Simple but Sure-fire Solutions to Organize a Small Pantry
Here’s How I Organized My Pantry!
Do any of these sound familiar?
- Nothing is ever in the same same place in my pantry when I go to find it.
- There are things in my pantry that have nothing to do with food. I have no idea why.
- No one puts things back in the right place.
- Putting groceries away is nothing I look forward to because I have to jam things in.
- I’m convinced there’s stuff in there from 2001.
- I often buy multiples that I don’t need because I can’t see what’s already in there.
That was me.
But, not anymore!
When we re-did our kitchen, I found a way to organize my small pantry. So it would STAY that way. And so I would love it.
My system has stayed in place for more than a year. So, I think I can call this one a success. Yay!
My pantry used to be a disaster. Now? It’s still small, but it’s mighty.
- I love going in there to get something because I can put my finger on anything.
- It’s even pretty. Everything’s in neat bins or containers.
- Shall I talk about my labels? Love, love, love (and you can have them too, keep reading).
- Grocery shopping? Pfft. No problem. It’s easy to tell what I need because I can see everything.
- Putting things away? Easy peasy. There’s space for everything (most of the time, hey I’m not perfect).
I had to spend a little time and yes, a little money. But, was it worth it?
Can I get a YES?!
So I’m spilling the beans on what I did to organize my small pantry. Now you, too, can have a pantry you love!
Benefits of an Organized Pantry
Things you’ll save:
- Money (you won’t repurchase items that you already have)
- Time (you won’t be hunting for the peanut butter)
- Aggravation (see above)
What’s in this Post
I’ve broken this post into three parts
- What I did to organize my small pantry
- My pantry containers and sources
- Other useful resources
1. What I did to Organize my Small Pantry
If you’re interested in more info, cute pictures, and something you can download, click here for my FREE guide “3 Steps to Organize Any Area of Your Home.”
For those who just like to read on, I’ve summarized the steps I used to organize my small pantry below. It may seem like a lot, but it’s quite simple to do. It just takes a little time.
- Set aside at least a couple of hours.
- Have trash bags handy, you’ll need them.
- Also, have a cleaning solution and rags or paper towels handy. And a vacuum would not hurt.
Here we go!
1. Take EVERYTHING out of your pantry. Too overwhelming? Do it in stages, a shelf or two at a time.
2. Clean the shelves.
3. Get rid of the junk. This would include the following products/items:
- With an expired date
- That you no longer use
- That do not belong in a food pantry
4. Group the remaining ‘like’ items together. Here are some possibilities to get you started:
- Baking & Spices
- Cereals / Kids Area
- Treats / Snacks
- Soup Cans
- Canned vegetables
- HINT: Stick with the ‘rule of 1’ from this point on. If you have 3 bags of white flour, only put 1 back in the pantry. Find a ‘spill-over’ location for the other bags (and anything else like it).
5. Determine what you will need for bins & containers & where you will put them
- Measure both the products you’ll need to put in the container and the space you have on your shelf.
- Leave some open space in your containers for growth.
- HINT: use see-through containers when possible.
- HINT: plan to put things that are used most often within easy reach of whoever will be using them
6. Shop for containers
- Shop your house first, see what you have or what you can re-purpose.
- Then shop outside for anything additional you need.
- HINT: don’t buy more than you need if you purchase online. Shipping charges to return bulky items can be HUGE (yes that was me)
7. Create labels. Do you absolutely need them? I think so, but that is my personal opinion.
- If you like my labels (see below for samples), you can download those labels and instructions to print them right here. You’ll love them.
- Check out Target Dollar Spot. The last time I was there, they had $1 per sheet pantry labels. And they were pretty.
- If you have a Cricut or another label maker, make your own labels.
- Purchase blank labels from your local office supply store and either write or print your own.
- HINT: Make sure your labels fit your containers.
8. Move your product to your new containers. Then move your containers to their new space.
How to Stay Organized
Staying organized is easier if you leave a little room for growth in your containers and label things. You also need to be flexible and change things up a bit when the need arises.
Here are a few other things you can do:
- Train your family and yourself on where items are located.
- If it’s not working, change your container or where it’s located.
- Re-visit your space every so often (I do approx every 3-6 months).
- Toss the junk
- Clean the shelves
- Move things around if you need to
- Purchase new containers if necessary
Tips to Maximize a Small Pantry
When we renovated our kitchen, we upgraded our pantry and did get a little more space. The images below tell that story.
But you can see that our pantry is still pretty small. When you have a small pantry, you need to make the most of your available space.
Here are a few things we did to maximize/organize our small pantry. Mostly, we keep to the ‘no more than one’ rule. We also store some pantry-type items in other places:
- Our spice rack is in a separate cabinet.
- Tea and coffee supplies are above our coffee bar.
- Pots and pans are in their own drawer (actually a drawer and a cabinet).
- Food storage containers are in the bottom half of the coffee bar cabinet.
- Cleaning supplies are in storage bins in the basement stairwell.
- Overflow food items are stored on the top shelf of the pantry and of the coffee bar cabinet.
My ‘Before’ Pantry
My ‘After’ Pantry
New Pantry Inside
2. My Sources
None of the following are affiliate links. These are my go-to products in my own pantry. See images above for my shelf organization.
Click on the image or description below for the shopping link.
Divided Lazy Susan
White Plastic Bins
Good Grips Lazy Susan
Spice Jars (separate cabinet)
3. Other Resources
I’ve had great success in my quest to organize my small pantry. Hopefully, these tips will help you do the same!
For more information
- Get FREE Stuff
- Over 100 pantry labels
- FREE guide: “3 Steps to Organize Any Area of Your Home”
- FREE guide: “10 Secretst to select Kitchen Cabinets You’ll Love Forever”
- Printables to decorate your kitchen (and every other room in your house)
- Tour My Kitchen
- How we installed our kitchen cabinets ourselves
- Our kitchen floor and cabinet demo
How about you?
Have you gone all Marie Kondo on your pantry lately? Have you used our tips and have they helped? Got questions or feedback? I’d love to hear from you, just leave a comment below.
Wow, Gail! Such great information! Love your tips on organization. Thanks for sharing!
Awe thank you for stopping by Marissa. Great to see you!
I love the practical tips. My pantry is always a little disorganized. I could definitely spend a little more time organizing.
Denise thanks so much for stopping by! It just takes a little time to make a big difference!
Great ideas and tips! I’m REALLY loving those step shelves – which means I need to get some. Thank you! (BTW: love the link for the freebie subscribe sign up 🙂
Those step shelves are awesome and they’re not that expensive. And that link idea is from a very smart person!
Wow this post was so helpful and so well organized. Your labels are gorgeous! And your pantry organization is now my new goal!
Thanks so much, Kelly! I went through 3 other label versions before I finally settled on those. Who knew label design could be so complicated?? I love that my pantry has inspired you!
Great share Gail! Love your tips! The labels are just too cute …
Thanks Mansa, those labels took a few tries to get right, I love them!
What a thorough explanation of how you got organized. My problem with my pantry is that it starts organized then ends up a disaster. I need a do over! Those labels are adorable.
Thanks Shawna. No doubt, you do have to keep up but it’s worth it!