Your kitchen is spotless. Your counters are shiny, and your fridge is immaculate. Take a peek in your pantry, though, and you may find a different situation. It can be tough to keep things neat and tidy, especially when they’re hidden behind closed doors. The kitchen pantry is an oft-accessed space where items are continually moved to and fro.
Need a bit of organization inspiration? Keep reading to discover our favorite kitchen pantry ideas.
1. Use A Lazy Susan
While I don’t have a pantry configuration that requires one, I’ve found plenty of use for my lazy Susan in the fridge. If you’re stuck with a pantry that has deep inaccessible shelves, a rotating platform can help you reach hard-to-find items. Lazy Susans are also useful for pantry corners where it can be awkward to stock stuff.
2. Use Labels
Label everything! Whether bins filled with snacks or shelves packed with baking supplies, the labels will help keep you organized. They’re also helpful for visitors navigating your pantry.
3. Stock Dry Goods In Airtight Jars
Keeping dry goods in airtight containers keeps away pests that wreak havoc on your pantry. Stuff stays fresher in sealed containers, too.
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I recommend selecting glass jars because they’re durable, attractive, transparent, and don’t transfer flavors.
4. Organize Your Spices
I’ve always struggled with spice organization. I tried transferring them from store-bought pouches to super cute magnetic jars, but what finally worked was keeping them in a separate drawer outside of my cupboard.
The pouches are now organized in an index-card fashion inside a plastic bin, but if you choose to organize your spices, find a way that works for you. There are plenty of great ideas online including this clearly labeled array of jarred spices.
5. Add Another Level
You can find inexpensive wire shelving units on Amazon for a steal. Some shelves even have handy drawers for storing small snacks and treats. If there’s a lot of space between your shelves, adding vertical storage options is a great solution.
6. Take Advantage Of Your Door
My pantry is fairly small but features fantastic pull out drawers that allow me to access the back portions of deep shelves.
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The configuration doesn’t allow me to utilize the back of my door, but if you have that option, I highly recommend you take advantage of the empty space.
7. Stock Cans Sideways
Storing cans can be awkward, especially in a tiny pantry. Try a DIY mounted can organizer like this one or use specially designed bins to stock them on their side, save space, and avoid a tumbling cupboard avalanche.
8. Use Drawers
If you’re building a new pantry from scratch, adding drawers is something to consider. If you have a deep cupboard (like mine), slide-out drawers are a must-have.
9. Add Some Bins
I’m a fan of clear plastic bins for organizing things like spices, rice, and other pouch-bound foods. Use them for granola bars, oatmeal packets, and small food items. Most plastic bins are also a perfect fit for the fridge.
10. Utilize Baskets
A bit less practical, baskets add a pretty touch to a pantry. They’re easy to find in large sizes, too, so they’re great for storing bulkier fare.
11. Group Like Items
Whether you decide to label your shelves or organize like items in bins or baskets, keeping things separated by category will help you stay organized over time. Not sure where to start? Keep baking ingredients together, put snacks somewhere else, and set dry goods like pasta, rice, and beans next to each other.
12. Keep a List
Organization isn’t just about keeping foods in pretty and practical containers. Once your pantry is neat and tidy, it’s easy for it to become cluttered again. Stay on top of things with a chalkboard or dry erase board inside of the door (or on the outside — depending on your style) and keep track of items you’re missing (or have plenty of on hand).
13. Move Cans To Eye Level
Avoid storing canned foods on the highest shelf or at the very bottom of your pantry. At eye level, you’ll have an easier time distinguishing between labels.
14. Store Cereal, Pasta, And Rice In Slim Bins
Use slim bins to store dried goods. They’re easy to pour, take up limited space, and accommodate various pasta shapes.
15. Add A Pegboard
If you have a large pantry and need space to organize tools and cookware, install a pegboard for added wall storage. This pantry utilizes otherwise unused wall space and adds a functional grab-and-go area for pots and pans.
16. Use Wire Baskets
Love the idea of wicker baskets but hate not being able to see all your pantry contents? Use wire baskets to stock snacks and other packaged goodies like single-serving chip bags and breakfast bars.
17. Add Drawers
Did you know that you can add slide-out drawers to pantry shelving? Drawers are great for keeping items that can’t be taken out of their packaging which tones down visual clutter.
18. Put Most-Used Items At Eye Level
Organize your pantry according to your routine. Do you cook lentil soups in your Instant Pot at least once a week? Make sure your dried beans are close at hand. Are you a frequent baker? Keep your baking ingredients within easy reach. Avoid sticking frequently used foodstuffs at the top of your pantry.
19. Play With Magnets
Magnets aren’t only for the fridge. Use this handy magnet strip to hold your spices. They’re great for pantries with unused space on a wall or door.
20. Add Lights To Your Pantry
Even the smallest pantry or cupboard will benefit from the addition of puck lights. Add inexpensive battery-powered lighting to pantry shelving, and you’ll spend less time furiously searching for items in the dark recesses of a cabinet.
21. Choose Uniform Storage Accessories
This is less of an organization tip and more of a suggestion to enhance visual appeal. Buy storage containers from the same brand and line to keep things uniform and create a beautiful pantry.
22. Stock A Step Stool
If you have shelving that reaches to the ceiling, or you’re shorter than the average person, a step stool is a handy accessory that ensures you always have access to every inch of your food storage space. Small step stools are also helpful for kids.
23. Get A Handle On Your Tupperware
Those with spacious pantries may decide to use the area to stash their food storage containers. Don’t just toss everything inside willy-nilly.
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Organize your Tupperware so that everything has its place. Stack similarly shaped containers and toss out anything that doesn’t have a lid (or bottom).
24. Stick On Ready-Made Decals
Not interested in creating your own labels? Use pretty, ready-made decals to label all of your pantry items.
25. Buy A Rolling Cart
If you have a walk-in pantry but still find yourself struggling to find room for everything, rolling carts are an excellent add-on for your space. Those with tiny food storage cupboards might use a rolling cart as an extra storage spot, too. Apartment bakers can store frequently used baking tools and ingredients on their cart, and roll it out as needed.
Why Should I Organize My Kitchen Pantry?
Although the array of perfectly organized pantries on Instagram is incredibly appealing, organization isn’t only about esthetics. Keeping your cupboard or pantry tidy prevents spoilage and waste. Having everything within easy reach and view means you’re more likely to use that box of oatmeal before it goes stale.
A well-kept pantry can also help with your monthly grocery budget. If you’re able to see everything clearly, you’re less likely to buy accidental doubles or purchase items you don’t need.
Transferring products to properly sealed jars also prevents pest infestations and food going stale.
What Not To Put In A Kitchen Pantry
If you’ve got a roomy walk-in pantry, there’s nary a foodstuff that doesn’t fit. But those with small pantries need to be careful about what they stock. Avoid storing bulk items in your pantry if you have limited space. Store beverages (e.g., soda cans and bottles) elsewhere and save space for dry goods.