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6 Tips for Open Shelf Organization

Oh, Open Shelving… so beautiful, yet so impractical. It can be hard to keep open shelving looking good unless you like like you are in a museum. We have open shelving in our new kitchen, so I thought I’d share a few tips I’ve learned from organization the shelves in our new home.

6 Tips for Open Shelf Organization | Oh Happy Day!

6 Tips for Open Shelf Organization | Oh Happy Day!6 Tips for Open Shelf Organization | Oh Happy Day!

1. Edit, Edit, Edit. If you like the open shelving look get ready to put on your editor’s hat. Time to get rid of everything that isn’t beautiful and useful. Donate, sell, or gift all those extra things you don’t need.

2. More is More. Now’s the time to show off ALL your pretty dishes and kitchen supplies. Open shelves look best when they’re filled up with pretty things, so pull out those shiny pots and pans, matching dishes, cake stands, cookbooks, colanders, & colorful mixing bowls.

3. Everything in It’s Place. Once the items have been edited down, spend an hour or so experimenting with placing items on the shelf. Take a picture and even label things until you get used to it. There should be a place for everything and everything in it’s place.

4. Catch-alls Make Perfect. It is impossible to keep your shelves looking good all the time. The key is to plan for it. When you have a busy week (or month!) a basket can hide some of the things that accumulate so your shelves still look good until you have time to get to it.

5. Show off Pretty Packaging. Certain items like olive oil get prime real estate on the counter top. If I know something is going to be sitting out it’s worth the little extra to buy the stuff in the beautiful bottle.

6. Decant. When I unload my groceries I empty things like rice and cereal into clear containers. It not only makes it more beautiful to look at but easier to use and keep fresh too.

We used these boxes from Target in the kitchen and these and this in pantry. (I also really lovethese!)

6 Tips for Open Shelf Organization | Oh Happy Day!6 Tips for Open Shelf Organization | Oh Happy Day!6 Tips for Open Shelf Organization | Oh Happy Day!

This post is sponsored by Target.

Photos by Paul Ferney for Oh Happy Day

  1. Julie Gallagher

    January 21, 2015

    love the red – and your SMEG of course!

  2. LARY@Inspiration Nook

    January 21, 2015

    Just awesome! Love the tips. Looking forward to having open shelving one day.

  3. Katie

    January 21, 2015

    This is so timely! We just moved into a place with NO storage, and though we were able to find me used cabinets that we put up, it was only enough for our groceries. So, to be economical, we settled on open shelving for our dishes, and I’ve been so worried about all our ugly, plastic cups and mismatched plates! But I’m also excited to start buying really pretty things to show off up there 🙂 A balance!


  4. Bernadette

    January 21, 2015

    Love this – would you be able to share your pantry essentials/staples to whip together meals? Something I always struggle with!

  5. .

    January 21, 2015

    *Everything in Its Place

  6. Cuckoo Luckoo

    January 21, 2015

    Okay, nice, beautiful, clean, spare. But what do you do about all the dust/kitchen grease that accumulates on the shelves and everything on them? THAT’s what I want to get tips on!

  7. Noelle

    January 21, 2015

    Thank you for sharing tips, any suggestions for spice racks/jars, I’ve been having a conundrum trying to find a nice spice storage set up, thanks!

  8. Circa1972

    January 21, 2015

    Where did you find those shelf brackets??

  9. Lili Levy-Snips Entwined

    January 21, 2015

    Jordan and Paul, What type of lights did you use to shoot the inside of your pantry? The photos look great(as does your kitchen)!

  10. Hayley

    January 21, 2015

    Ditto on those shelf brackets – would love to know the maker. Gorgeous!

  11. Hayley

    January 21, 2015

    Oops – found your bracket link from a different post. Thanks!

  12. kristen

    January 21, 2015

    It’s beautiful! Really great job. But, don’t you stock up with more food than that, normally?

  13. J

    January 21, 2015

    What about dust and grease? My main pet peeves about open shelves in the kitchen….

  14. Lara

    January 22, 2015

    Oh my! Just lovely…

  15. Gia

    January 22, 2015

    Great post, especially about how to keep it tidy when it’s been busy. One more tip I’d add is that many of those great display bottles are expensive (like the olive oil). I like to buy them just once and then refil them from a less expensive bulk version jug or can. Great olive oil is available at a nice discount if you buy it bigger and you can keep the beautiful bottles to display and use.

  16. Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch

    January 24, 2015

    Love this post! Great tips! Thanks so much.

  17. Lauren Gillihan

    January 24, 2015

    We have similar shelves in our girl’s bedroom for toys/bins. They work great. We purchased ours at Costco. We are considering open shelves for the renovation in our Boston civil war-era home. Thank you for the pointers!

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