10 Simple Steps to Organizing Your Pantry

Organized pantry shelves with baskets and clear containers

Today I’m sharing my favorite tips for organizing your pantry. There is something about the holidays that makes me want to get organized. Come Jan. 1st you can almost always find me cleaning out a closet or organizing a cabinet in an attempt to dig us out from the whirlwind of baking, decorating, and gift giving from the previous month.

Well this year, I tried to get ahead of the game by tackling our pantry before the holidays. It was less smart planning on my part, and more my husband telling me we really needed to do something about it. If your husband is the one telling you something needs to be cleaned, then you really know it needs help!

10 Simple Steps to Organizing Your Pantry

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My Favorite Pantry Organization Tools

1. Large glass jars – great for corralling and showing off pre-packaged items.
2. Woven plastic storage baskets – visually appealing and can hold a lot!
3. Snapware containers – great for storing baking staples with a pourable lid.
4. Shelf organizers – double your shelf space for canned goods.
5. Chalkboard labels – look great and can be easily relabeled.

My favorite pantry organizers


I’ve never had a pantry before moving to our new home in July, and I must say it was one of the things I was looking forward to the most. Last year at Christmas, I remember having baking goods stashed in grocery bags in our bedroom for lack of space in the kitchen. Having acquired a pantry for the first time, it took me a couple months to figure out how to make it most work for our needs. Here’s the system I’ve come up with for organizing your pantry:

Tips for Organizing Your Pantry

1. Use a variety of different storage containers

I tried to invoke a little of California Closets‘ knack for making the perfect customized storage for different items – their pantry solutions offer everything from special inserts for silverware and spices to pull out baskets for linens. For a similar effect, I used a mix of glass jars, plastic containers with pourable lids, baskets, and small risers/shelves. I used these 1 gallon glass jars from Target to organize pre-packaged snack items:

Get your pantry looking fabulous with these 10 simple tips! #pantry #pantryorganization #pantrytips

2. Keep an eye out for sales

Pantry storage containers can be pricey. My pantry is a hodgepodge of containers partly because I waited to find good deals. I’ve found the glass jars at Target to be reasonably priced (under $10 each for the 1 gallon size). Thrift stores are also a great place to find glass storage containers if you are willing to go with an eclectic mix.

3. Don’t try to force everything into a pretty container

Who doesn’t ooh and aah over those pantries in magazines where every single dry good is in a pretty glass jar. Unfortunately, in real life I need to keep my pasta in its bag so I have the cooking directions at hand, and emptying cereal out of the box into a glass container just doesn’t make sense to me.

 I opted for open baskets to reign in similar items. I found some pretty woven baskets and have one dedicated to pasta, one to chips, and one for other snacks. These baskets are 15″x11″x7″ and are similar to the “large” size of these baskets available on Amazon.

Get your pantry looking fabulous with these 10 simple tips! #pantry #pantryorganization #pantrytips

I also used a basket to hold dish towels and another to hold all my baking supplies: 

Get your pantry looking fabulous with these 10 simple tips! #pantry #pantryorganization #pantrytips

4. Prioritize airtight containers for the food you store the longest

I do like my storing baking items like flour and sugar in airtight Snapware containers with a pourable lid. I find the paper bags they come in are prone to leaking flour and sugar on the shelves.

Get your pantry looking fabulous with these 10 simple tips! #pantry #pantryorganization #pantrytips

5. Label, label, label

Labeling is a fun touch that automatically makes your pantry look organized. It’s not that I necessarily needed a label on my cookie cutter jar to tell me what was in there but it made it look pretty nonetheless! I used the 2-gallon glass jar to hold all my cookie cutters.

Get your pantry looking fabulous with these 10 simple tips! #pantry #pantryorganization #pantrytips

I used inexpensive manila tags as well as these chalkboard labels which I love because you can easily relabel them if you change the contents of the container. 

6. Maximize your space with risers

I used inexpensive kitchen cabinet organizers to double my storage space for canned goods and condiments, as well as for our bread.

Get your pantry looking fabulous with these 10 simple tips! #pantry #pantryorganization #pantrytips

7. Put the least-used items highest up

On the highest shelf I have small appliances like our blender and ice cream maker that I use infrequently (and need to get on a step stool to reach). The next highest shelf holds cookbooks and baking supplies which I also don’t use on a daily basis.

8. If you have young children, keep the tempting stuff out of reach

I keep the candy and cookies just out of reach from my girls so they don’t think they can just help themselves when they want! Of course, this might not work if you have climbers, so do what makes sense for your family. 🙂 I put less interesting paper towels and extra garbage bags on the bottom shelf.

9. Buy what your space holds

Pantries only look organized if they aren’t overflowing with stuff. Go through your pantry and clean out old and expired items. Buying bulk is good, but if you can, try to avoid buying more than your pantry can hold.  

10. Maximize dead space

We placed our garbage can and recycling bin on the floor to free up room in the kitchen and make use of the floor in the pantry. Of course we keep the lids closed, use the garbage disposal in our sink for food scraps, and take out the garbage regularly to keep the pantry area smelling fresh and clean. We also store extra canned drinks and water bottles on the floor of the pantry.


My pantry is looking a million times better than it did a month ago thanks to the addition of a few storage containers and labels:

How to organize your pantry

Like these tips for organizing your pantry, then wait until you see my craft closet

Create the craft supply closet of your dreams with these simple tips! #craftstorage #craftroom #craftsupplies #craftcloset

Have school-aged kids? Then don’t miss my school lunch station:

How to create a school lunch station #schoollunchideas #kidslunchideas #lunchstation #sacklunchideas 

This post is sponsored by California Closets. All content and opinions are my own.

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  1. Wow! This looks so organized! We just built a pantry (previously I was using a big cabinet) and I need all the organizing ideas I can find.

    1. Yay! I’ve found since I put this system in place years ago, it has been really easy to keep up. It doesn’t always look quite as organized as these photos, but it is pretty close!

  2. I’ve been scouring websites for panty how-to’s and FINALLY found this. Thanks for great info. I feel ready to begin!

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