No matter how big or small, a pantry can easily become a dumping ground for unnecessary clutter such as; half-empty containers, expired spices, and spare plastic bags. When your pantry becomes a dirty mess, searching for the necessary ingredients can take longer than cooking a meal. Not to mention how much food is wasted when it’s out of sight. Having an organized space to store all of your groceries, small kitchen appliances, and spare dishes can make your life much easier. With just a few tricks, you can conquer your mess and have one of those dream pantries you see in magazines without spending a fortune. Check out these clever pantry organization ideas to inspire you to finally get your pantry in order.
1. Empty and clean your pantry
First of all, make sure your pantry is spotless before you start stocking it. You will probably see traces of leaked liquids or spilled spices. Take everything out, get a clean washcloth or sponge and prepare a bucket of hot, soapy water. Wipe down the shelves, remove any racks or drawers that can be removed, and wash them in the sink. Do the same with used food containers. Once you get rid of grime, grease, and dust, dry everything with a paper towel or dishtowel.
2. Decide what to toss and what to keep
Before putting everything back, decide what to toss and what to keep in your pantry. You will probably discover some forgotten spices that expired a long time ago or some small appliances you haven’t used in years. If there is something you no longer need, but it’s still in good shape, give it to someone who will use it.
3. Glam it up
If you enjoy decorating your home, there is no reason you can’t have fun with your pantry decor. Consider using patterned wallpaper or trendy subway tiles behind the shelving. In addition to looking nice, a colorful background can make your pantry appear more orderly. You can even cover your storage bins in wallpaper for a more cohesive design aesthetic. Add a fancy light fixture, colorful cookbooks, and some playful accessories to achieve that cool look you see on home decor blogs.
4. Maximize space
Suitable shelves can hold many pantry cabinet items while keeping them well-organized and visible at all times.
- Built-in shelves are a great way to utilize the exact space you have. They can make open shelving look intentional and beautiful. Painted beadboard and floating shelves are a great alternative if you don’t have the budget to install built-ins.
- The best thing about walk-in pantries is that you can see and reach every item on your shelves at the same time. A clever alternative for a walk-in pantry are horseshoe shelves – floating shelves that create a U-shaped indention. With this type of shelving, you can take a step inside and reach everything even if you can’t completely walk in.
- Another smart pantry organization idea is to break big shelves into smaller cubbies. And if you can’t afford to buy a bunch of wood, use cookbooks or filing cabinet dividers to fake cubbies.
- Industrial wire shelves are also very practical. If you’re not a big fan of the industrial look, place baskets in natural materials on your metal shelves for a softer, more feminine feel.
- Lazy Susans are one of the handiest pantry organization ideas for corner cabinets where items tend to get pushed to the back. These spinning surfaces are perfect for keeping small containers with sauces and spices organized by theme and easy to reach.
- If you need wine racks, transform a shelf into a wine rack where you can safely store bottles without taking up much space.
With a pantry full of drawers that pull out, you will never lose your favorite spice behind boxes of cereal again. Drawers are a great way to keep different products separated, away from dust and sunlight.
If your pantry cabinet is too small for your needs or you don’t have one at all, utilize the space between your kitchen appliances to create a full pantry with pull-out shelving. You just need a couple of inches to make this happen. Pull-out racks can provide tons of storage space while making it super easy to locate everything.
To maximize space in your pantry, think vertically. Pegboards are one of the best pantry organization ideas for vertical storage. Install a pegboard on a free wall to display cleaning supplies like mops, brooms, and dustpans. You can also use them to store heavy pots and pans, oven mitts, and aprons.
5. The door has storage potential, too
- Shoe organizers- Forget their name – they aren’t just for shoes! Hang one on your pantry door to store smaller items like condiments and spices. Over-the-door shoe organizers add at least a shelf’s worth of storage space to your pantry!
- Door racks- Smaller items can also find their place in a rack on the back of the pantry door.
- Chalkboard- Use chalkboard paint or contact paper to write down grocery lists or important reminders on your pantry door.
6. Coordinate your containers
Matching containers in different sizes will keep everything in its proper place while giving your pantry a clean, streamlined look.
- Clear plastic boxes- Not only do they keep your items safe from dust and insects, but they also make everything visible.
- Jars- Use glass jars with lids for items like dried fruit, flour, sugar, brown sugar, pasta, etc.
- Baskets and crates- Wicker baskets and antique wooden crates can provide lots of storage space, plus, they can look really good. Use them to pile non-breakable items on top of each other.
- Rolling hampers- If you have an extra hamper in your laundry room, use it for larger items in your pantry.
7. Sort by category
Gather similar items so you can easily find what you need. Sort items by theme, height or meal type. For instance, some basic groups can be breakfast, baking, grains and snacks. If you put that vertical wall space to good use, higher shelves will be harder to reach, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be used. Higher shelves are ideal for seasonal items, while lower ones can hold kid-friendly items.
8. Label your containers
Our list of pantry organization ideas wouldn’t be complete without labeling. Labeling makes it easy to find and grab exactly what you need. A pantry full of matching bins might look organized until you realize you can’t remember where everything is. That is why every container deserves an easy-to-read, interchangeable label.
As you can see, just a few clever storage tips and space-saving products can restore order in your pantry and make it look great. Go for high visibility, eliminate the excess, and give each place a purpose. And you don’t even need a ton of money – there are lots of storage items you can upcycle or even get for free. Follow the pantry organization ideas above to keep your pantry organized at all times.
Related: 20 Easy Home Organization Ideas