10 Pantry Organization Ideas

10 Tips for an Organized Pantry

When we originally redid our pantry in 2012-13 I really tried to give the project a lot of forethought and create pantry organization systems that would remain neat forever. Of course, that was wildly idealistic! In any organizing project, you are going to need to adjust and adapt over time. So today I’m sharing my new top ten best tips for creating pantry organization.  Some of these are the old classics, and a few are things I learned with time and perspective. You can also check out five mistakes I made when trying to create an organized pantry here!

10 Pantry Organization Ideas

Originally Published April 17, 2013

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10 Tips for Pantry Organization | Create pantry organization with these 10 tips on making the most of your food storage space from @nina_hendrick!

1. Plan your pantry out really well

The best way to start is to make a list of all of the challenges you have with your current pantry organization and brainstorm ways to solve them. For example, the former closet that served as our pantry was very deep. You will notice that in the new pantry that the shelves are set back from the two bottom cubbies. I am not very tall, and I have very short arms (cue the t-rex jokes). It is much easier for me to find and reach things when the shelves and drawers aren’t as deep!

This is just one example of a way to design the space so it best serves your family. You may find that you have a lot more bulk goods that need a home. In your case, the deep shelves may actually be a good thing! Make the space work for your unique needs

2. Make it pretty

Now, this isn’t a requirement, but I have definitely noticed that I’m much more likely to keep a space organized if it’s pleasant to look at. That goes for pretty much any organizing project. I have gone as far as to contemplate glass doors- I love my pantry that much!

10 Tips for an Organized Pantry | Create an organized pantry with these 10 tips on making the most of your food storage space from @nina_hendrick!

3. Use labels

When I originally planned the pantry, I labeled everything. I was just a bit overzealous ;). However, I do feel like some labels are useful. I tend to label more by category now, especially as my boys are getting to the age where their chores include putting away groceries or grabbing something for me while I’m cooking. The labels keep us all on track.

4. Utilize slide-out storage

One of my favorite features in this project is still having the drawers for cans and other items that slide out. I feel like this is a must for any deep space that isn’t easy to access. We built the drawers from scratch, but there is a kit available here that is prebuilt.

5. Decant items into clear containers

I am a big fan of using glass jars in every room, and I think it truly helps to keep a space neat. You can measure quantities more efficiently, and there are no more empty boxes sitting on the shelves.

6. Create adjustable shelves

When we designed the pantry we adopted the concept of adjustable pegs and holes using the Kreg Pin Jig. In every section, we can adjust the drawer and shelf heights with our changing needs. We haven’t found that we had to do this very often, but I appreciate that the option is there.

10 Tips for an Organized Pantry | Create an organized pantry with these 10 tips on making the most of your food storage space from @nina_hendrick!

7. Corral loose items with baskets, trays, and crates

Rather than having a bunch of small items kicking around, it’s so nice to be able to keep them neat and contained by corralling them in pretty baskets, trays, and crates. It can also save time- for example, you can store all your most frequently used spices on one easy-to-grab tray.

10 Tips for an Organized Pantry | Create an organized pantry with these 10 tips on making the most of your food storage space from @nina_hendrick!

8. Make use of all available space

When we first built this space, I went way too long without making use of the real-estate on the doors. Now there are can and bottle organizers, which freed up even more space on the shelves and drawers!

10 Tips for an Organized Pantry | Create an organized pantry with these 10 tips on making the most of your food storage space from @nina_hendrick!

9. Create a divided area for cookie sheets and cutting boards

In my experience, cookie sheets tend to get the raw end of the deal in the bakeware cabinets. They end up at the very bottom of the stack, meaning you have to take everything else out in order to get to them. Storing them upright in the pantry has been such a great solution in our home, along with the easily-accessible cutting boards!

10. Store less-used items up high

If you’re like me, you probably can’t reach the top shelf very often. I could store a footstool at the bottom of my pantry pretty easily, but I choose not to because of my children. In their reach, it would become a way up onto the counters, to the candy above the fridge, and other things I don’t even want to think of. Instead, I choose to store things up high that don’t get used very often. I can get to them if I absolutely need to, but that isn’t frequent.

I hope that you found these pantry organization ideas helpful! Creating a system for a particular space in your home can be a lot of work, but I find that it is always worthwhile. With minimum maintenance, our pantry stays very organized, even with my kids going through it constantly. I hope that if you tackle this project that you’ll share it by tagging me on Instagram @ninahendrickdesign, I love to see your organizing projects!

10 Tips for an Organized Pantry | Create an organized pantry with these 10 tips on making the most of your food storage space from @nina_hendrick!

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  1. For the can rack that looks like you attached it to the back of one of pantry doors, is there a problem with the weight pulling the door down slightly, or do the hinges hold it upright? I love your site by the way. I found it when I was looking for a way to put a nice cover over my vent hood.

    1. The supports did great at holding it up! But you could use sheetrock anchors if you have a hollow-core door to add extra support. Thanks so much for the kind words!

  2. I know this is very old, but can you tell me where you got your wire baskets?? I’m working on my pantry and looking for baskets exactly like these! It shouldn’t be hard, but for some reason I’m struggling to find any. Thanks !

  3. I used to get so frustrated with myself if I didn’t get everything on my list done in a day. Then I would start my list for the next day and have to add my uncompleted item(s) to that list. Very frustrating. Then I went to a seminar and learned that I need 2 lists, my daily list and long term project list. Now I complete my daily list, feel content with what I accomplished, but I don’t have to keep seeing all those time consuming projects as uncompleted daily. Hope this helps someone. Thanks for all your organizing tips.

  4. I know I’m commenting on an old post, but we are in the middle of building a walk in pantry and I’m fishing around pinterest for ideas. I’d love to see a picture of the “box” before it was all painted and prettied-up.

    I love all the wire baskets! Perfect!

  5. I love this. I would love to find the pantry kit components but can’t find anything on the lowe’s website. Can you provide the brand name?

      1. Hi. Can you tell me what kind of wood your husband used and how thick? I doubt I can get my husbAnd to do this but I’ll try. Thanks, great job!

        1. Hi Nichole,

          We used standard 3/4″ cabinet-grade plywood and trimmed it out with pine 1×2″ trim! I hope that helps!

    1. That is an awesome tutorial! Thank you Kayla Sue!! I will definitely have to add that to the list :)

  6. True inspiration right here. We have an pitiful excuse for a pantry but really do not have any way of making it bigger so slide out drawers is a wonderful idea!!

  7. Love your pantry. If it were mine, I would use that bottom shelf as a ladder to get to the top shelf. Awesome idea!

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