This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.
Organize a pantry in 10 easy steps + 18 creative pantry storage ideas that’ll help to get and keep your pantry organized saving time & money
Pantries are one area that always seems to be the most overcrowded and disorganized space in our kitchens. Not only does this make things difficult to find, it typically causes us to waste money on food too.
We end up buying items that we don’t really need because we didn’t realize we had them since it’s buried under a pile of disorganized food items. When we do find them, we end up having to throw it in the trash because it has expired or it’s stale.
It also causes wasted time in the kitchen searching for those important ingredients needed to make dinner and time is money. I don’t know about you but getting dinner on the table quickly on those busy days is a priority for me so I can move on to doing other chores that need to get done.
If your pantry needs a complete overhaul, I’ve put together some easy ways to organize a pantry and keep it that way.
Organize a Pantry in 10 Easy Steps
1 Start with a clean slate
The first step to organize a pantry is to start with a clean slate. You’ll want to empty everything out of your pantry and place the items on a kitchen table or a large counter space. Then wash the shelving with soap and water.
2 Get rid of items you don’t need or have expired
Next, you’ll want to get rid of anything in your pantry that you don’t need or that has expired. Separate these items into two piles, items to donate and things to throw in the trash. Items that are still usable can be donated to your local pantry or church.
3 Take inventory of what you have
Once you’ve gotten rid of everything you don’t need, you’ll want to take inventory of everything that you are keeping. This will serve as a master pantry list so you know which pantry staples you have on hand and what you need to buy on your weekly grocery shopping trips.
4 Categorize like items together
Next, categorize everything that goes into your pantry into groups. You can group all boxed items together. Do the same with canned goods, packets small spice jars, etc.
5 Make sure you can see everything at a glance
When placing your food back into your pantry, make sure that everything is visible. This is important so you can keep your pantry organized. Place taller items in the back of the pantry and shorter items in the front.
6 Lable zones in your pantry
Labels pantry zones to make things easy to find and also so you know where everything goes when you get home from grocery shopping. You can have a zone for snacks, pasta, baking staples, and so on.
7 Utilize unused space
Get creative and utilize unused space in your pantry, such as the inside of the doors and wall areas. I have some creative ideas to organize a pantry below.
8 Make it kid-friendly
If you have kids, then you’ll want to make sure your pantry is kid-friendly. Designate an area for snacks and other items that your children go into the pantry to make it easier for them to find what they need without creating a mess.
9 Keep track of what you need
Whenever you are running low or are out of a pantry staple, write it down so you can replenish your stockpile easily. This will also help you not buy unnecessary items saving money on groceries.
10 Keep it organized
Now that you’ve got your pantry organized and in tip-top shape you’ll want to keep it this way. Every few weeks take 10 minutes to make sure everything is in it’s designated area. This is also a good time to add items that you need to your shopping list as well as a meal plan around what you have on hand.
18 Creative Ideas To Organize a Pantry
Now that you know how to organize a pantry, let’s take a look at some creative ideas to make it happen. I’ve found 18 fun and easy ways to do this from around the web below.
Organize canned goods
Canned goods are always such a mess in most pantries. They are typically stacked on top of each other and many times topple over. And you really don’t know what you have on hand since all you can see is what’s at the front of the pile.
This is why I love this idea of using magazine racks to organize your canned goods. You can get a few of these and so you can separate your fruit, vegetables, soups, and anything else in a can.
You’ll need to make sure the magazine racks you buy are at least 4.5 – 5 inches wide to fit standard-sized cans, I found this one on Amazon. Or you can also get these can dispensers which holds 36 cans.
via PBJ Stories
Keep Food Storage Items Organized
Organizing food storage supplies such as foil, plastic wrap, and zipper bags is another great way to use a magazine rack to organize a pantry.
This can be mounted on the inside pantry door which is a great way to make extra space and utilize every inch of your pantry to keep it organized.
Store Plastic Grocery Bags Neatly
Recycling plastic grocery bags is not only good for the environment, it saves money too but they can take up a lot of precious space in your kitchen.
Luckily someone came up with a way to store bags in a neat and pretty way with this grocery bag dispenser. You can easily tuck away 30+ plastic bags for a clutter-free pantry, and to save space mount it on the inside of the pantry door or a side wall if there is room.
Space Saving Over The Door Storage
Another great way to utilize storage space in your pantry is to use an over the door shelving unit. What’s great about this one is that the shelves are adjustable so you can customize it to fit almost anything you’d like to.
