Simple but Sure-fire Solutions to Organize a Small Pantry

Last updated Feb 20, 2019 | Published on Feb 20, 2019 | Decorating, Organizing

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

  1. What I did to organize my small pantry
  2. My pantry containers and sources
  3. 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.”

Process Summary

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.

Prep work:

  • 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:

  • Condiments
  • Grains
  • 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.

download free custom pantry labels

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:

  1. Train your family and yourself on where items are located.
  2. If it’s not working, change your container or where it’s located.
  3. 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

organize my pantry

My ‘After’ Pantry

organize my pantry

New Pantry Inside

organize my pantry

Critical Shelves

organize my pantry

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.

Glass Jars

organize my pantry

Divided Lazy Susan

organize my pantry

White Plastic Bins

organize my pantry


organize my pantry

Good Grips Lazy Susan

organize my pantry

Spice Jars (separate cabinet)

organize my pantry

3. Other Resources

The following are some other resources that, in my research, I liked. You may find this section useful. The links below in this post are affiliate links. This means that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission for purchases or clicks made through links in this post, and sponsored by ShopStyle. Visit my Disclosure Statement and Privacy Policy for additional details.


Food Containers



Lazy Susans

Can Storage

Spice Storage



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

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.

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Thanks SO much for reading!

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