Organization as Art

I know what you’re thinking. Is this a post about the art of organizing? Well, no it’s not. I want to share my thoughts with you on organization as art. Yes, organizing, and well-organized areas can look like a piece of art and provide the same joy that artwork does.

The Beauty of Simplicity

I take aesthetic pleasure in so many of the spaces in my house. Whether it’s a well-organized drawer, spice cabinet, pantry, or an entire room, I love the peaceful serenity that an orderly space provides.

Elana Pantry Jars

Elana’s Pantry

The photo on the left is a quick snap of my pantry, the namesake of this website!

The jars in my pantry are full of herbs like dried ginger, licorice, and dandelion; spices such as cinnamon, star anise, and pepper; and assorted items including poppy seeds, dried orange peel, and whole stevia leaf.

I collected the jars over the years and it still amazes me that they were “free” and came with the food that was purchased in them. The jars shown on the left contained organic olives that my boys and I loved, but you could just as easily collect jars from almond butter or coconut oil. Anything that you use repeatedly will result in a full set when saved over a year or two!

Elegant Simplicity

The photo to the left is of my mason jar cabinet. Those are jars I paid for. I keep an entire cabinet of empty mason jars at the ready for food storage, leftover containment, and organizing around the house.

This shot is of the gorgeously simple pulls on the cabinet. They feel great in my hands, are easy to use and elegant in their true simplicity.

The first thing people say when they walk in my kitchen is why so many mason jars?! Some people have a dark cabinet with tons of plastic storage containers that they have to rummage through several times a day. I have an orderly cabinet of mason jars at my fingertips for quick and easy use!

Check out my post called, 10 Reasons Glass is Better than Plastic, to learn more about healthy living and to get another glimpse into my well-organized kitchen!

Elana Spice Drawer

Simple Spice Grid

This photo is of my spice drawer. That’s right, I keep my spices in a drawer. This way I can see the top of all of the bottles, which is where I place the labels that identify the contents of each jar of spice.

I use a label maker as specified above to label the jars, but if you have neat handwriting it looks beautiful to hand letter them.

A friend of mine built this organizer, but you could probably turn it into a wonderful DIY project or ask your handyman to make you one.

I find the rhythmic simplicity of this grid that holds the spices so aesthetically satisfying. This drawer system works better than any other that I’ve tried over the years!

Organizing As Art

Baskets for Laundry Room Shelves

These beautiful, yet totally functional baskets are for the shelves in our laundry room. I bought them over a decade ago and found similar ones for you here. I label the baskets with a label maker and store a variety of items in them from compost bags to stain removal items and much more.

My Kitchen

This shot is of my kitchen. If you look closely you can see that the kitchen counter is full of stuff! That’s the way a working kitchen looks.

The basic structures of the kitchen are incredibly simple and symmetrical. I find symmetry to be a wonderfully calming principle whether I’m designing a home (ours), or styling food for a photo shoot.

I think I have good taste, though I don’t know anyone who claims to have poor taste. I’m not sure if I was born with this or developed it in college taking Art History classes. I’ve loved styling our spaces and making them incredibly functional while visually soothing. I met Mr. Pantry in 1992, he has an amazing eye in terms of design and has taught me a lot over the years. His mother is a professional artist with works in the Metropolitan Museum. I’m incredibly lucky to be surrounded by these types of aesthetes.

Organization as Art

So now you see that art is everywhere in your everyday surroundings. Keeping your home organized is not only functional but creates a thing of beauty. What’s your favorite organizational technique that leads to artful simplicity in your home? Leave a comment and let me know!

As always, thank you for all you do in helping people in their quest for wellness. I simply LOVE your kitchen space! Gives me ideas for my new home. Thank you again!


66 responses to “Organization as Art”

  1. Thank you for these ideas! My father used this principle for years…he used empty coffee jars to store nails in his workshop! I particularly like your spice jar storage in a drawer…I will adopt this after I clear out one of my kitchen drawers.

  2. Spices deteriorate after 6 months. I keep those I use less in small quantities in the freezer.

    I love all you do! This post is the best! Thanks!

    I would like to share some authentic Tuscan recipes that are a couple of hundred years old that I converted to g-f. You can use them for free if you’re interested.

    Happy 2020!


    • Judith, thanks for letting me know you love all I do! Feel free to share your recipes here in the comments section, I love it when my readers do that :-)

  3. Inspiring. I think I see cinnamon sticks in both the cupboard and the drawer. Do you do many duplicates? What jars do you use for your spices?

