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Pantry organization essentials

Pantry organization ideas 

If boxes of pasta and rice, cans of soup and bags of snacks are toppled over on your shelves and spilling onto the floors, it’s time to reevaluate your pantry storage systems and introduce some new organization hacks to reclaim your space. 

Turning your pantry into an organized, attractive and functional space can be done on any budget. Anti-clutter products and some pantry organization tips and tricks can transform your pantry from a chaos zone to an orderly and easy-to-maintain space in no time. 

How to organize a pantry

Pull everything out of your pantry and sort it 

The first step to a highly organized pantry is to pull everything out and assess what you have. Toss any items that are expired or won’t get eaten in order to start with a clean slate.

After you’ve pulled everything out of your pantry, begin to sort what you have into categories. 

Try to sort things according to how you use them, rather than simply by what they are. For example, don’t place baking goods with pasta or crackers simply because they’re all dry goods. Think in terms of functional categories: breakfast, quick weeknight meal prep, snacks, baking and dry goods, etc. 

Deep clean your pantry shelves 

While everything’s pulled out, create a clean slate by cleaning your shelves. Sanitize and refresh your shelves with an all-purpose cleaner.

Finish off your deep clean by lining your shelves with shelf liners. Shelf liners will prevent your food from sliding around and keep the boxes and jars you’ll organize your food in from tipping over. 

Organize your food items in containers 

If the food items in your pantry are simply sitting on the shelves next to each other, it’s inevitable that the shelves will devolve into a cluttered mess as food items are grabbed and placed back on shelves. To avoid entropy taking over and items jumbling together, place all loose food items in baskets. 

Store baking ingredients like flour and sugar in canisters and place them together to create a baking zone. Having less product packaging on your shelves will make your pantry much less visually cluttered and create a cohesive look. 

Wooden baskets instantly create a fashionable and chic pantry. They work especially well for boxed goods like pasta or bags of snacks.

Wire baskets are typically a bit more budget-friendly than wooden baskets and offer the advantage of clearly displaying your food. 

Use lazy susans to keep everything accessible 

Digging through your pantry shelves for bottles of olive oil and vinegar is time-consuming and frustrating. Placing multiple turntables on your shelves for storing oils and other condiments will make it easy to locate and grab what you need when you need it. Plastic lazy susans work well on a budget. For a highly refined look, opt for wooden turntables.

Use labels to easily identify everything in your pantry 

Labeling all of the items in your pantry is essential to enable all members of your household to find the items they need and ensure that everything is always put back in the right place. To make your own labels, invest in a label maker

Try labeling items based on how you look for them, rather than what they are. Use categories like snacks, meal prep, drinks and breakfast. 

Make creative use of space for more storage 

Feel limited by the amount of space in your pantry? There are plenty of creative small space solutions to fit everything you need in your pantry without feeling cramped. 

If your pantry includes doors, use over-door pantry organizers to store items you use often, like spices and pasta. 

If you have unused wall space in your pantry, add additional mounted shelves to store small items. 

A stainless steel shopping bag holder will get plastic bags out from the corners of your pantry shelves, and a wall-mounted kitchen wrap organizer will make it easier to grab plastic wrap or tin foil when you need it.  

Add stair step shelves for canned goods

One common mistake people make in their pantry is storing canned goods clustered together so that the labels are hidden and difficult to read. Keep your cans clearly visible and organized by arranging them in clear view on step-shelf can organizers.

Create functional kid zones 

To streamline meal times and kids to feel independent, create a kid area in your pantry on one of your low, easy-to-reach shelves. Place a woven storage basket on your designated kid shelf and put items like kid-friendly cups and plastic utensils inside. 

Routine maintenance means fewer deep cleans

Keep up with cleaning your pantry regularly to avoid a build-up of clutter. Whenever you unload after a grocery trip or clean up after cooking, put all items in their designated basket or zone. 

Try a weekly sweep of your pantry. Move anything that’s in the wrong place back into its designated zone and wipe down surfaces.

Top pantry organization essentials 

Minimalist Vinyl Pantry Labels Set on White Matte Backing

What you need to know: This collection of minimalist labels is perfect for an organized kitchen pantry with clearly labeled food storage. 

What you’ll love: These labels provide a decidedly minimalist aesthetic for an organized and attractive modern pantry. Rather than purchasing a label maker and designing your own labels, get the look by simply applying these self-adhesive matte decals on your canisters.

What you should consider: You may find you don’t have some of these items in your pantry, which means some of the labels won’t be used. If you tend to buy many common food items, this won’t be a big problem for you. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

SimpleHouseware Stackable Can Rack 

What you need to know: Easily create an organized canned goods zone in your pantry by storing up to 36 cans in this sturdy, chrome finish can rack. 

What you’ll love: Rather than storing your cans upright and searching for them at the back of your pantry shelves, placing them in this see-through metal rack will allow you to easily find and access them quickly. 

What you should consider: If you use a lot of wood or woven storage containers in your pantry, be sure these metal shelves don’t clash with these other design elements. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Airtight Food Storage Container Set of 24

What you need to know: Create an organized and aesthetically pleasing pantry by placing your dry goods in these BPA-free food storage canisters. 

What you’ll love: The meticulously organized pantry look is attainable with this set of storage containers in varying sizes. These canisters include reusable chalkboard labels and a chalkboard marker. Their clear design makes it easy to instantly recognize what’s inside each container. 

What you should consider: This set runs a bit on the pricier side, but many people find it worth it because of how organized and matching it makes a pantry look. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Evelyn Waugh writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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