24 Pantry Organization Ideas, Tips & Hacks

Caroline Gilbert
Written by Caroline Gilbert
Updated October 27, 2021
Woman in kitchen opening pantry door
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Trust us—an organized pantry keeps your kitchen running smoothly

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From canned items to baking products to dry goods to appliances, your pantry can be used to store a wide variety of items. Keeping your pantry orderly makes life easier and can save time and money. Check out some pantry organization ideas to create efficiency, functionality, and visual appeal in your kitchen. 

Where to Start

It all starts with purging and cleaning.

  • Begin by going through the food you already have on your pantry shelves. Look for expiration dates and throw away anything that is already expired.

  • If you have items that you don’t use but haven’t expired, donate them to your local food pantry.

  • Take out storage containers and match them up with their lids, then wash them out.

  • Dust and wipe down shelves.

  • Wipe down cans and any items that you plan on putting back in your pantry.

  • Take inventory of the items you have so you can plan the type and amount of pantry storage items needed (containers, jars, baskets, etc).

Pantry Organization Ideas to Inspire You

Browse through some creative kitchen pantry design and organization ideas to implement in your own space. If you find you are missing a helpful shelf or two, you can also DIY pantry shelving on a weekend afternoon.

1. Keep It Open

Open shelving kitchen pantry
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Open pantry shelving allows you to store a wide variety of differently sized items ranging from dishes and jars to large pitchers and appliances. It also provides easy access to your stuff. Remember, if you choose to keep your pantry completely open in your kitchen, you may spend more time organizing your items because they are in plain sight. 

2. Hide It All Behind a Door

Pantry behind pocket door in kitchen
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If the space allows, enclosing your pantry gives you a separate designated area to store everyday items and the ability to hide any mess with a shut door. Maximize the floor space in your kitchen by installing a pocket door that “disappears” into the wall when you open and close it. 

3. Pick Uniform Containers

Clear food storage containers in kitchen pantry
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Using containers to store your dry goods is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also can save space while organizing everything. Choose containers that are from the same manufacturer, so everything looks uniform, but different heights, so you can store and stack various types of pantry items. Opt for clear containers so you can quickly find your favorite cereal during the morning rush.   

4. Store Dry Goods in Large Glass Jars

Glass jars in kitchen pantry
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Cereals, flour, pastas, and other everyday items take up a lot of space when kept in their original packaging. Avoid squeezing oversized boxes in your pantry by storing bulk goods in large glass jars. 

5. Put Miscellaneous Items in Small Glass Jars

Small and large jars in kitchen pantry
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Store miscellaneous ingredients that you may not use in high quantities such as dry beans, ground coffee, or nuts in small glass jars. You can save money by shopping in the grocery store’s bulk section and purchasing these items in smaller quantities, rather than buying prepackaged ingredients that may go to waste.

6. Organize with a Label Maker

Dry goods labeled in jars in kitchen pantry
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Labeling your containers can make life easier, especially if you have a lot of dry goods that look alike. Buy a label maker to quickly distinguish between your cake flour, bread flour, and sugar, and ensure that you’re not using baking soda instead of baking powder (we’ve all been there).

7. Try a Baker’s Rack

Modern baker’s rack in kitchen
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If your kitchen does not have a designated pantry area, consider adding a baker’s rack. Put this piece of furniture against an open wall to serve the same purpose as a small pantry. A baker’s rack is a versatile addition to your space and allows you to store dry or canned goods, dishes, appliances, or a combination of items. 

8. Illuminate the Space

Illuminated shelves in kitchen pantry
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Illuminate your pantry space by adding lighting so you can grab midnight snacks without turning all of the lights on. Consider motion sensor lights or push lights for easy use.

9. Add a Ladder

Distressed ladder next to cupboards in kitchen
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Put a wooden ladder in your pantry to store linens and various hanging utensils while adding rustic flair to the space. A functional ladder gives you easy access to hard-to-reach items, allowing you to maximize your vertical space. If you have little ones that can’t reach the pantry shelves, consider using a step stool instead so they can easily find their snacks.

10. Create a Wine Rack

Close up of wine rack
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Pantries aren’t only reserved for dry goods. Use some of the space to safely stow wine bottles in a wine rack. Add shelves next to the wine rack to hang wine glasses by the stem to conveniently pour a glass of red whenever you like.