This works perfectly for all those little jars and oddly shaped items that you can’t stack. It can also be used as a snack station for your kids so they have everything they need in one place.
Utilize Wall Space With Caddies
These caddies are a great way to tuck away small packets and other small items that always seem to get lost in our pantries.
Plus they are super easy to mount in just about any small space in your pantry such as the wall area if you’re pantry shelves are a little pushed in. They can also be mounted on the inside of the doors or vertically under the shelves.
Use Containers to Group Like Items
Grouping like items together in your pantry using baskets is an easy way to keep your food grouped and organized. What’s great is that it’s a really inexpensive way to organize a pantry or just about any other area in your home.
You can pick these types of baskets up and the Dollar Tree or many other places for $1 apiece. I also like the idea of using chalkboard labels so you know which baskets contain what and you can easily change the label if you decide to switch things up.
via Do It on a Dime
Use Tiered Shelving To Keep Everything in View
Keeping everything in your pantry visible is key to always knowing what you have on hand, which is why I love this tiered shelving unit.
You can use this for canned goods like the image below or use it to organize boxed foods or baking supplies to easily see what you have on hand and what you need to restock your pantry.
via Mom Endeavors
Chalk Board Menu and Grocery List
I’m loving this chalkboard door idea. It’s such a fun way to keep track of your pantry staples and weekly meal plans, and it’s in the perfect spot.
You can easily recreate this idea with some chalkboard paint or if you don’t want to paint your cabinets you can use this chalkboard paper which is peel and stick so anybody can do this.
via 11 Magnolia Lane
Clear Containers for Bulky Pantry Staples
These clear airtight containers are perfect for organizing your pantry, especially for baking goods that typically come in bulky bags. What’s great is that you always know how much of each item you have on hand.
And depending on how much height you have between shelves, you can stack multiple containers on top of each other to save even more space in your pantry.
Easy Spice Storage Area
Over-the-door shoe organizers are not only good to organize your spices but they can be used to organize so many other areas in your home.
I have one hanging in our coat closet to store hats, mittens, and gloves. I also have one hanging in my closet for scarves and belts and other small items.
Pull Out Drawers Pantry Drawers
Pull out pantry shelves are great because you can see everything on each of the shelves which makes this idea great if you have just a small pantry area.
The shelves in the image below are a little pricey though but I found some very affordable substitutes here.
Pegboard Storage Area
If you have a larger pantry area, then this pegboard idea is a great way to organize your kitchen. You can hang pots and pans as well as larger items to keep everything in its place.
You can find pegboard and hooks at just about any hardware store, I also found some affordable pegboard here.
via Eclectic Recipes
Creating a centralized space for kid’s snacks is yet another fun way to use an over-the-door shoe rack.
What I like about this idea is that everything your kids need is right on the door which means they won’t be rummaging around the pantry so it’ll stay organized.
Magnetic Space Saving Spice Rack
This DIY magnetic spice rack is such a cute way to organize your spices and save space. All you need is some tiny jars, magnets and a sheet pan to make this.
I wanted to make one for myself so I hopped on Amazon to find small jars and low and behold, I found a done for you one here, ready to go if you aren’t into DIY projects.
via Acultivated Nest
Cupcake Liners Organized
What a fun way to store cupcake liners, who would have thought to put them in mason jars. Mine typically gets lost in the back of the pantry or crush and is unusable by the time I find them.
Recycled Storage Containers
I love upcycling stuff to not only help plastic in our landfills but also to give something that would normally get thrown out a new life. That’s exactly what you can do with empty coffee creamer bottles.
All you need to do is wash these bottles out really well, remove the plastic label and you’ve got yourself some clear containers to help get your pantry or any other area in your home organized.
Small Packet Storage Idea
Why didn’t I think of this? Such a super simple way to keep all those small packets from getting lost in the pantry. Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best ones.
This storage idea is really easy to do, all you need is a few binder clips and a command hooks and you’ll never lose a seasoning packet in your pantry again.
Zip Store Ziploc Bag Organizer
I came across this gadget while searching for organizational ideas and was so excited. Finally, an easy way to organize zipper bags, and it saves space too since it easily mounts under your pantry shelving.
This is perfect for snacks and smaller items. You can even mount this in your refrigerator or freezer too. You can find this nifty little space-saving storage idea on Amazon.
via Get a Gadget
Looking for more ways to organize your home?