top of page

Pantry Organization: A Step-by-Step Guide to Organizing your Pantry

Let's talk pantry organization! Whether you have a dreamy walk-in pantry with floor to ceiling storage, or just a few shelves that hold your food essentials, anyone can organize their pantry to make it more fuctional and beautiful. We've broken down pantry organization into our step-by-step process that we use to transform our clients' pantries from chaos to calm!

Step 1: Schedule a time to tackle your pantry project

The first step in tackling any big project on your to-do list is to block out a window of time on your calendar. Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a full-time working professional, this is a neccessary step. Try picking a time when kids are napping, at school or a day off work when you have some uninterupted time to really focus on what you are doing. Yes this is hard! But treat this window of time just as you would any other appointment. Make it a priority and stay focused on the task at hand! For large, walk in pantries, we'd recommend planning for 4-5 hours while smaller pantries might require 2-3.

Step 2: Shop for supplies

Before you dive head first into your pantry, a little preparation is key. Before we tackle any pantry for our clients, we always measure first! What do you need to measure? The depth and height of the shelves are key. You don't want to purchase bins only to find that they hang over the edge or are too tall to fit on your shelves!

Once you have your measurements, it's time to shop! For our projects, we bring a huge amount of products so we have options. For this reason, we'd recommend you have a variety of choices and simply return the items you don't end up using.

Here are a few of our favorite pantry staples that come in a variety of sizes to fit almost any pantry shelf:

These come in 3 sizes, are affordable, and look bright, clean and neat in a pantry. The smooth surface allows us to easily label the category as well. We use them in almost all our pantry projects!

These bins are tall and deep, so they work well for storing larger pantry items such as chips, bread, and boxes of cereal. The handle on them makes them function like a drawer on deep pantry shelves so that items don't get lost in the back.

One of the first things we do in a pantry to save space is to remove bulky packaging. Decanting snacks, cereal, baking supplies and pasta not only looks pretty, but helps you see how much of each item you have!

Oils, vinegars, and any bottled sauces work best on a rotating turntable. This prevents them from getting "lost" in the back of the shelf. The Brightroom brand from Target has affordable turntables in various sizes so you can easily find one that fits your space.

For canned goods, these can risers utilize vertical space, expand outward to fit the width of any shelf in your pantry, and can hold 3 "levels" of cans to help you quickly take stock of what items you have on hand.

Don't let your floor space go to waste! Use larger baskets for bulk items such as lunch boxes, reusable bags (just fold them and store vertically in the basket), bottled drinks, paper goods and other bulky items.

We always use a combination of gray or white bins mixed with woven baskets for a more aesthetically beautiful look!

Step 3: Take it All Out!

Once you have your supplies, take everything, and we mean everything out of your pantry. As your remove items, sort them into general categories such as dinner, canned goods, breakfast, condiments and sauces, snacks, breads, chips, and drinks. This does not have to be perfect! Just make piles (or use bins) to create general categories.

Now is the time to check for expiration dates and toss anything expired or that you know you won't eat. If you have lots of items that are still good but that you know you or your family members will not eat, consider donating these to a local food pantry. The goal here is to pare down your pantry items to only those foods you will eat and items you will use! This includes going through reusable bags (we all have too many), water bottles, paper goods (how many types of party napkins do you really need?) and other items that have accumulated in your pantry.

Step 4: Product Placement

Wipe down your shelves so they are nice and clean, then start placing all those bins and organizational supplies into your pantry. This is the part that is a bit like a Tetris game or a puzzle! Think about how you use the space. Do you want your kids to have access to the snacks? Place those on a lower shelf. What do you want to see when you open your pantry door? We usually put woven baskets in the direct line of sight simply because they are prettiest to look at. Use turntables in the corers and can risers in a place you plan to store your dinner items.

Step 5: A Place for Everything and Label it!

Now that you've sorted your items and have your storage products in place, its time to find a home for everything. Look at your sorted piles and see which "category" has the most items. For example, if you notice you have a huge amount of items in the dinner category, sort them into sub-categories (pasta, sauces, rice and grains, spice mixes, etc.) Start putting these into your pantry bins (put a post-it label on the front so you know what category each bin contains).

We always recommend taking items out of their packages as you put them away. This means taking all those snacks such as granola bars, applesauce pouches, fruit snacks, etc. out of boxes and putting them into bins.

Finally, put the finishing touch on with labels! You can use simple chalkboard labels or pre-printed ones such as these Talented Kitchen labels from Amazon, which are not only affordable, but look beautiful too. Labels are essential for helping every member of your family know where to find things and (most importantly) where to put items away so you can maintain your organized pantry!

Need more pantry inspiration? Follow us on our Instagram Page for more tips and product recommendations!


bottom of page