Does a cramped, cluttered pantry have you dreading mealtimes? Messy pantries overflowing with unorganized items can make locating ingredients and cooking meals stressful and time-consuming. However, you’re only a few steps away from a clean, well-organized pantry. Get the tidy and efficient kitchen of your dreams with our pantry organization tips.
How to Organize a Pantry
Maximize space with our complete guide to organizing your pantry!
1. Take Stock of What’s There
The first step of pantry organization is to open it up and survey what’s inside. What’s your main pantry concern? Do you need more space or do you just need to organize?
If you find space is an issue, consider how to create more by consolidating items or relocating others. For example, do you have half-opened boxes of the same items, like rice or pasta? Consider combining them to eliminate a box. Do you store non-food items, like small appliances or cooking tools, in your pantry? Maybe you can find another place to store these to make more room for food.
If your pantry is simply a jumbled mess, it’s time to get organized! Before you jump in, get an idea of what foods your family loves the most. Are they in a central location? Which items are you constantly stocking up on? Which items are nice to have in a pinch when you didn’t make it to the store this week? Which items are necessary but can be moved to the back or high shelves of the pantry because you don’t reach for them too often?
These questions will help you sort through things when you move on to the next step of pantry organization.
2. Clean Everything Out
Once you’ve surveyed the contents of your pantry, it’s time to clear everything out and start with a clean slate. Move all the pantry items to your countertops and kitchen table and separate them into three groups:
- Items to keep: These are your family-favorite, tried-and-true staples.
- Items to throw away: Toss out any expired or stale items. You may be surprised at how much space you can create by eliminating old food!
- Items to donate: If you have any nonperishable, unexpired items you know you won’t eat, such as canned soup, fruit, vegetables and beans, donate them to a food collection service or homeless shelter.
Take advantage of your empty pantry and use this time to clean it thoroughly. Use a handheld vacuum or vacuum attachment to clear out dust or food crumbs. Fill a bowl with warm soapy water and use a dish rag to scrub the shelves. To protect your cabinets, you can install shelf liners that you can cut to fit your pantry’s dimensions. You might also wipe down the items that will return to the pantry.
3. Put Food in Logical Groups
With your pantry items pared down to just the foods you’ll keep, it’s time to organize them into logical groups. A carefully zoned pantry can make your time in the kitchen more efficient. With everything in a sensible place, you can locate foods quickly when it’s time to cook and determine what you need to stock up on at the grocery store.
Consider your lifestyle when deciding how to group your foods. For example, you may need a section for quick snacks and weekday lunchbox items if you have kids. Or, if you frequently travel for work, you may need a section dedicated to shelf-stable items you can count on when you get in late and need an easy dinner.
Below are ideas for how to group your foods so that your pantry is accessible:
- Breakfast group: Your breakfast zone may include cereal, oatmeal and protein bars.
- Lunch group: Your lunch group may include canned soups, nut butter, crackers and bread items.
- Dinner group: Your dinner group will likely include dried pasta and grains, canned vegetables and jarred sauces.
- Snack group: Your snack section may include potato chips, nuts, popcorn, dried fruit and snack bars.
- Baking group: Your baking group might include flour, sugar, cake and brownie mixes, frostings and cupcake liners.
Alternatively, you can organize your pantry by packaging. For example, you could try grouping by boxed foods, canned goods and bagged items.
4. Find Custom Solutions
If you really want to maximize pantry efficiency, invest in custom storage solutions! We have some handy ideas below to make your pantry even tidier.
- Store plastic bags in an organizer: A tray with slots marked for each bag size is a great way to store zipper bags.
- Store paper products in baskets: Baskets are perfect for containing paper products like rolls of toilet paper, paper towels and stacks of napkins.
- Store root veggies in transparent bins: Root vegetables such as potatoes and onions are suitable for pantry storage. Corral them in see-through bins to keep them from rolling around on your shelves.
- Hang chip bags with pants hangers: If your pantry has wire shelves or hooks, clothes hangers with clips are the solution for chip bags that constantly slump over. This method also keeps your chips from getting crushed by other items.
- Hang utensils from hooks on the wall: If you store infrequently-used cooking utensils in your pantry, maximize wall space by hanging them from Command hooks.
- Invest in a spice cabinet: Spice jars can easily topple over and get lost in your pantry, but a spice cabinet keeps them organized. Invest in one that’s customized to your pantry to really maximize space!
- Double shelf space with risers: Risers can turn one shelf into two, giving you twice the vertical space.
- Repurpose used jars into storage containers: Glass jars with lids are ideal for storing dried goods like beans and rice. Clean and save your empty sauce jars to create a matching storage collection!
- Label bins, jars and baskets: Labeling your storage containers can make finding ingredients even easier.
- Use can tiers to keep everything visible: Tiered shelves allow you to store cans in levels, so one never gets hidden behind another.
Find Custom Cabinet Solutions at WG Wood Products
WG Wood Products offers custom-built storage solutions to help you get and stay organized. Our spice racks and pantry storage cabinetry will make hunting for spice jars or stressing about a messy pantry a thing of the past. We also offer innovative bathroom storage solutions to maximize valuable storage space.
If you’re ready to simplify your pantry with American-made, solid wood organizational products, contact WG Wood Products today. We can’t wait to build your storage solutions!