Tips for Organizing a Pantry (All Types!)

February 15, 2024 Kira Gavalakis

A well-organized pantry can make it feel like you had an entire kitchen renovation for a hundred dollars or less.

Not only does it save you time searching for ingredients, but it also ensures that your food items are stored properly, reducing waste and making meal prep a breeze.

Whether you have a spacious walk-in pantry or a compact cabinet, use these tips for organizing a pantry so you never have to guess where all your food is again!

Understanding Pantry Organization

Pantry organization is the process of arranging food items and supplies in a pantry in a way that is logical, accessible, and efficient.

The primary goal? Make it easy to find what you need when you need it, saving you time and reducing stress (not to mention wonky body positions as you try to find that last stray can!) A well-organized pantry can also:

  • Prevent food waste
  • Save you money from not buying duplicates
  • Inspire you to cook more (since you can see all your ingredients clearly!)


How to Organize a Pantry

Now that you understand the importance of organizing a pantry, let’s dive into how you can achieve it. Here are some general tips that apply to most pantry types:

Group similar items together.

Start by categorizing your pantry items into groups such as canned goods, grains, baking supplies, snacks, etc. This not only makes it easier to find what you need but also helps you see what you have and what you need to restock.

Use visible storage containers and labels.

Invest in clear storage containers to store loose items like pasta, rice, and snacks. Not only do containers keep items fresh longer, but they also make it easy to see what’s inside. (And don’t forget to label your containers to avoid confusion!)

image of a beige wooden custom built pantry

Regularly declutter and restock.

Make it a habit to regularly go through your pantry to check for expired items or items you no longer use. Use this opportunity to reorganize and restock your pantry with fresh supplies.

Label shelves.

To further enhance accessibility, label shelves with the types of items they contain. This helps you quickly locate what you need and maintain an organized pantry.

Implement the “first in, first out” system.

To prevent food waste, especially with perishable items, implement a “first in, first out” system. Place newer items behind older ones so that older items are used first. It’s that simple!

Designate zones.

Divide your pantry into zones based on categories such as canned goods, baking supplies, snacks, etc. This makes it easier to locate items and maintain an organized space.

Invest in adjustable shelving units.

Adjustable shelving units allow you to customize your pantry to suit your needs. You can adjust the height of shelves to accommodate different-sized items and maximize vertical space.

Utilize door space.

Seriously, don’t overlook the back of the pantry door! Install an over-the-door organizer or hooks to hang frequently used items like aprons, oven mitts, or small baskets for spices and packets.

Keep cleaning supplies handy.

Designate a small section of the pantry for cleaning supplies like sponges, dish soap, and trash bags. This keeps them easily accessible and separate from food items.

image of a collection of pantry items laying on a brown table

How to Organize a Deep Pantry

There’s pantry organization– then there’s deep pantry organization.

You know, those pantries that seem to have endless space, until you can’t find those items that get trapped all the way in the back.

When organizing a pantry with deep shelves the first thing you should think about is utilizing vertical space. Think of things like tiered shelves or risers to create multiple levels within your pantry. This is especially great if you pantries that are both deep and tall.

But what if you have shorter deeper pantries?

  • Install pull-out drawers or baskets to access items stored at the back of shelves without having to reach or move other items out of the way.
  • Use shelf organizers, such as baskets or bins, to group similar items together and make them easier to access. 
  • Get stackable bins for storing items like canned goods or spices. They allow you to make use of vertical space and easily see what’s stored inside.

How to Organize a Narrow Deep Pantry

Narrow deep pantries present a unique set of challenges when it comes to organizing, but with some strategic planning, you can still make the most of your space!

    • Find slim storage solutions like narrow shelves, long baskets, or narrow bins that can fit into tight spaces. These allow you to utilize the depth of your pantry without sacrificing accessibility.
    • Install door-mounted organizers to store spices, small jars, or other frequently used items, freeing up shelf space for larger items.
    • Prioritize frequently used items and place them towards the front of shelves or at eye level for easy access. Reserve the deeper areas for items that are used less frequently.

Organizing a pantry, whether deep, narrow, or both, is all about maximizing space and accessibility. By grouping similar items together, utilizing storage containers, and regularly decluttering, you can create an organized pantry that makes meal prep a breeze.

Take the time to implement these tips in your pantry. You’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to find what you need and how much time and money you can save by keeping your pantry organized.

And of course, the best way to organize a pantry? Custom-designed pantries to fit your every need!

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I declutter and restock my pantry?

It’s a good idea to declutter your pantry every 3-6 months. Take this opportunity to check expiration dates and remove any expired or stale items. Restocking can be done as needed, but aim to do a thorough check and restock every 1-2 months to ensure you have essential items on hand.

image of a clear glass jars filled with dried pasta in a white pantry cabinet

How can I maintain the organization of my pantry?

To maintain your pantry’s organization, make it a habit to return items to their designated spots after each use. Regularly check for expired items and rotate stock to use older items first. A quick tidy-up every week or so can also help prevent clutter from building up!

What is the best way to label shelves and containers in my pantry?  

Use a labeling machine or chalkboard labels for containers to ensure labels stay in place and are easy to read. For shelves, you can use adhesive labels or markers that can be easily removed or updated as needed.

How can I maximize space in a small pantry?

In a small pantry, vertical space is your friend! Use stackable shelves, over-the-door organizers, and under-shelf baskets to create additional storage. Group similar items together and use clear containers to make it easy to see what you have.

How do I prevent bugs in my pantry?

To prevent pests, store food in airtight containers, clean up spills promptly, and regularly check for signs of pests such as droppings or chewed packaging. Bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, or cedar blocks can all help deter critters!