45 Pantry Organization Ideas
It doesn’t matter if your kitchen decor leans more modern, rustic, or somewhere in between. Great organization goes with everything. And there’s no space more prone to clutter and disorganization than the pantry, which is why we present you with these pantry organization ideas.
Ditching bulky food packaging for reusable containers is a huge trend right now. But this isn’t the best or only way to improve your pantry’s organization system.
From hidden pull-out storage to hanging baskets, there are more ways to organize your kitchen pantry than you probably realize. Check out these pantry organization ideas and start reimagining your own kitchen storage.
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Table of Contents
1. Pantry Organization Ideas for Efficient Shelving Solutions
Open shelving is a bit less forgiving than a closet or cabinets. Embrace the classy clutter by mixing in decorative items with your dry goods and spice jars.
Moving food items to matching containers will help tidy up your shelves. Individual trays will keep pantry items organized and make it easier to grab what you need.
Adjustable shelving gives you the freedom to store pantry staples of every height. If you’re installing permanent shelving in your pantry, hang them at varying heights to accommodate a wide range of items.
Installing floor-to-ceiling shelving is important to maximize your storage options, especially in an otherwise small pantry. Keep your least-used items on the top shelf and invest in a step stool that matches your kitchen decor.
2. Embrace Wood in Your Pantry Organization
Whether you have a knack for carpentry or know someone who can build anything, it’s surprisingly easy to design a wooden pantry for hassle-free organization. Even if you need to hire a skilled professional for the job, we promise the results will be worth the expense.
Include custom cubbies for your pantry’s must-have items. If you’re going to store small kitchen appliances inside, like a coffee maker, stand mixer, or blender, consider adding cable management holes to your wood pantry shelves.
Solid wood pantry storage requires a bit more care than laminate, metal, or plastic. Be sure your pantry shelving is well-sealed to prevent damage. Protective shelf liners can stop disastrous messes in their tracks.
As far as looks go, there’s no shortage of ways to make a wood pantry match your kitchen decor. You can let the natural wood grain shine inside while painting your pantry door for a contemporary style.
3. Optimizing Cabinet Space
Whether outfitting a walk-in pantry or adding built-in storage to your kitchen space, cabinets make it easy to keep your food storage neat and organized.
Unfortunately, storing pantry items behind cabinet doors is a great way to forget they exist. Invest in glass or mesh doors that let you see everything inside without opening your cabinets.
A large in-kitchen cabinet is an excellent way to keep pantry staples close at hand. Match the exterior to your kitchen’s existing cabinetry. As always, be sure to maximize your available storage space with shelves or baskets mounted inside the cabinet door.
Cabinets are great but don’t underestimate how useful a drawer or two could be to your pantry. Drawers are the perfect spot to keep culinary utensils, snack bags, and other hard-to-store items in your walk-in pantry.
4. Smart Storage Solutions for a Well-Organized Pantry
Our number-one pantry organization tip is to mix and match your storage options as much as possible. Relying solely on cabinets, shelves, or drawers will lead to a space that works against you rather than with you.
Most people understand the importance and convenience of a spice rack. You can use a similar concept to store your canned goods collection. Placing smaller items on miniature tiered shelves makes it easier to see everything in your pantry.
Despite what some pantry organization ideas might have you believe, the average pantry does double duty. Don’t fight the need to store non-food items in your pantry. Storage solutions like a shoe organizer or holder for plastic grocery bags will ensure your pantry looks great regardless.
Try to keep items off of your pantry floor, even if it means just putting them in a storage bin. This will keep things like cans and paper towels away from dust and moisture. And it will also be easier to move these items when it comes time to sweep or mop your pantry.
5. Maximize Space With Pull-Out Pantry Systems
It’s easy to overlook convenience when coming up with pantry organization ideas. But you can combine the best of both worlds with a pull-out pantry design.
Pull-out pantry organization comes in many shapes, styles, and sizes. The most popular version of this trend is pull-out shelving.
You can add pull-out shelves to almost any pantry design—walk-in or otherwise. Pull-out shelves are particularly helpful in deep pantries and for storage that’s low to the ground.
If you’re looking for ultra-compact storage that will fit even the most awkward space, you might be interested in an entire pantry that pulls out. You can build a pull-out pantry into a wall or include it in your kitchen cabinets.
6. Closet-Inspired Pantry Organization Tips
If your kitchen doesn’t come with designated pantry space, your next best bet is the nearest closet. The larger the closet, the more pantry space you’ll have at your disposal. But that tiny unused closet in your kitchen might have more potential than you know.
You could make do with a wire shelf set—your kitchen closet may already have one. However, wood shelves are well worth the investment. Solid pantry shelving is easier to clean, won’t snag on small items, and keeps spills under control.
Once everything inside your pantry closet is organized, turn your attention to the closet door. Swapping out the existing door is a great way to liven up your kitchen decor without introducing any visual clutter.