11. Install a Lazy Susan

Lazy Susan in kitchen corner cabinet
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If you are working with limited space, maximize a corner by installing a lazy Susan. This circular turntable perfectly corrals all your spices and oils, bringing the ones you need to the front with an easy spin and keeping things like star anise toward the back until it’s pho/mulled wine season. You can also find freestanding lazy Susans for 360-degree accessibility to smaller items in your pantry.

12. Make Time for Tea

Tea bags in wooden box
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Rather than keeping tea bags in their original boxes, neatly store them in a wooden box with separate compartments. When you have company, you can pull out the box so they can easily pick a flavor from your assortment. Keep some sugar packets in the box to have everything you need in one place to enjoy a cup of tea.

13. Use Bins as a Catchall

Bins and containers in organized kitchen cabinet
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Not everything fits neatly in containers so for these items, consider using bins for a more organized pantry. You can store various sized items such as prepackaged snacks, fruit, or baking supplies in them. 

Look for bins with handles if you are storing them on upper shelves for easier access. If you plan on storing produce, opt for bins with holes so air can get through.

14. Build Appliance Cubbies

Open shelving in large kitchen
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Appliances often take up the most counter space so if you don’t use them frequently, storing them in your pantry can free up room in your kitchen. If the space allows, create individual cubbies for awkward-sized appliances like pressure cookers or waffle makers so you can safely stack them on top of each other. 

15. Spice Up Your Shelving

Small jars on kitchen shelf
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Using decorative shelving, like scallop edges, can bring a personal touch to your space. You can also line the shelves with contact paper or apply stick-on wallpaper to the pantry walls to add character within the area.

16. Hang Wire Racks Under Shelves

Containers and wire baskets in kitchen pantry
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When creating a pantry design, think about all areas of usable space. Installing wire racks under the shelves gives you more storage without taking up coveted shelf or counter space. This is a good place to store produce, as the wire racks allow air to circulate through. 

17. Add Pull-Out Drawers

Pull-out drawers in kitchen cupboard
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Adding pull-out drawers is another way to maximize storage space, especially in a small pantry. Add compartments to each drawer to organize your items as needed. Keep cans in the drawers so you can easily see when you are running low on certain items.

18. Create a Hidden Coffee Bar

Coffee maker and shelves in pantry
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If you're like us, you love coffee and think it deserving of its own little space. Set aside a shelf in the pantry to serve as a coffee bar and save yourself a trip to Starbucks. Install an outlet and store your coffee or espresso maker at counter height and hang mugs by the handle on hooks. Keep fixings and utensils nearby to make it feel like you’re in a coffee shop.

19. Designate a Space for Your Spices

Spices in containers on a wooden shelf
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Spices usually come in awkwardly sized containers, making it difficult to keep spice cabinets orderly. Look for uniform, airtight containers to keep your spices in, and store them in your pantry instead. While it may take some time upfront to switch over your spices and organize them, keeping them in a convenient place is efficient and can free up cabinet space. While it may take some time upfront to switch over your spices and organize them, keeping them in a convenient place is efficient and can free up cabinet space.

20. Easily Make Lists

Woman writing list on chalkboard in home
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Organize your thoughts (and your space) by adding a chalkboard to the front of your pantry. This gives you the ability to jot down grocery list items as soon as you realize you’re running low. You can also use the chalkboard to write notes or reminders, which can be especially helpful during hectic times, like back-to-school or during the holidays. 

21. Mix Baskets and Bins

Large organized pantry storage
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Add visual appeal by mixing different types of pantry storage solutions. For example, use bins with wire racks to see your produce, but keep miscellaneous sized items in enclosed bins to better organize the shelves. Choose baskets and bins in the same neutral color scheme for a cohesive look. 

22. Use Up Vertical Space

Man reaching for jar in kitchen pantry
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Capitalize on vertical space when designing or reorganizing your pantry. Add shelves to the upper areas to store items that you may not use on an everyday basis. If necessary, get a small step stool or folding step ladder nearby so you can easily get stuff down. 

23. Add Hanging Baskets

Hanging fruit baskets in kitchen pantry
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Another way to use vertical space is to install hanging baskets to store produce. Install a hanging basket in a corner or low-traffic area of your pantry so that you don’t run into it in a rush.  

24. Don’t Forget About Your Door

Kids searching through the pantry
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Take advantage of all usable space by adding storage to the pantry door. Look for a hanging door organizer that can minimize clutter by storing boxed plastic wrap, aluminum foil, and wax paper. You can also keep household cleaning products on the door so they aren’t stored near food. 

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