A well-organized pantry means that you always know where your ingredients and cookware are and makes cooking and maintaining your kitchen neat and tidy a less challenging task. It can also save you money, as you’re less likely to order takeout if you have everything you need on hand and you can whip up a nice meal in no time.

Another important advantage of an organized pantry is that it prevents food waste – no more throwing away cans of tomatoes, bags of rice or spices, simply because you didn’t see them on your messy pantry shelves, and they expired.

A pantry organizing system will prevent such problems – and you don’t even have to spend a lot of money to create your dream pantry. Here are some simple, easy to do pantry organizing ideas that will streamline the space:

1. Use floor to ceiling shelving

You don’t want wasted space in your pantry, and the simplest, most affordable way to make sure that every inch of the pantry is put to good use is by installing floor-to-ceiling shelves on all the walls. No need to spend money on cabinets – shelves are usually narrower, which helps provide more storage space in a small pantry and, at the same time, you see everything at a glance. It’s a good idea to get heavy-duty shelves that will last you a lifetime.

2. Purchase transparent pantry containers

A few sets of air-tight, transparent containers made of glass or plastic and that are easily stackable save a lot of space in the pantry. Instead of keeping foods like flour, rice, beans, sugar and so on, in their original packaging, transfer them into such containers. Dried foods usually come in paper or plastic bags, which often rip and are susceptible to moisture, which will spoil it. By using air-tight containers, you prevent spills and spoils. Additionally, the transparent containers make it easier for you to spot your beans or your flour when you need them.

3. Install over the door organizers

Over the door organizers are a great way for gaining some new “real-estate” in your pantry. These organizers are easy to install – all you have to do is hang them on the back of the door. The extra shelving space you obtain that way is ideal for small items: spices and condiments, tea, coffee, and so on.

4. Get tiered organizers for your shelves

It’s generally a good idea to have enough space between the pantry shelves for things big pots, stand mixers, and so on. However, this can also lead to wasted space when storing items that are not quite as tall. One way to prevent that is by getting some tiered organizers for the pantry shelves. This way, you have more flexibility on how you can use your shelves: you can store big items when needed or maximize the amount of available storage space during the rest of the time. Alternatively, you could put the large cooking gear that you only use for special occasions – like Thanksgiving or Christmas meals – in self storage, thus freeing up more space in your pantry. A 5×5 storage unit is the ideal size for keeping such items safe, while also enjoying some wiggle room around your kitchen and pantry.

5. Put your cans on racks

Canned foods should be a staple in your pantry – they’re great value for the money, have a long shelf life, and you can use them to put together quick meals when you don’t have time for an elaborate dinner with fresh ingredients. However, stocking them on your pantry shelves, in rows or one on top of the other, makes it hard for you to see what you actually have or reach a certain can. A can rack organizer will make sure that your cans don’t come crashing down from the shelves when you try to extract one, and that you can check your canned food supply easily and plan your meals and shopping trips according to it.

6. Include something to write on

Speaking of shopping lists, you should also have something to write on in your pantry. You could, for example, cover a portion of a wall in chalkboard paint and use it to make notes of food items you need to buy during your next shopping trip or of ingredients you should use as soon as possible. Of course, if you don’t want to go through the trouble of painting a wall, you could use sticky notepads for your grocery list and your “pantry inventory.” Either way, the important thing is to keep tabs on your food supply, cook what you have before it expires, and replenish your stocks in a timely manner.

7. Use a variety of baskets and bins

An assortment of baskets and bins of all sizes will definitely help keep your pantry more organized. From kitchen linens and recipes books to fruits and veggies, you can separate your items into categories and have individual, labeled boxes for each category. It’s a lot more efficient than having your stuff on piles on the shelves.

8. Consider swiveling storage for easier access to your stuff

Get a couple of turntable organizers for condiment or oil bottles, for small jars, coffee capsules, tea bags and so on. It’s a smart way to make sure you have access to all those essential ingredients without digging through rows of stuff and moving them around all the time. You could even have several swiveling organizers for different purposes – one for items you use when cooking dinner and another for ingredients you need when baking desserts, for example.

9. Hold the mess under control with lid holder

Pots, pans and even Tupperware lids are a veritable storage challenge – if you keep them on their respective pots, you can’t nestle the pots and pans one inside the other to save space. A lid holder keeps them neat and organized – you can get one that’s wall-mounted, or one that simply sits on the shelf – the choice is yours!

10. Place a pegboard on the wall

A pegboard fitted with S-shaped hooks is great for hanging cutting boards, wooden spoons, whisks, strainers, ladles, and even pots and pans. Basically, you can put all the things that can be hanged here, freeing up space on your shelves – and also making it easier for you to pick up your utensils while cooking.

What other tips and tricks do you use to keep your pantry organized? Let us know in the comments!


Maria Gatea is a real estate and lifestyle editor for Yardi with a background in Journalism and Communication. After covering business and finance-related topics as a freelance writer for 15 years, she is now focusing on researching and writing about the real estate industry. You may contact Maria via email.

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