Organizing your pantry can be a daunting task. There are cans, boxes, bags, jars, and who knows what else on those shelves. You may come across items that are expired, not used, not liked, or have odd shapes for easy storage. Let’s walk through step-by-step to take this once thought to be overwhelming chore and make it an easy mountain to climb.
Step 1 – Start from Scratch
You are going to want to completely empty your entire pantry out to get started on this process. If you don’t have the counter space to accommodate everything, use the kitchen table, dining room, or any other flat surface with space. If needed, lay out a sheet on the floor for an additional temporary storage area. Once you have everything out you will want to wipe down shelves, vacuum and mop the floor, and check for any repairs that might need to be made (changing a burnt-out lightbulb, or fixing a crooked shelf).
Step 2 – In with the New, Out with the Old
Out with the old. This is going to be your opportunity to check the dates on every item. If you find something that has expired, toss it. When you come across an item that you do not plan to use, get rid of that as well. If the item is not used and within a safe date range, local food pantries will be happy to take your donations.
In with the new. Make a shopping list of items that were expired, but that you want to replace. If you have the time, it is best to go shopping prior to putting anything back in your new clean pantry to ensure that you have left the proper amount of space for your new items. This is especially important if these are a staple and will be in your pantry on a continuous basis.
Step 3 – Separate and Categorize
Before putting anything back inside the pantry, you want to start grouping alike items. Put your cereals and breakfast items together, group can goods, and keep spices together. One helpful kitchen gadget is a Lazy Susan for spices, oils, cooking sprays, etc.
Here are some common categories that you can use to separate and categorize your pantry:
You can further organize these categories by creating subcategories or arranging items by frequency of use or expiration date. By keeping your pantry organized, you'll be able to easily find what you need and reduce food waste by keeping track of what you have.
Step 4 – See your Food
Have you seen those popular organizational shows where the pantries look like they belong in a showroom? One of the keys to this is clear containers! Sounds simple, but it makes a huge impact of the appearance and functionality of a pantry. Packaging with a lot of words, symbols, pictures, and colors can cause your pantry to look too busy, and cluttered. Your next step is to remove food from all bags and cardboard boxes and place them in clear canisters. Look for items like candy, cereal, chips, sugar, flour, crackers, and pasta.
Step 5 – What’s in there?
A label maker is going to become your best friend for this, and many organizational endeavors around your home. Label containers, bins, and possibly even your shelves for easy guidance on what and where your pantry items are. This will not only help you, but also your family navigates your newly organized pantry space. There are countless choices when it comes to label makers. You can also use labels to tie into your décor choices. A chalkboard label might look perfect in a farmhouse home, but out of place in an ultra-modern home. Want something basic? Try a Bluetooth label maker. Have fun with your labels!
Step 6 – Hidden Space
Utilizing hidden space in your pantry can help maximize storage and keep your kitchen organized. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your pantry space:
By utilizing these hidden spaces in your pantry, you'll be able to create more storage and keep your kitchen organized and clutter-free.
Pantry Organization for Deep Shelves
Organizing a pantry with deep shelves can be a real pain in the tush, but with a few easy tricks, you can make the most of your space! First, sort everything by type (grains, canned goods, baking supplies, etc.) and toss them into stackable bins or baskets. Don't forget to label them! You can also try using shelf dividers to keep things from falling over.
For even more space, get some pull-out shelves. They're great for easy access to items that would otherwise be in the back of the pantry. And don't forget about shelf risers - they'll double your storage space and keep things organized.
Lastly, you can make use of the floor space by adding a small shelf or some drawers. This is a fantastic solution for storing big or heavy items. With these tips, your deep-shelved pantry will be as organized as Martha Stewart's!
7. Make it Easy for the Kids
Are kids always asking for a snack or a drink? This is the perfect opportunity to designate an area in the pantry just for them. Make sure to use one of the bottom shelves for easy accessibility. Ideas to include in this area are mini water bottles, juice pouches, gummies, dried fruits, and nuts, protein or snack bars, individually wrapped snacks, and cereal dispensers. Most importantly, keep it low and labeled. Baskets and bins are recommended for this kid-friendly section.
8. Utilize your Wall Space
Space is a precious commodity in a pantry. If you are fortunate enough to have it, wall space can be a huge asset for organizing a pantry. Think about how to use your space most efficiently and effectively., Hanging an apron on a hook, keeping the dustpan on the wall, and having a designated wall area for plastic grocery bag storage. The options are endless for your wall space. Unsure if you want to keep the hook there permanently? Try a temporary hanging system that won’t damage your wall.
9. Don’t Overbuy
Pantries have a limited amount of space. Although the deal for buying five get one free might be appealing, do you actually need 6 of the item? Were the items even on your grocery list? Remember, the space in your home is just as valuable as your cash, and overloading your pantry is likely going to cause more stress than worth the savings on a “free item” that isn’t really needed at that time.
Let’s face it, at first after you organize you are very detailed oriented to keep things perfectly perfect. Then life happens and there is a good chance your pantry is going to become unorganized again. The good news is that you now have implanted organizational systems that are easy to assist you in bringing back your pantry to being organized with little effort. If it has become a disaster, you may need to start from step one again, but hopefully, this won’t be the case. Likely you’ll just need to start from step 2 twice a year, and you’ll be able to breeze through the steps much faster than the first time. You will already have your canisters, label maker, hooks, and most importantly your own customized organizational plan. You know where you want everything to go, so you just need to put it there. Try and get your family onboard as this will help keep everything organized, accessible, and visible in your home’s pantry.
Organizing your home food pantry is an important step towards maintaining a tidy and functional kitchen. A well-organized pantry not only makes it easy to find what you need when you need it but can also help reduce food waste by keeping track of what you have. The key to organizing your pantry is to categorize items by type, create subcategories or arrange items by frequency of use or expiration date, and utilize hidden spaces such as door organizers, pull-out shelves, stackable bins, tension rods, hooks, and shelf risers. By following these tips, you'll be able to make the most of your pantry space and keep your kitchen organized and clutter-free.
Once you are ready to move past your pantry, and onto other areas of your home, make sure to read my article, 16 Tips to Help You Declutter Your Home Today, Tomorrow, and Always.
Bless Myself Blog
Certified Life Coach, Mother of Five, Wife, Christian, Homeowner & Friend