No closet? No problem. A larder cupboard is an excellent alternative. Larder cupboards offer all the organization of a full-size pantry closet in a freestanding package. Look for a cupboard that matches your kitchen decor and contains plenty of shelves and pull-out drawers.
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7. Small Pantry, Big Organization
Organization is important on every scale. Just because your pantry lives in a small closet or cupboard doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a well-organized space.
Stacking shelves is an excellent way to get more bang for your buck. You can effectively double the available shelving, which can make or break a small pantry space.
Hanging items can free up shelf space in a small pantry. Add hooks to the bottom of your pantry shelves or cabinets to store things like measuring cups or mugs.
8. Making the Most of Corner Pantry Spaces
If your kitchen lacks adequate storage and has an empty corner, the solution is obvious. Install a built-in corner cabinet or invest in a freestanding cupboard to serve as your pantry organizer.
Avoid deep shelving in your corner pantry design. You might feel like you’re sacrificing extra storage space. In most cases, though, you’ll be best served by having easy access to all your pantry staples.
Consider adding spinning, lazy Susan-style shelves to your corner pantry. This little detail will make finding cans, spice jars, and other small items much easier than normal shelving.
Don’t let any part of your corner pantry sit unused. Mount additional storage to the door and install shelving on every surface inside. Even tiny shelves can come in handy for storing things like baking soda or jars of peanut butter.
9. Choosing the Right Containers for Pantry Storage
Even if you don’t want to repackage every pantry staple into a new container, it’s a good idea to have some on hand. Storage containers are often better at preserving food than original packaging. Plus, investing in stackable containers can conserve valuable shelf space.
Glass storage containers are more durable but also more expensive. Fortunately, it’s simple to turn an old glass jar into a high-quality storage container. Mismatched vintage jars are an affordable solution. Replace original mason jar lids with updated plastic or wood ones.
A clear container will also almost always be more convenient than an opaque one. The only exception will be if your pantry gets direct sunlight for part of the day.
This is another area where your pantry’s form and function might clash. If you’re set on only using one type of storage container in your pantry, look for a set that includes many different shapes and sizes.
10. Butler’s Pantry Organization
Many homeowners dream of owning a butler’s pantry. But this multi-purpose room comes with its own collection of storage conundrums.
Give everything a place in your butler’s pantry, including countertop kitchen appliances. A decorative tray or lazy susan is an excellent way to keep your butler’s pantry counter space organized.
Don’t skimp on the pantry cabinets. You might think you don’t need enclosed storage in a dedicated pantry room. Still, relying on open pantry shelves can end up looking chaotic and cluttered.
Take the time to treat your organized pantry space like an extension of your kitchen. Adding a bit of decor to the room won’t only make it look better. Curating a specific design for your pantry can give you the extra bit of motivation needed to stay on top of organization.
11. Pantry Organization With Style
Place items in baskets to instantly make your pantry look tidier. This will also help you see exactly what needs to go on your grocery list this week.
Plastic containers are easier to clean than woven baskets. Wire mesh baskets are great for holding bulky items, but small things like granola bars will slip right through.
Don’t get caught up in perfect uniformity. Matching baskets might be aesthetically pleasing but are often impractical. Choose a variety of baskets in different sizes to best fit your household’s pantry staples.
Take advantage of the entirety of your pantry space. Hang a basket or magazine holder on the back of your pantry door for easy-to-access storage. Look for extra space-efficient stacking baskets that offer access without removing the layer above.
You can use a label maker, print custom stickers, or handwrite the necessary information for each basket. Miniature chalkboard labels work well alongside farmhouse-inspired kitchen decor.
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Pantry Organization FAQs
What items should go in a pantry?
Anything you would store in a normal kitchen cupboard can be stored in a pantry. Dry goods, seasonings, beverages, and cans are all good examples.
Most unopened condiments can be stored in a pantry. (These items should be placed in the refrigerator once opened.) One good rule of thumb is to store unopened items as they were at the store—if you find something in a grocery store cooler, it should go right into your fridge when you get home.
You can also keep cleaning supplies, cooking utensils, and paper products in your pantry if space allows.
How do you keep pantry items from going bad?
Follow a “first-in, first-out” system to ensure food doesn’t sit in your pantry for too long. Place new items behind your pantry’s existing stock as soon as you buy them.
If you use reusable containers for things like flour, pasta, and cereal, label every item with its expiration date before discarding the original packaging.
As tempting as it is, don’t refill dry goods containers until they are completely empty. You don’t want to mix products with different expiration dates.
Does a pantry need to be cool and dark?
The ideal pantry temperature is 50 to 70 degrees. Avoid placing heat-producing appliances near your pantry.
While you should protect perishables from natural light, you don’t need to keep your pantry dark 24/7. A few well-placed light fixtures will make it easier to find what you need. These small light sources won’t do any harm to your pantry items.