25 of the Very Best Pantry Organizing Ideas

updated Jan 2, 2024
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Holly's kitchen aid mixer and spice cabinet

Organizing a kitchen pantry is a bit like setting up your library of dry food goods. Creating systems that help you level up your kitchen cabinet and pantry organization can help ensure that things are categorized and kept in the right place. 

With that in mind, here is a list of brilliant pantry organization ideas to help you achieve a realistic pantry that serves you well, no matter its size, shape, or the kinds of containers you use.

Credit: Federico Paul

1. Group similar items together.

Pantries are versatile spaces, holding everything from produce to canned goods (and everything in between). Grouping items and keeping similar items together makes the space easier to manage. For example, keep jars of bulk snacks on one shelf, fresh produce on another, and containers full of baking ingredients on a separate level. That way, you won’t need to go on a hunt for flour the next time you decide to whip up a batch of cookies.

2. Utilize the space under your bar.

If your kitchen has a built-in breakfast bar and you’re not using it, consider adding some shelves, like the ones in this LA home. Whether you build shelves into your cabinets or fill the space with old bookshelves, use them to store jars of pantry essentials. This is a great option for those who don’t have separate pantries to work with and need somewhere to store their food items.

Credit: Rana

3. Store spices on tiered shelves.

Working with a small pantry? No problem! Tiered spice racks are perfect for storing spices (of course) and small jars of bulk goods, like trail mix or chocolate chips, in tight spaces. Not only will this organize your jars, but it also allows you to clearly see each one. You’ll be able to find exactly what you need in a pinch.

4. Organize your things with a kitchen cart.

Kitchen carts are often used as all-purpose workspaces with built-in cutting boards and food prep surfaces. But they’re also ideal for storage, as demonstrated in this Philadelphia apartment. If you’re lacking in pantry space to store kitchen gadgets, pots and pans, and other pantry items, consider adding a handy kitchen cart to keep things organized and free up valuable counter space.

5. Invest in a closet system for awkward spaces.

Pantries come in all different shapes and sizes, and you can’t always control what yours looks like (unless you’re ready for a big renovation project). Make the most of a small or awkward pantry space by installing a closet organization system. Store bins of pantry goods on sliding racks and place heavier items on shelves to make even the tightest spaces functional.

Credit: Nicole Bolf

6. Categorize everything.

Opening up the pantry to a jumbled mess is overwhelming. Organize your pantry without spending anything by pulling everything out, sorting items into categories, and storing them in separate bins. Say goodbye to cascading piles of granola bars and errant soup cans.

7. Take advantage of wall space.

The renters in this San Francisco apartment have a few tried-and-true methods for maximizing storage in a small space, including taking advantage of wall space. Hang knives on wall-mounted magnetic strips and install a floating shelf to hold small spice jars. This frees up counter and drawer space and keeps all of your cooking essentials visible and organized.

Credit: Minette Hand

8. Use drawers wisely.

Kitchen drawers: If you’ve got ’em, use ’em. While your silverware and small kitchen gadgets get priority, pantry items also deserve drawers. Use any empty kitchen drawers as auxiliary pantry storage, like the renters in this NYC apartment did.

9. Build your own organizational system with bins.

Whether you’re working with an expansive walk-in pantry or a space the size of a linen closet, you can whip it into shape with bins and baskets. Head to your local home store and pick up whatever organizational bins and baskets speak to you. Use them to store your pantry goods, so you can pull out a specific bin instead of ripping your pantry apart the next time you’re looking for a specific ingredient. Labels on each bin or basket make things even more organized.

10. Organize with open shelving.

Pantry organization, but make it cute. That’s the role of open shelving, as seen in this Philadelphia tiny home. If you have a small kitchen, consider adding open shelving (or taking the doors off your cabinets if they’re already installed) to open up the space and provide ample storage for all your kitchen essentials.

11. Install wall-to-wall shelving.

The shelves in this Brooklyn apartment are decorative and functional—we love to see it! Consider installing wall-to-wall shelving in your space to hold your pantry items. Store your goods in chic containers before putting them on display.

