How to Organize Your Pantry + 20 Brilliant Pantry Ideas

April 2, 2020

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Last Updated on July 8, 2022

These practical tips and 20+ brilliant pantry organization ideas for functional and pretty storage will have you organizing pantry like a pro.

Wondering how to organize your pantry and keep it that way? Do you find yourself wondering how in the world all the professionals out there know how to organize a pantry so perfectly? Not a thing out of place. Baskets and bins smartly put to use. And the labels–THE LABELS (so pretty, and it's so easy to make pretty labels for yourself at home)! These pantry ideas will teach you all the pros secrets for having a well organized pantry.

Getting our pantry organized has been on our list of things to really focus on since we finished our huge kitchen renovation last year. We are especially motivated to do it now that we have gotten all of the closets in our house organized. What we have found, especially with our linen closet and master closet, is that once we get a space organized and functioning it's easy to keep it that way. So we are going to organize our pantry this week!

The thing I love about all these pantry organization ideas is that they are versatile. It doesn't matter if your pantry is a giant walk-in space or a closet. There are ways to make everything accessible and orderly! And I've included my general tips for how to organize your pantry as well!

My Pantry Organization Tips

Let me start by saying that we are super lucky to have a pantry. I know not everyone has a pantry, but even if you don't, consider using these pantry organization ideas for whatever space you do use to store your non-perishable food items. 

Empty your ENTIRE pantry.

Yes, I know it will cause a temporary mess in your kitchen, but trust me, this is the only truly effective way to declutter your pantry and get it back to an organized state. After it is entirely empty, take the following steps:

Remove anything and everything that does not belong. Yes, this step applies even to your pantry. Don’t pretend that you don’t know what I am talking about. I have known plenty of people who store things like wrapping paper in their pantry. Don’t do that! Your pantry should store food and kitchen gear that doesn’t fit elsewhere…that’s it!

Trash anything that is expired. If you can’t find a clear expiration date, trash it if it’s opened and you can’t remember how long you have had it. Chances are, that means it was a long time ago and is not fit for consumption :)

Donate or trash any rarely used ingredients. If you filled your pantry with super healthy items during your last health kick that you wound up hating, now is the time to get rid of them. Don’t hang on to items that you know you don’t like or likely will never eat. Instead, donate them to your local food pantry or give them to a friend that you know will eat them.

Tweak your pantry storage.

After you have sorted everything, get ready to tweak your pantry if needed, using the following tips:

Make sure your shelves are not too deep. If your shelves are too deep, items will get lost and hidden and forgotten about. I cannot tell you how many items you will end up repurchasing because you could not see that you already had it. Deep shelves also make it very hard to reach things. The ideal depth for pantry shelves is 8 to 10 inches.

Make sure your shelf space is only as tall as it needs to be, to maximize vertical space. If your tallest item, such as a cereal box, is only 14 inches tall, you do not need 24 inches between your shelves. And you probably need only one shelf to accommodate your tallest items. The rest of the shelves can be anywhere between 8 and 12 inches apart.

Maximize the space on your pantry doors. There is a whole lot of storage real estate on the back of your pantry doors. USE IT! Purchase or build back-of-the-door storage so that you can free up some shelf space. I highly recommend this system–we've used it on the back of our doors for storage for years!

Return everything to your pantry.

Group like items together. This one seems obvious, but it needs to be said. Group like items together and store them in baskets or bins. For example, I was able to fit all of my cookie decorating supplies in one bin. I placed all of my flours and grains together in a basket.

Divide your pantry into zones. Arrange all of your pantry items into three zones: used rarely, used daily, and used sometimes. For example, Zone 1 should be at the top and should store things you rarely use. Zone 2 should consist of the two or three middle (and most accessible shelves) and should store items that you use daily or several times per week. Zone 3 should be the bottom-most area and should be items that you don’t use on a daily basis, but that you use frequently enough that you don’t want to have to get a stool to reach them. For us, Zone 3 stores paper towels and dog food. Create as many zones as you need.

20+ Pantry Ideas for Inspiration

Custom Built Pantry Shelves by The Handmade Home. If your pantry shelving is not working, build new ones like these custom DIY shelves. The beauty of building your own shelves is that you can customize the height, spacing and depth to exactly what you need. Keep in mind that a lot of pantries have really deep shelving, which is not ideal because it's so easy for things to get lost behind stuff on shelves!

custom pantry with turquoise walls

Colorful Pantry Organization Ideas by Addison's Wonderland. A beautiful pantry will help you want to keep it organized! This blogger used gorgeous wallpaper and simple organization to create the perfect pantry.

pantry with wallpaper ceiling

Green and White Pantry Organization by Laura Kostelny for Country Living. Don't want the same kind of pantry everyone else has? Think outside the box. I love the idea of using this screen door and those vintage bins are beautiful!

