Best Way to Organize Pantry Shelves

Best Ways to Organize Pantry Shelves

I’m going to share with you some of the best ways to organize pantry shelves. I hope these tips and tricks will inspire you to roll up your sleeves and sort your messy pantry out for good.

Some of these tips are easy and quick to follow. Others require investment in space saving products like wire racking to achieve your goals.

Discover organizing by zone so you make the most of the available space. For example, all the breakfast cereals neatly arranged on the same shelf.

Managing your pantry supplies well means you can reduce the storage space and save money by reducing food waste.

**this post contains affiliate links for products. If you click a link and buy something I may receive some compensation. At no cost to you**

Refrigerator Organizer Bins, Vtopmart 4 Pack Large Clear Plastic Food Storage Bin with Handle for Freezer, Cabinet, Fridge, Kitchen Pantry Organization and Storage, BPA Free, 14.5" Long

Before You Start

Here are some tips you need to follow before organizing the pantry. Unless you live a great distant from any stores, like couponing or you are an enthusiastic prepper, you really don’t need more than a couple of week’s groceries in stock.

Having too many supplies and nowhere to house them will just clutter up your home and could overwhelm you as you try to run the home.

  • take stock: how do you want your pantry to look? And how will it work with the rest of your home organization?
  • take out everything from the pantry and discard {donate} anything you and your family won’t eat any more.
  • discard everything that is out of date.
  • wipe all shelves before returning the items to the shelves
  • if you have bulging shelves, commit to eating from the pantry for a couple of weeks.
  • when shopping think about the items you are bringing back to your home: are they essential?

Pantry Planning Tips

Here are top 10 pantry organizing and planning tips.

#1 Keep “Like with like” Items Together

  • group like items by types like herbs and spices or breakfast cereals.
  • keep all items by their use for example keep all the baking supplies close together on the same shelf.
  • snack type products could all go into the same storage box

#2 Keep Stock Fresh and In Date

  • bring older stock items to the front of the pantry shelving.
  • place older cans and bottles at the front
  • only buy new when the older stock is used up

#3 Use Attractive Containers

Decant pantry items into clear glass or plastic containers. They look good and you can see at a glance products that are running low.

  • there is nothing nicer to look at than a row of identical glass containers all filled with various dry goods sitting on a pantry shelf.
  • all the products are at hand for immediate use
  • may help to prevent flour beetle
  • only decant foods that will be used regularly
  • avoid mixing batches of old and new products. For example, run down flour supplies and clean and wash before filling the jar again.

#4 Implement A Good Labelling System

  • at the very least, you need to name of the contents and the expiry date.
  • some items like rice or pasta don’t need labels as we can see what they are.
  • invest in some pretty labels

#6 Leave Space for Larger Items

  • large bags of potato or pasta need to have space allocated. This is better at the bottom of the pantry.
  • use containers with wheels for storing large, heavier items.
  • some people use the pantry to store large appliances like food processors and ice cream makers. Leave space from these.

#7 Make Use of Doors

If there is enough clearance, consider narrow racks that attached to the inside of your pantry door. Great for smaller fiddly items like herbs and spices.

Adjustable 8-Tier Wall and Door Rack for Pantry Storage

#8 Keep Cans Well Organized

Come up with a system to store all your canned goods. The cans at the front should be older than the cans at the back. When you buy new, always place these at the back.

Either invest in a purpose made can storage rack as pictured here.

Stackable 36 Can Rack Organizer for Pantry Shelves

#9 Make a Kid Friendly Section

Invest in easily accessible storage bins that children will find easy to reach.

Perfect for storing after school snacks.

Wire Metal Basket Bin, Stackable Storage Baskets, Cubby Bins for Pantry Snacks

#10 Keep Smelly Foods Apart

Strong smelling foods should be kept away from pantry items that might absorb the smell. For example, don’t store onions or garlic next to flour.

