If you’ve been following me for a bit, you know one of my big goals for 2021 is to organize and declutter our entire house. Each month I am focusing on one area. In February I tackled the pantry, and I am just now getting around to blogging about it.
I wanted to wait a few weeks to see if the systems I put in place would actually work and if the pantry would stay organized. I’m happy to report it is still in order and also super functional! In hopes of helping you too, I’m sharing my top 10 pantry organization ideas today.
Before I jump in, I want to remind you of the most important thing to keep in mind before organizing your pantry (or any space in your home):
This space is for YOU and your family. You do not have to break the bank to have a Pinterest-worthy pantry that others will rarely see. All that matters is that you find a system that works for you and makes mealtime less stressful. If you love spending money on organizing your home, go for it, but you can also just as easily use things you already have. You do you!
Use bins and baskets
I use bins and baskets all over my house, but they are especially functional in the pantry. You can keep similar items grouped together which makes for easy access when looking for something. They are also great to keep small items in so they aren’t just floating around getting lost on the shelf.
A bonus for some people (including me) is that they are also very esthetically pleasing.
A few of my favorites that I have used for years are these and these from Target. I am also linking a few others below that I like as well. I personally would not dish out the money for the top-of-the-line baskets from the Container Store, but if that’s your jam, go for it! You can also easily get bins from the Dollar Store, but in my experience, some of those don’t hold up as well.
Mom tip- I love to keep a big basket of kid-friendly snacks where my littles can reach. My younger kids are only 1 and 3, but they can help themselves to their own snacks when they would like. Disclaimer…they would eat snacks all day long if I let them which is why we have to lock our pantry lol.
Use Lazy Susan Spinners to maximize space
One of my favorite ways to maximize space in my pantry is by using lazy susan spinners, especially in the corners. I love these two-tiered ones for taller shelves and these for other areas. The fact that they spin makes it so easy to see and access anything I need.
I keep all of my items categorized on them as well, so I know exactly where to go when looking for something. One houses all of my canned goods; one holds all of my oils and kinds of vinegar and another keeps convenient kid meals like mac n cheese and spaghettiO’s.
My favorite and newest addition to my pantry are these clear ones that are perfect for snacks or other grab and go items.
Invest in clear storage containers
If there is one thing you want to spend a little more on when it comes to pantry organization, I HIGHLY recommend investing in good quality clear storage containers. My personal favorites are the ones by OXO.
Not only do they make everything visible, so you know exactly what and how much you have, they also keep your food fresh. Over the years I have grown my collection of these containers. Here are some of my favorites that I feel are the most useful in my pantry.
TIP: When I put a product into these containers, I always make sure to put a small piece of tape on the bottom of the container to write the expiration date before throwing the original packaging away. You can also cut out any important cooking directions and tape them to the bottom (although I usually just use google to find what I need.)
Label, Label, Label
I love to label things so I know exactly what they are. This is especially useful when you empty contents from their original packaging or when you are grouping many different items in one bin or basket.
I got this inexpensive set of labels that is perfect, but you can easily make your own by handwriting them or using your computer to print some.
TIP: Many times I will put two labels on the same container (one on the front and one on the back). That way I’m not stuck using it for only one specific food item.
Designate a spot for a grocery list
We’ve all been there…you go to take an item out of the pantry you know is there and it’s not. Usually, this is because someone in your family (ahem….my husband) has used it up and forgotten to tell you.
A simple solution to this is to have a designated spot for a grocery list. Train your family that when an item is gone (or almost gone) to write it on the list. A simple dry erase board works great or you can use this wallpaper to create a fun chalkboard on an empty wall or door.
Make the door and walls functional
If you have a walk-in pantry, you may have a wall that does not have shelves. If this is the case, make it functional. I love hanging these removable hooks to hang things like my cooking aprons. You could also use a hanging rack like this one to hold your mops and brooms if you store them in your pantry.
I also love to use hanging door organizers all over my house. They work perfectly on the back of the pantry door to hold kitchen items like small appliances, water bottles, storage containers, or even grab-and-go snacks.
Here are a few other options for over the door organizers that would work great in a pantry:
Organize items in a functional way
Remember, the entire purpose of organizing your pantry is to make it useful and functional for YOU. Keep this in mind when you are putting things into your pantry. I like to keep my most reached for products at eye level.
I keep anything my younger kids might need to access on the lower shelves. Items that don’t get as much use, my basket with all my baking goods, for example, go on a higher shelf out of the way.
Utilize any extra space you have
If you have extra space in your pantry, don’t be afraid to use it to store non-food related items. I use the very top shelf in our pantry to store seasonal bowls and serving trays that I may only use once a year.
I also keep my cookbooks in my pantry along with large cooking appliances like my instant pot and mix master.
Finally, on the floor of the pantry below the bottom shelf, we keep an air-tight container with the dogs’ food and another large basket that holds lunch boxes and other bags for on the go.
Use shelf liners
Shelf liners are great because they keep your bins and containers from sliding around. They also prevent things from spilling or falling through cracks if you have wire shelves in your pantry.
Maintain your system
One of the main reasons organizational systems fail is because we don’t take the time to maintain them. When you do a grocery run each week, take ten minutes to neatly put away items in their correct spot. Everything is labeled (right?!) so other members of your family shouldn’t have trouble putting things where they belong either.
Remember It is so much easier to take 5-10 minutes once a week to do a quick pantry tidy-up than to have to start from scratch when it looks like a disaster zone.
Also, make sure you are regularly checking expiration dates to make sure items are still good. We personally try not to keep a ton of stuff in our pantry and to plan our meals based on what we have. Groceries are expensive enough, so I HATE throwing away food that has gone bad.
I hope you found some of these pantry organization ideas helpful. If you want to see an in-depth look at the pantry cleanout I did last month, you can check out this highlight reel on Instagram. Also, make sure you are following me there for even more organizational tips and tricks.
You can also check out the organize and declutter tab on my blog for more organization content. Thanks so much for reading!