From baking ingredients to snacks and pasta, it’s easy to let your kitchen pantry get disorganized. Whether you have a walk-in pantry, a pull-out pantry, or a small pantry that’s short on space, keeping this part of your home organized can be a real challenge. Fortunately, with suitable organizational materials and some ingenuity, anyone can manage their pantry like a pro, no matter what type or size it happens to be. Read on for some easy ways you can keep your pantry space nice and tidy, so you’ll always be able to find the things you need fast.
Steps to Start Your Pantry Organization
Start your pantry organization project with these steps.
Clean it out. You can’t organize a closet without cleaning it out, and the same applies to your pantry. Begin by removing every item from the pantry so that the entire area is completely empty. This is an excellent time to throw out expired items or that you know you will never eat. Consider donating un-expired items to your local food bank or another reputable charity. Once the pantry is empty, wipe down all the shelves and clean the walls and floors, so you have a clean slate to start fresh.
Create an inventory. Take a close look at what you have, and separate each item by group. You can even jot down the items you have so that you can determine what other items you might need to buy to make your pantry complete. This is a perfect time to start a new shopping list and think about what your pantry might be missing.
Categorize. Separate all of the items in the pantry by type. For example, dry goods like rice and pasta can be in one category, while baking ingredients like sugar and flour can be in another. You should also create a category for snacks, pet supplies, and canned foods. Designate a separate space for tea and coffee items so you can make a fast, hot cup in the morning.
Use containers, bins, and jars. The best way to organize a pantry is to keep items from each category in separate containers. A large bin or clear jars with a lid will make it easy to corral all of your items in separate places so that they’re together yet separated from items in another category.
Label. Label each container, bin, basket, or jar so you know exactly what’s in it. You can use sticker labels and a marker, print them using your computer, or use small chalkboard tags. Make sure the text is large and easy to read so you can grab what you need fast.
Make a kid-friendly area. Designate one part of your pantry for the kids’ snacks so they can easily access items they want. Place these items on a lower shelf so little ones don’t have to reach up on their tippy-toes or be tempted to try and grab something high up that they can’t reach.
Easy Pantry Storage Tips
Try these pantry storage ideas and tips to help keep your kitchen pantry organized.
Use clear containers. From boxes made of acrylic to Mason jars, clear containers make finding all your staples quick and easy. Clear containers are perfect for beans, rice, pasta or sugar, flour, and coffee.
Use straw bins. A nice set of matching straw bins is perfect for small snacks and boxed meals. Attach a label to each straw bin so you can keep different categories of items separated.
Turn shelves into pull-out drawers. If you have a large walk-in pantry, consider converting stationary shelves into drawers that you can pull out to grab the things you need.
Use drawer separators and organizers. Add a few drawer separators to keep cooking utensils, tea bags, and other small items in their place. Drawer organizers are flat, partitioned bins that make finding stuff much easier than having to dig through a drawer full of random, haphazard items.
Use a library ladder for walk-in pantries. A library ladder with wheels makes it easy to reach high-up items in a walk-in pantry. This handy tool is a great way to get more vertical storage, since it helps you grab what you need from the top shelf safely.
Install door storage. Get more from your pantry by using the inside of the doors for storage. You can do this by adding some fabric pockets to hold items like spice packets, or install some wire shelving so you have more room to hold small, lightweight food items.
Labeling. Proper labeling is the key to an organized food pantry. Make sure your labels are clearly written and easy to read and that they include the name of the item or the category where multiple items are being stored. You can also print your labels from the computer. Just make sure that you use the right label print template, so they come out perfect.
Use different container sizes and shapes. A multitude of containers will help make the pantry more customized. Choose large clear airtight containers for cereal and smaller containers for items like bags of tea or spices.
Use a storage cart. If you have a small pantry, consider adding a storage cart with wheels to the inside. This will make it a breeze to move things in and out so you can easily access them, then put everything away when you’re done so it stays out of sight.
Install a pegboard. A pegboard can be a great way to hang and organize your cooking utensils just like you’d find one in a garage to organize tools. You can also use the pegboard to hold bags of chips or snacks to easily see what you have and then grab them and go.
Organizing Per Area
Keep your food and snacks separated for an organized pantry.
Baking supplies. Flour, sugar, brown sugar, yeast, and baking powder should all be kept together. Store your baking supplies in airtight clear containers to keep them fresh, and add a label for easy identification.
Snacks. You can use wire or straw baskets to corral all of your snacks together. A pegboard is another great way to hang bags of chips and other snacks on the back of the door to make them easy for kids to grab.
Cans and other nonperishable items. Use a small, multi-tiered shelf or wall-mounted can organizer to store canned goods in your pantry. You can also add a nice pull-out shelf or drawer so that they all stay together. Separate your cans and other long-shelf-life items by category (i.e. soup, canned fruits, canned veggies.)
Lunch items. Bread and other lunch items can be kept in one place together. A lazy Susan is a great way to store and organize items together by meal or category.
Breakfast. Organize breakfast foods together on a single shelf or in one bin. This includes pancake or waffle mixes, cereal, oatmeal, and anything else you eat for breakfast that doesn’t need refrigeration.
Tools and appliances. A pegboard is perfect for hanging cooking tools, and small appliances can be kept in your pantry at the bottom shelf or on the floor so that they’re easy to access but out of the way.
Just because your pantry is neat and organized doesn’t mean that it has to be boring. Try these easy décor ideas to give it a little pizzazz and some inspo to have a gorgeous-looking pantry.
Wallpaper. Apply gorgeous wallpaper to the back and side interior walls of your pantry. Try a peel-and-stick wallpaper so it’s easy to apply and remove if you ever change your mind. The wallpaper will give the pantry more personality and a fun pop of pattern and color.
Lighting. If your pantry doesn’t have a hardwired light installed, look for simple battery-powered, motion-activated lights you can install to make it easy to see whenever you open the door. An LED strip light is another great way to illuminate the shelves and add a bright light that helps you see everything you need easily. Another great choice is under-cabinet lighting that will illuminate the entire pantry in a stylish way.
Paint. Add a splash of color to your pantry by painting the shelves and/or walls in a fresh new hue. This is an easy way to give the inside of your pantry a touch of color and personality without having to do a ton of work.
Whether your pantry is large or small, consider these pantry organization tips to help make kitchen life easier. From pull-out drawers to bins and jars, an organized pantry is a great way to get more use out of your kitchen and enjoy cooking. Remember to provide your kids with a spot where they can grab their favorite snacks. With the right pantry storage containers and some clever labeling, you can transform your pantry from a cluttered mess to a neat and tidy space you’ll love.