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How to Organize Your Pantry in Nine Steps

food stored in glass jars in pantry

Why is it that pantries, in particular, are notorious for being the most overstocked area of a home? It may be because they’re used so often and cleaned so little. We also tend to forget about items once they’re moved or pushed out of sight. Whatever the reason, organizing a pantry is easy. All it takes is identifying all the usable items and optimizing the space for those items. Check out these pantry organization tips, and prepare to revamp your pantry today.

1. Take inventory.

It may seem simple, but organizing your pantry begins with finding out what’s in your pantry. That includes removing everything from it and giving the shelves a good wipe-down. Then, sort through the contents, toss out the items that have expired or are past their shelf life, and take inventory of what’s left, so you know all the ingredients and nonperishables you have on hand. Take note of duplicate and low-stock items to help you stay organized in the future.  

2. Gather your vessels.

One important piece of advice: Get pantry organizers. Keep your pantry de-cluttered by putting everything in containers and labeling them so you know what’s within reach. Shallow baskets and Tupperware work well, but if you’re looking for specific storage solutions for spices, canned goods, lids, and more, the following resources provide helpful recommendations.

3. Put similar items together.

Birds of a feather—or in this case, spices—flock together. Store similar-use items, like cooking oils, spices, canned goods, and condiments, in the same place. Corralling these items streamlines the cooking experience and prevents them from getting lost. We love using tools like Lazy Susan turntables and tiered shelves to create a practical and aesthetically pleasing solution.

pasta and rice stored in glass jars

4. Consider bulk storage.

Do you buy bag after bag of almonds or multiple bottles of olive oil and only get halfway through them? Consider investing in bulk jars or bins so that you can not only keep your nonperishables for longer, but also save a little space in your cupboards (and avoid wasting so much plastic in the long run). Check out this post for the best bins and containers for bulk pantry storage.

5. Think about placement.

The location of items in your pantry is more important than you might think. Always store your frequently used items at eye level in a place that’s easily accessible. Keep soon-to-expire ingredients front and center as a reminder to use them before they go bad. And lastly, make sure to store electric kettles or other utensils and appliances that have nowhere else to go away from your food items. This way, you won’t get stuck performing a complicated maneuver every time you need to use them.  

6. Label everything for easy access. 

One of the keys to maintaining a well-organized pantry is effective labeling. After transferring your pantry items into containers, ensure you label each one. This small step can save you a lot of time when searching for specific ingredients, especially during busy meal prep sessions or the holidays. Consider investing in a label maker or simply use adhesive labels and a marker to clearly mark the contents and expiration dates. 

7. Implement regular pantry checkups. 

To maintain your newly organized pantry, it's essential to conduct regular checkups. Schedule a monthly or quarterly review to ensure that items haven't expired or reached their best-before dates. Use this opportunity to rotate items, moving older ones to the front and placing newer purchases at the back. 

Don't forget to do a fridge cleanout, too! Check out our expert guide for how to clean your refrigerator like a pro

8. Make it aesthetic. 

While functionality is paramount, don't forget about the visual aspect of your pantry. A well-organized pantry can also be aesthetically pleasing. Consider using uniform storage containers, matching labels, and a color-coding system. These visual cues not only enhance the pantry's appearance but also make it easier to identify items at a glance. 

organized and aesthetic pantry

9. Seek inspiration and ideas. 

If you're looking for inspiration to take your pantry organization to the next level, explore various pantry organization ideas online and in magazines. You'll find countless creative and innovative ways to optimize your pantry space and make it uniquely yours. 

An Organized Pantry is a Happy Pantry! 

A well-organized pantry can be a game-changer for your kitchen and cooking experience. The often-overstocked, neglected space can transform into a haven of efficiency with a little time and effort. By following these pantry organization tips and investing in useful pantry organizers, grouping similar items together, considering bulk storage options, and strategically placing your frequently used items, you can create a well-structured pantry that not only saves you time but also reduces food waste and clutter. Now that your pantry has everything in its place, find out the best ways to store fruits and veggies with our quick tips!