The pantry is the heart of the kitchen. During busy weeknights, when you don’t have time to go grocery shopping, or when a last-minute guest shows up but have nothing in the fridge, having the basic pantry staples can be a lifesaver.
It is also where everything extra goes, extra packs of drinks, dried goods, paper towels, and anything else that won’t spoil.
Thus, it can get pretty messy quickly. Moreover, an out-of-sight, out-of-mind mentality can occur when dealing with pantries, similar to wardrobes. You shove everything in, and as long as you don’t have to look at it actively, you don’t have to organize it.
However, having a clean and organized kitchen pantry can make your life much easier. With that in mind, here is a list of tips, tricks, and ingenious pantry organization ideas.
1. Don’t Forget the Door
First, the pantry door can also be used for organization and storage; it doesn’t have to be just a door. You can use an over-the-door organizer for this idea or repurpose a shoe organizer if you are on a budget. This organizer can house spices, oils, condiments, granola bars, or similar items.
As this is the first thing you see when you open the pantry, it is excellent for easy access and small items that can easily get lost among all the big items in storage space.
2. Label Everything
When you go to bake your favorite cake, you won’t be able to tell the difference between what type of flour is in the container, cake, or all-purpose. What is in the unlabeled jar: rice flour or cornstarch? Which type of vinegar is in the bottle?
For this exact reason, you should label everything. Not only does it make it possible to identify what is what, but it also makes it possible to tell the expiration dates of certain foods that are no longer in their original container.
3. Mark and Designate Shelves
You can label the types of foods as much as you want, but as long as you don’t categorize and designate certain spaces for them, everything will still get messy and cluttered. The best way to go about it is to make very basic categories.
For example, baking supplies, vinegar, oils and sauces, spices, root vegetables, snacks, paper and plastic supplies, etc. You can separate all items in your pantry space into such categories and organize them accordingly so it is easier to find things.
Moreover, you can put small labels on the shelves for each section to prevent further disorganization.
4. Use Bins and Baskets
Utilizing storage bins will make organization so much easier. You can dump all of the smaller items, such as granola bars and similarly small snack items or other food storage.
Furthermore, bins and baskets are ideal for storing root vegetables such as potatoes and onions. You can also use baskets for extra items such as paper towels, extra packs of dries goods, cleaning supplies, or drinks. Storage bins are a great way of utilizing the bottom shelf as they can be otherwise hard to reach.
5. Use See-Through Container and Jars
If you want to organize your pantry, having mismatched containers and bags full of items can be a little frustrating. Using containers and jars instead can improve the usability, accessibility, and appearance of your pantry.
Using see-through containers to locate and recognize what you are looking for easily is especially important. Your pantry won’t be exposed to direct sunlight for long periods, so you don’t have to worry about things like olive oil or salt going bad.
The best thing about this pantry organization idea is that you can reuse old jars you already have. They are good to go as long as they are big enough and can be tightly shut.
6. Opt for Different Shelf Heights
Not all of the containers in your pantry are going to be the same height. Putting the small jars of spices and cans on a very tall shelf will be a waste of space. It is better to divide up the shelves to double the space for small items.
You can use shelf risers for items that aren’t in high rotation and turntables for items you use regularly. Condiments, sauces, vinegar, oils, and cans are great candidates for this option.
7. Keep it Unified
Using all different colors and styles of containers can look cluttered and disorganized even if it is organized. As mentioned before, using clear basic glass jars is an easy way to fix it. After using up a jar of pasta sauce, don’t toss the jar; you can clean it and scrape off the label. As a result, you have a perfectly fine jar to use. You can use these jars to store jams and preserves.
8. Roll Out Storage and Drawers
Reaching the back of deep shelves can be very hard, and you can easily forget what you have. Roll-out storage solutions and drawers can be great pantry organization ideas for deep shelves. They are great solutions for cleaning supplies, extra tea towels, rags, sponges, and similar items.
Otherwise, they can also be useful for cans, jars, and packaged goods such as dried fruits, nuts, and chips.
9. Try Magnets
Using magnets is an easy space-saving solution and can help some items be more easily accessible.
For example, storing the most used spices, kitchen knives, or steel utensils on a magnetic plate can make cooking easier. You don’t need to do anything for the knives and utensils for them to stick to the magnet, which makes this hack even easier.
For spices, you can use small magnetic containers. This way, you have all of your most used items at hand but out of the way.
10. Plastic Bags
You will likely come home with some plastic bags every time you go shopping. Furthermore, takeout bags and other shopping bags accumulate over time without you even noticing. It is hard to decide what to do with them as they occupy a lot of space.
Thus, it is a good idea to have a designated plastic bag holder in your pantry so that they can all have a place to live instead of loosely collecting all over the place. You can also use those bags as trash bags, so it is best to know where to find them whenever needed.
11. Utilize Hooks
Hooks are a great way of utilizing the wall space. You can use it for textile items such as aprons, oven mittens, and tea towels. Use can also hang a paper towel holder, aluminum foil holder, or similar roll products. These hooks are also great for hanging reusable shopping bags and tote bags.
12. Don’t Waste Vertical Space
Don’t waste an inch of wall space in your pantry. If you can, get shelves that go as high as possible, ideally up to the ceiling. The highest shelves are great for rarely used gadgets and things you have restocked. You can also use this space for special occasion dishes and glasses.
13. Keep the Food Safe
Although all of the food items mentioned are dry goods and don’t need to be refrigerated, they can go bad in a warm and humid space. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure the food is safe for consumption. One of the best ways of doing that is dropping a bay leaf or chili pepper in the jars. These will keep the insides of your jars safe as they are naturally insect-repellent.
In short, there are unlimited options for pantry organization ideas, tips, and tricks. It is a highly customizable area, and you can design it in a way that is the most practical for you. The pantry is a closed-off area, so it can be easier to keep organized than your kitchen.
As long as you develop a system that caters to your needs and is sustainable, it shouldn’t be too hard to keep it organized. Suppose the upkeep of the pantry is still impossible.
In that case, you should reconsider the layout and organization of the pantry until you land on a satisfactory, sustainable, and organized system.