extra minutes to make thing pretty, I am much more likely to keep things in order so that the space stays pretty. Flexibility is also important, because no matter how well you plan a space, it's inevitable that your needs will change over time, so you're labels will need to be able to change to keep up with the times.

In our pantry, I used three different methods for labeling the baskets, drawers and canisters - each with varying degrees of flexibility depending on how frequently I anticipate the need to update the labels. 

BASKET LABELS.  The labels on the white stacking baskets identify major categories of food we keep in our pantry at all times. I anticipate that these categories will rarely change, so for these labels I focused on durability, but still maintained flexibility by simply tying them to the baskets, making it quick and easy to remove and replace a label if need be. 

Since these baskets will be constantly moved on and off of the shelves, it was vital that these labels be durable. I knew that simple paper labels wouldn’t hold up over time. Instead, I created heavier duty labels with a protective coating. To create these basket labels:

 I printed my labels on to card stock and cut them out;
(2) I glued each label to thin, medium weight chipboard {left over from creating my paint and fabric swatch kit} and trimmed the chipboard down to the same size as the labels before sealing each label with a coat of Mod Podge {over the top, back and sides of the labels};
(3) I inserted an small silver eyelet in the top corners of the labels using my Cropadile eyelet setter; and
(4) I then used black and white baker’s twine to tie each label onto my baskets.

Pantry Basket Lables

DRAWER LABELS.  Unlike the white baskets which contain major categories of food that we always have on hand, the contents of the drawers on the floor will change over time. Last year, when I first completed the pantry, two of these drawers contained baby food and formula. Since that time, our younger son has left the baby stage, and we have repurposed those drawers to store the small, reusable containers that we use for packing preschool lunches. Over time, the contents of the other drawers {like the one packed full of bibs} will also change. 

Since the contents of these drawers will change occasionally, I wanted to ensure that the labels could be updated from time to time. I considered using sticker paper, but I have found that the adhesive is strong and it can be difficult to cleanly remove. Instead, I used printable window decal film to label the drawer fronts, assuring that the labels will stay firmly in place until I choose to remove them, but will be easy to remove when the time comes to update them. To create these drawer labels:

(1) I printed the labels on to the window decal film and cut them out; 
(2) Then I peeled the decals from the backing and stuck them to the drawer fronts.

Pantry Drawer Labels

It only took one of the ten decal sheets in the package to label all of my drawers, leaving me with nine more sheets for the future {and I plan to use some of those extra sheets to help my boys make holiday decorations for our windows}. By using window decals to label the drawer fronts, I am assured that the labels will stay firmly in place until I choose to remove them, but will be easy to remove when the time comes.

CANISTER LABELS.  I addition to the baskets and drawers, I also used quite a few plastic screw top canisters in my pantry organization. When filling these canisters, I discarded the original packaging, but I wanted to retain the important information {like best by dates}. Since the contents of these canisters will change frequently as we use up items and purchase refills, I needed the canister labels to be very easy to updated.

Since the canisters will need to be washed from time to time, I opted to label the lids rather than the fronts of the containers. This way the canisters can be popped in the dishwasher, and the lids can be quickly wiped down. To create these canister labels:

(1) I used some colorful adhesive backed vinyl, which can be purchased at any craft store {mine was left over from prior projects {like this one, and this one, and this one};
(2) I cut traced circles on the backing of the vinyl, cut them out, and stuck them to the top of the canisters;
(3) Then I used a chalk marker to label the contents and the "best by" date.
(4) The chalk marker quickly wipes away with a damp cloth, and the labels are then ready to be marked with the new contents and date.

Pantry Canister Labels

FREE PRINTABLE PANTRY LABELS! Are you ready to get your pantry organized with some pretty labels? To get you started, you can download the labels that I used for our pantry baskets! Happy organizing!