    • Dorothy, thanks for your comment!I keep duplicates for items I go through quickly. The spice jars I use are from a set I bought 25 years ago when we lived in NYC :-)

  4. I love this! I just bought some Mason jars, and it has revolutionized how I store my bone broth. Thank you for the idea! Someone once told me “there is peace in order and beauty in simplicity” and that is exactly what you present here! So beautiful Elana, thank you!

  5. Your home is so beautiful! I love how you have everything laid out. I have hopes for something similar but your place is so small with a kitchen with size of a postage stamp, its hard to get things organized without it looking like pure clutter. You did motivate me to get my spice “section” in order though!

  6. Thank you for sharing pictures of your home. I love being organized as well, and also label everything in my house. I recently moved and it was great to sort through things and get even better organized in my new house. My husband also loves to be organized and labels everything as well. He even has labels on his tool chest. Guests walk into our garage and are like there is nothing in here. We have cabinets and everything is stored in a cabinet or in a bin on a shelf in the cabinet. I find it so relaxing to have everything stored properly and labels. I have my spices in a drawer too but with a spice rack. I’m going to switch them all to glass containers – thank you for that tip! and I love your recipes – especially the carrot cake. I made it for a dinner party last night and people could not believe it was GF and made with almond flour.

    • Carol, I loved your comment! I too find it relaxing when everything is stored properly and labeled. Thanks for letting me know that you love my recipes and that when you made my Carrot Cake no one could believe it was GF :-)

  7. Beautiful! What do you use in the freeher? I have tried mason jars, ut even with proper head sapce they frequently break. Also, how do you measure flours with out making a mess? Thanks!

    • Tracy, I use 1 quart mason jars (a quart = 4 cups) in the freezer and only fill them with 3 cups of liquid which works very well. I keep measuring cups in my flours and it is incredibly efficient!

  8. Elana you are full of inspiration and creativity, your home is stunning inviting and extremely organized did not expect any thing less. Do have to say the labels on top of the spice jars great idea. I switched over to all glass containers about 5 years years ago, absolutely the best decision ever, also incorporated Baskets and Boxes with lids to stay organized.Love the clean, simple, elegant functional look as well, it takes a well organized person to fallow through with this on a daily Basis. I think Mr. Pantry and the Boys are extremely helpful in keeping things organized and that is very helpful. I am ver grateful for all your Books, the wonderful healthy delicious healing recipes and the person that’s behind all of it! Thanks so much I am very fortunate & honored to have found you.

    • Linda, thanks for your incredible comment! Mr. Pantry and the boys aren’t always on top of things when it comes to organizing, but they have gotten so much better over the years! I know this sounds silly, but I’ve tried to make cleaning a fun family activity that we do together. Sometimes it works and we have quality time while we sort through things. One of my boys actually cleans his room without being asked which I think is incredible! I’m so happy that you are enjoying my recipes and find them healthy and delicious. Great to get to know you here! :-)

  9. Hi Elana. There is such beauty in simplicity. I love my label maker, and label almost everything :-) My best friend thinks it is hilarious, but than again, she is a free spirit and completely unstructured (and late a lot!)


    • Shannon, label loving humans need to stick together ;-) and I think my website is a great place for us organized folks to congregate!

      • I agree totally. Labels and tags are to me an art form; whether elaborately embellished or beautifully utilitarian. I thoroughly enjoyed this post. And your kitchen is divine!

  10. Bonjour ! You are so precious Elana! Bundle of Joy to read you. This article about plastic and glass jars is going to give me the swing to get rid of all my plastic container and to organise my pantry with glass jars. I was wondering if the plastic container are bad just for storing food or if they are bad to have it in our house.( by the way, I have multiple chemicals sensivity and also hypersensitivity to electricity and wifi and haschimoto). Thanks for all your sharing, I feel no longer alone.I did every recipe in your cook book MIAM! But now,I can no longer eat sugar ( any kind) ,neither almonds …But your lemon perfect roasted chicken is on the menu every week!

    • Lynne, thanks for your lovely comment! I think you will love switching over to glass jars. They’re so beautiful and functional! I am very careful about bringing plastic into our house and when the boys were little did not buy any plastic toys for them, everything was wooden or metal. That’s because plastic contains endocrine disrupting chemicals that can off-gas and are harmful to us and the environment. And since you’ve changed your diet, here are some recipes for you that do not contain sweeteners:

      I’m so thrilled to get to know you here!

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