Organizing a pantry (and keeping it organized) is no small task. It’s visited numerous times throughout the day by a number of people in the household. Unless you have the proper organization system in place, chances are it becomes a balancing act of containers and boxes where you can’t see what you have and it causes a headache every time you open the door.
Whether you have a walk-in pantry, a kitchen cabinet, or a small closet, organizing your pantry is possible with the right supplies and a little strategy. I’m going to share with you my tips to organize a pantry, specifically one with deep shelves along with the best containers and storage bins.
Deep shelves in a pantry are great because it means extra storage. However, it also means things will be pushed way back and forgotten. Even if you don’t have deep shelves, I think you are going to find these tips helpful. They can be applied to organizing any cabinet or shelf. Many of the containers and supplies I use and recommend can be used in a variety of ways and are not just limited to pantries, including my all-time favorite plastic storage bin!
The most common problems I see with organizing pantries are baskets and bins that are too small so food is overflowing and cans are stacked high so you can’t see what you have. With no designated spots for each item, things end up all over.
My pantry was the exact same way. We have a tall kitchen cabinet with 5 different shelves in our pantry. Things just ended up on whatever shelf the next person put them. Obviously this is not a good system for keeping things organized or making the most of the space.
Best Tips to Organize a Pantry with Deep Shelves
1. When you’re first overhauling your pantry, you want to take inventory of everything in your pantry that needs to find a home and you want accounted for The best time to do this is when your pantry is stocked and full so you don’t miss anything.
2. Next, clear EVERYTHING out of your pantry so you can start from scratch. If you have items in other cabinets that should be in the pantry, clear those out too. Check dates on packages and get rid of anything expired, then group by like items. Baking ingredients go together, pasta together, all seasoning packets…you get the idea.
3. As you create your plan for how you want your bins and containers laid out in your pantry, think about your goals and how you actually use your pantry. It probably makes the most sense to store extra items or ingredients that aren’t used frequently towards the back, while the items you use daily are at the front. If you have small appliances that aren’t used often, store them on the top shelf where they are out of reach. You might want to measure and figure out exactly what bins and baskets will fit to make the most of each shelf and figure out exactly what storage supplies you will need. I like to have a row of baskets near the top to store nuts, dried goods, and things I have on hand for recipes that I don’t use daily.
4. A lazy susan turntable is nice for bottles of oils and vinegars that you use often while cooking. You can use them for other jars or cans too.
5. These stacking bins are super handy because they fit a ton and stack on top so you are using the maximum height of your shelf. Sprinkles, cake mixes, frosting, even cookie cutters and other items that are used only a few times of year can go in there on an upper shelf or towards the back. Solid baskets (as opposed to clear) also help visually clear the clutter too so when you have a basket full of several items, it still looks tidy from the outside.
6. Clear plastic bins like these that come in a variety of sizes are great for the daily items and snacks. You can see in them since they are clear so you know exactly what you’re grabbing. One of the highest rated storage items and you can literally use them in your fridge, vanity cabinet, under the kitchen sink, craft closet, anywhere!
Produce such as onions and potatoes are often stored in the pantry because it’s dark and cool. However, storing them in the same container can cause them to ripen and spoil faster. Try storing them in plastic bins to prolong their shelf life and keep them separate.
7. Risers work really well for deep shelves because they fill the space in the back but with the added height you can still see what’s there. I like using them for canned goods. This riser has shelves wide enough to fit 15oz cans.
8. Labels are of course not necessary but they add a nice touch if you like making it look extra nice. I’m an interior designer and it’s my job to make things pretty so I find adding extra touches like labels fun and I enjoy doing it. I actually don’t label everything, only the bins and baskets that are up high or stacked so I can’t see what’s in them. Anything else in clear bins that I can easily see what it is can go without labels. Labels can be helpful when getting the whole family on board with keeping the pantry organized because they will know exactly where to put something back, so if you’re trying to ease the whole clan into, you might want to label everything. These cute labels come in a big pack and are pre-written if you have terrible handwriting like me 🙂
9. I can’t NOT mention these amazing airtight canisters when talking about pantry organization.
They are a staple in every single pantry for dry baking ingredients, cereal, pasta, rice, etc. It keeps items fresher longer and it keeps your pantry neat and tidy. I use them for my dry goods and it looks so much more organized than bags of flour and sugar, plus you can see when it’s getting time to restock them!
There are several different versions of these canisters, but I found them on Amazon for the cheapest price.
I hope this was helpful and gave you ideas to organize your own pantry! It doesn’t have to be fancy to be functional. A few key storage items like the canisters and plastic bins can go a long ways in helping you achieve your organized pantry.
Want more kitchen inspiration? Check out my small kitchen remodel before and after post. You don’t need to have a big space to make it your own.