8 Ways to Organize Your Pantry Like a Pro


8 Ways to Organize Your Pantry Like a ProDoes your pantry look like a grocery aisle exploded? Do you open the door thinking that you really have no idea what’s in there, and even if you did, you’re not sure you could find it?

You need a pro to help you get everything organized. If you don’t have one at your beck and call, use these 8 steps instead to set up your pantry just like a professional kitchen designer-organizer would.

Here’s the Simple 8-Step Process

Organizing your pantry is not difficult, but it does involve a process. The good news is that once you’ve completed these eight steps, you shouldn’t have to go through the whole process again for a good while.

Step 1. Clean Slate

Remove everything from your pantry and set it out on a table or counter. Clean the shelves, bins, and containers thoroughly. Lay down fresh shelf lining.

Step 2. Inventory

Check each item’s expiration date and packaging, discarding as appropriate. Set aside any other items you know you won’t use for a donation to a local food drive or food bank. Determine whether staples are running low and make an easily-updated list that can be used as a shopping list when refills are needed. This helps avoid those unpleasant surprises like discovering mid-recipe that you’ve run out of a key ingredient.

Step 3. Categorize

Place similar items together. Use shelf bins or lazy susans to keep oils, condiments, snacks, and baking essentials grouped for easy retrieval.

Step 4. Transfer

Transfer dry ingredients into clear, airtight food storage canisters, discarding the original packaging. This includes staples like flour and sugar as well as dry pasta, beans, rice, and cereals. Canisters provide a cohesive appearance and make everything easier to identify. Use bins to neatly store odd-shaped items like raw potatoes and chip bags.

Step 5. Label

Label all bins, canisters, containers, and shelving so all family members can find where things are and know where they need to be returned after use. Handheld label makers and printers are a favorite for this purpose or use chalkboard-style labels that can be wiped clean and re-used.

Step 6. Doors

If your pantry has doors, mount organizer racks inside them to free up shelf space. Canned goods, spices, oils, and jars are good fits for door-mounted racks.

Step 7. Walls

If your pantry has free wall space, install hooks for use with non-food items like reusable grocery bags, aprons, and brooms. Wall-mounted trash bag dispensers are convenient here as well.

Step 8. Keep It Going

A well-organized pantry with a system that’s followed by family members can function for months without needing anything beyond refilling as items are used. However, it’s a good idea to repeat the entire process at least once a year to address changing family tastes by donating unused food items, discarding items that have expired or gone stale, and ensuring everything is fresh, clean, and tidy.

A Few Notes about Pantry Containers

Keep Them Clear: 
While it’s tempting to purchase designer-style, matte black, or glazed ivory canisters, stick with the regular clear glass or plastic containers as much as possible. Their transparency helps you keep track of what’s on hand and clear bins are easier to mix and match.

Choose Stackable Designs:
Pantry space is precious. When selecting food storage containers, consider how they will fit together. Square or rectangular containers with flat, tight-fitting lids will maximize the space available.

Function, Function, Function (Worth Repeating):
Organizers need to make sense for the whole family if you want everyone to help keep the system going. If you have young children, include some large open bins or containers with easy pop or flip-up lids. If you have tweens or teens, choose containers with locking lids, screw-top lids, or silicone lid liners for an airtight seal.

Count on Caruso Kitchens

Caruso Kitchen Designs has been creating award-winning kitchens for Colorado homeowners for three decades. Our skillful kitchen designers will put their 150 years of combined experience to work helping you create the kitchen – and pantry! – of your dreams. Located in Lakewood, Colorado, we proudly serve Lakewood, Louisville, and the Denver Metro Area. To schedule a no-obligation appointment, contact us today.