white and green pantry with screen door

Small Pantry Restoration by Daniel Kanter. When you are dealing with a small pantry space, it can be hard to figure out how to organize your pantry. This New Yorker does a great job making his small pantry functional and pretty by using shallow shelves along the length of the pantry and deeper shelves at the end.

narrow pantry with smart shelving

Pantry with DIY Chip Rack by Eleven Magnolia Lane. Get clever with your pantry storage! This smart use of vertical space for bagged snack storage is one of my favorite pantry ideas!

neat pantry with chip organization

Pantry Organized by Zones by Better Homes and Garden. One of the keys to staying organized is to keep like items together in “zones.” Divide your pantry into zones like this design to make grabbing snacks and food prep easy.

simple organized pantry

Beautiful and Organized Pantry by Classy Clutter. Fun and colorful wallpaper and simple jars and bins create a clean uncluttered pantry that will make you smile every time you walk in! I love that you can easily see what goes where with a combination of clear storage containers and an abundance of labels.

pantry with wallpaper

Organize Your Pantry with Baskets by Alyson Haley. Use baskets to hold all your like items and make an easy system for grabbing what you need. No more jumbled bags or boxes falling over! Easy-to-reach baskets on the floor hold kid snacks to make everyone's life easier.

pantry with wicker baskets

Small Pantry with Door Storage by Home Staging In Bloomington Illinois. It is not uncommon for a home to have the panty in what is virtually a closet in the kitchen. Making the most of ALL of your space is the best way to organize one of these! Don't forget the endless possibilities of smart back-of-the-door storage!

small pantry with door spice rack

Tidy Pantry by Stylish Revamp. Investing in good containers, risers, and under-shelving storage are some of the best ways to organize any pantry, especially a small one. I especially love how they use lazy susans in the corners to maximize that otherwise dead space!

organized white pantry

Perfectly Organized Pantry by She Gave It A Go. Clear containers and labels are an organizer's favorite weapon when it comes to taming the pantry. Taking food out of its packaging and putting it into containers may seem like a chore at first but that will be far outweighed by how easy it is to keep your pantry perfectly organized! 

pantry with chalk labels

Pantry Makeover with Removable Wallpaper by Ginger Snap Crafts. Your pantry doesn't have to be boring! Give it a makeover with removable wallpaper and pretty bins. This will take your pantry to the next level and inspire you to keep it organized!

pantry with wallpaper

Perfectly Labeled Small Pantry by Making Home Base. Just because you have a small pantry, doesn't mean it can't be organized! I love how Chelsea keeps things relatively simple and labels everything for easy cooking.

small pantry ogranization

Perfectly Organized Pantry by The Neat Method for The Container Store. One of the hottest pantry ideas out there right now are from The Neat Method! One of those ideas is to empty all dried goods and food out of its boxes into clean and clear containers whenever possible. I love the uniformity of it!

container store organized pantry

Pretty Pantry with Clever Storage by Polished Habitat. I love that Melissa really created a Butler's pantry out of her space. The penny tile and chalkboard wall make it so special! Her food storage is clever and functional and allows for lots of storage for other things like glassware and appliances. Subway tile would also be beautiful in a Butler's pantry.

pantry with tile and chalkboard

Organizing a Simple Pantry by Clean Mama. Wondering how to organize a simple pantry? This system is your answer! 

pantry with labeled shelves

Jars, Baskets and Bins by Better Homes and Gardens. Using glass jars, wooden bins and woven baskets make your pantry organized and pretty! I like how this allows some things to be visible and others to be hidden.

pantry with baskets and wooden bins

Uniform and Organized by Tara Thueson. If uniformity calms you, then this pantry organization method is for you! She uses simple white and clear containers to calm the chaos.

white organized pantry

Colorful and Happy Pantry Makeover by Classy Clutter. If you are a color-lover like me, then you are going to love this! The bright wallpaper shines through all the glass storage containers and perks up the whole space. When we finally get around to renovating our pantry in this house, you better believe there will be some fun wallpaper involved!

colorful wallpaper in pantry

Small Pantry Makeover by See Vanessa Craft.  Lots of homes have a small pantry, but this amazing makeover is proof that any pantry can be organized into the perfect useable space. I love the smart back-of-the-door storage (a trick I use in a lot of our closets to maximize storage).

pantry with door storage, basket and jars

Now you no longer have to be sad every time you open your pantry and see chaos! Everything you need to know about how to organize your pantry is right here. I love having my pantry organization in place and we worked hard to make it perfect after our kitchen renovation in our old home. We are very excited to tackle the pantry in our current home–it's huge but the current shelving is NOT ideal. I'll be using a lot of these pantry ideas when we renovate it!

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