Food Pantry Organization Tips

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By Jess
9 Feb 2021

A year ago our pantry was an absolute disaster, so right before Marin was born we dedicated a day to getting it organized and now it gives me so much peace of mind. Having our pantry organized, makes it so easy to find things, and we did it in a way that made it easy to maintain. Rather than waste time looking for things you can’t find or waste space storing everything all over the place, making the food pantry so that it’s easy to put things away and easy to access is a total game changer.

I scoured the internet and Pinterest for ideas, and also learned by trial and error, so hopefully these tips will help you get your pantry in order. Having an organized pantry can also help save you money and make meal prep easier. I can’t tell you how many times I’d buy things we already had or forget to buy certain things because I thought we already had it. I’ve made a list of some great pantry hacks and organization ideas. All of them are very easy to replicate in your own home. Don’t feel like you need to go out and buy tons of stuff to get organized and you don’t have to do it all at once if you’re feeling overwhelmed. You can add items in stages rather than feeling like you need to reorganize everything in a single day. One thing we did that was really helpful was take EVERYTHING out of the pantry first. It gave us a better idea of how to best utilize the space we had.

Food Pantry Organization Tips
image via container store

Food Pantry Organization Tips

Group everything by type.

This makes things so much easier to find. Keep all your chips grouped together, put all of the sodas or seltzers together, pasta sauce, salsa, etc. This creates a cohesive look and makes things easy to find. We have these baskets for things like pasta boxes, salsa, chips, etc. These bins are great for maximizing storage where you have some height to work with.

Put the things you use the most in the front.

Placing your most frequently used items in the front of your pantry is a total game changer. Things like olive oil, sugar, salt, spices, herbs, snacks for the kids, your own snacks, etc. Group items according to type, frequency of use, and expiration date so no food goes to waste. If you have kids old enough to grab their own snacks put them at eye or floor level for easier access.

Always face the labels out.

This is so simple but really helpful regardless of the kind of food pantry storage you have. Avoid hunting through mountains of cans and cardboard by making sure your labels are all easy to read and face the outside of the cabinets. It’s also really nice to look at an organized pantry where everything looks neat and tidy.

Color-code your containers for a neater look.

In the name of sustainability, if you already have containers work with what you’ve got but if you’re starting from scratch, choose matching containers to give your pantry a cohesive look. Baskets, containers, and even shelving that have a similar style and vibe make a huge difference. You can go for white, metals, neutrals, or even clear containers depending on the vibe you’re going for. We decided on wood shelving and metal baskets in the Vermont house and I love how it looks.

You can also use different coordinated colors for different foods. For example, maybe you use clear jars to store pasta, dried beans, sugar, cereals, spices, different flours, etc. Then use woven baskets for chips, snacks, protein bars, etc. Labeling containers is helpful too. We haven’t done that yet but it’s definitely on my to-do list.

Use airtight jars for sugars and flours.

Keep food from spoiling with jars and airtight containers. We have these glass jars with bamboo lids that come in different sizes. I also got this ceramic container with a wood lid for dog treats. It makes the pantry look more organized too.

Use slim bins for more shelf space.

If you have a smaller pantry, slim, tall bins can do the trick. These are great to store your dry goods. Things like rice, nuts, cereal, dried beans, etc. are all great for this type of storage.

Add more space with crates. 

If you have space at the bottom of your pantry, make use of it by adding wooden crates (a great thing to look for at antique shops or on Etsy). Use this extra space for items you don’t need every day. For example store reusable grocery bags, your recycling or extra paper towels. We keep the dog food in a big bin so it’s easy to get to but still out of the way.  

Food Pantry Organization Tips

Try a door rack.

If you’re working with a small pantry, a door rack is a great way to add extra space. Especially for anyone living in a city or any smaller space where pantries tend to be on the smaller side. You can also use a shoe organizer on the door of your kitchen pantry. Getting a little creative can create a lot more storage even in a small space.

Use stadium style racks.

Stadium style racks or tiered shelves help so you can easily see items all the way to the back row and maximize storage space. These are great for spices, condiments, bottles, really anything that you don’t want to have to go hunting for behind other similar sized items. If you feel like trying a DIY, Craig made a tiered spice rack with some scrap wood we had.

Try stacking baskets or wire bins.

I love the slightly rustic look of stackable wire baskets. It’s easy to see everything, decorative, and convenient for storage particularly for things like fruits and vegetables. They’re also super easy to clean. Under shelf wire baskets are great for filling unused space above items on your shelves and maximizing your storage.

Add pull-out drawers. 

If you’re looking to renovate your kitchen, consider adding pull-out drawers to your pantry. We were lucky enough that our pantry already had them and it is a great use of space that maximizes storage and makes it easy to stay organized.

Add space with a rolling storage cart. 

This is a great tip for anyone working with a small space, especially if you love to cook. You can use a small mobile storage cart for the items you regularly need and roll it out when you’re cooking. We had a tiered rolling cart when we lived in a tiny apartment in the city. It was great because it kept our countertops and cabinets from getting cluttered and everything we needed was all in one place.

How do you organize your pantry?

Are you excited to finally tackle your pantry? I hope these pantry organization ideas have helped you get inspired to transform your pantry into the organized space of your dreams. You can always start small and implement things over time. While these are some of the tips I’ve discovered, I’d love to hear from all of you too (you always share the best tips and ideas). Please feel free to share how you organize your pantry in the comments below and I can add them to this list to share with everyone.

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1 Comment

  1. Jenn Lake wrote:

    A place for everything and everything in its place! Love!

    2.11.21 | Reply

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