Credit: Liz Woody

12. Organize dry goods with a pantry door rack.

When organizing a pantry, it’s important to take advantage of every space possible. That includes the door. Use a pantry door rack to hold jars of spices and other dry goods, freeing up the interior space of the pantry for larger items. In this pantry makeover, blogger Liz Woody added a door rack, cute storage bins, and LED lights to make it easier to spot things quickly.

Credit: @ideaspaceau

13. Use a bag organizer.

This handy product from @ideaspaceau is a handy place to keep all your zip-shut bags in place. From diminutive snack-size to gallon-size and a few in between, this handy helper keeps storage bags separated by size so they aren’t falling all over the place in your pantry.

14. Use baskets to corral paper products.

Baskets are arguably one of the best pantry organization ideas out there. Which is why you’ll see them more than once in this article. We love the use of baskets to keep paper products like paper towels and napkins neat and organized, like @katherinemateriale does here. 

Credit: @thekokoway_

15. Store root vegetables in see-through baskets.

See? More baskets. But seriously, though. If you have room in your pantry, store things like potatoes, garlic and onions in baskets for easy grabbing when you’re cooking, like @thekokoway has done. You’d be surprised how much space these veggies can take up on your counter or in your fridge if you aren’t intentional about giving them a place to live. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

16. Hang chip bags with pants hangers.

Chip bags are tricky to store because they’re hard to see, they don’t stand up well, and you don’t want to squish the chips. You also want to be sure to eat them before they go stale! If you have wire shelves in your pantry, one way to keep your chips fresh and accessible is to clip them closed with pants hangers. For a clever storage hack, try hanging them from the wire.

17. Make use of wall space with hooks.

If you have any vacant wall space in your pantry, consider affixing Command hooks, like @yourhome.yourstory has done. You can use them to hang aprons or towels.

18. Throw a shoe organizer on the back of the door.

A shoe organizer with clear plastic pockets generates storage space out of the thin air on the back of the door. It’s ideal for storing smaller items that tend to get lost, like boxes of food coloring or spices, or water bottles, as shown here by @leilasmithhomes. Lower pockets are perfect for storing snacks, such as granola bars or meat sticks, for the kids to grab. 

Credit: Sarah Crowley

19. Take advantage of corners with Lazy Susans.

Putting turntables in your pantry turns potential dead spots, like random corners, into some of the most useful storage spaces. Top them with bottles of oils or vinegar, or small items like baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Sort by category, and enjoy grabbing exactly what you’re looking for with just a slight flick of the wrist.

Credit: amazon.com

20. Double your shelf space with shelf risers.

You definitely don’t want to waste vertical space, but if you merely stack things on top of each other, you’re going to end up with a frustrating mess of items. Instead, use shelf risers to create an additional shelf wherever you need one. 

Credit: amazon.com

21. Hang shelf baskets to further use vertical space.

While shelf risers are best for hard items like cans and boxes, these hanging baskets lend themselves well to storing more malleable items, like bags of rice and beans.

22. Invest in modular storage.

Modular storage allows you to employ as much depth, length, and height of each shelf as possible because you can stack, unstack, and slide containers easily. OXO containers are popular and great, but more economical options like this Rubbermaid Food Storage Container Set function the same way.

Credit: Jason Rampe

23. Separate pantry areas into zones

So, about those zones: This is a higher level type of organization, and it will make a huge difference in the overall neatness of your pantry. Create zones in your pantry as much as you can. For instance, one area could be your baking zone and house items like flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, sprinkles, and pudding mixes. Another could be a whole shelf, half a shelf, or even a basket or baking sheet to corral similar items together.

Credit: @likuan1308

24. Use magazine holders for produce

If you use your pantry to store onions, garlic, and other produce that doesn’t need refrigeration, consider a magazine holder, like @likuan1308 has done. You’ll take up vertical space and ensure that your food is accessible, visible, and contained. Wire mesh magazine holders also allow for airflow.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

25. Tier cans and spices.

Canned goods and spices are nearly ubiquitous pantry items. Storing them so you can see what you have is an important component of an organized pantry. To achieve this, consider can tiers and spice racks so nothing is hidden from view.