How to Organize Pantry Zones

Zone 1 Last Minute Entertaining

You never know when you might have to russel up a meal unexpectedly when visitors arrive. It is always worthwhile stocking some items that mean you can entertain without having to go to the store or order a takeaway.

  • chips and crackers
  • dried pasta and rice
  • a variety of sauces in bottles or cans
  • canned Italian tomatoes
  • packet cake and cookie mixes
  • nibbles like nuts and olives

Zone 2: Baking Supplies

Keen bakers need to keep all their baking supplies in the same area. If there is room consider housing baking equipment in this zone, like baking sheets.

  • different types of flour
  • baking power and other raising agents
  • a variety of different sugar types

Zone 3: Celebration Supplies

If you have children, you will be called on to produce something special for birthdays. Have supplies ready so you can make the cake then personalize and decorate it.

  • birthday cake candles and decorations
  • piping bags for cake decoration
  • decorative cup cake wraps
  • packets of fondant icing and fondant color
  • disposable party supplies like paper plates, paper cups, and plastic flatware.

Zone 4: General Foods Storage

This will be the largest area in your pantry and will contain foods you eat regularly.

You will need to find space for the following items

  • canned supplies
  • bottles and cans of soda
  • dried goods like pulses and beans
  • packets and sachets

Zone 6: Breakfast Cereal

Breakfast cereals in package is bulky. Consider decanting cereal into neat and space saving containers.

You can tell at a glance when supplies are running low.

Resist the urge to buy every type of cereal in the store, it will just clutter up your shelves.

3-Piece Airtight Cereal Dispenser Set, Clear, 3 Piece Cereal Set

Zone 7: Fresh Vegetables

The best way of storing fresh vegetables is with a wire rack that is at floor level.

4 Tiers Wire Organizer Basket with Lockable Casters, Fruit Vegetable Produce Metal Storage Bin for Kitchen, Pantry

Zone 8 Keep Packets in One Place

It is a great idea to keep all the packets you use regularly stored neatly in one place.

mDesign Plastic Food Packet Kitchen Storage Organizer Bin Caddy - Holds Spice Pouches, Dressing Mixes, Hot Chocolate, Tea, Sugar Packets in Pantry, Cabinets or Countertop - 2 Pack - Clear

✅ How to organize a pantry with deep shelves

One problem with deep shelving is accessing the back of the shelf. There are several ways to minimize the inconvenience of having to move items sitting on the shelf front just to access items at the back.

  • invest in a small sturdy set of kitchen steps so you can reach to the back of deep shelves.

Rubbermaid RM-P2 2-Step Molded Plastic Stool with Non-Slip Step Treads, 300-Pound Capacity (Amazon Exclusive)

  • consider storing items on a set of 3 tier organizer shelves. Elevating the shelf means you can easily reach through to the item you need.

3 Tier Expandable Cabinet Spice Rack Step Shelf Organizer

✅ Pantry Organizer Starter Kits

Here are some ideas for a pantry organizer starter kit. A great tip is to organize the pantry with containers that will hold all your dry goods.

These products are some of the best storage solutions for a small pantry.

Set like these make great house warming gifts.

7 Pack Airtight Food Storage Container Set - Kitchen & Pantry Organization Containers with Labels

✅ Lazy Susan Idea

These turntables are organizing racks that make the most of difficult to access kitchen and pantry storage spaces. They are a great for making the most of small awkward spaces.

How to utilize small pantry spaces with a clear acrylic lazy Susan turntable pantry organizer, or a spinning organizer for cabinets.

If you want to make the most of that weird space at the edge, then consider a lazy Susan for corner shelves.

2 Tier Lazy Susan Turntable Can Bottles and Spice Rack Organizer Rotating Spice Holder

✅ Sliding Wire Basket for Pantry Organization

Here are sliding wire baskets for pantry organization that will hold all your dry goods.

These include decorative wire baskets for shelves and wire storage basket wall-mounted systems for fruits and vegetables.

Ideal for awkward pantry spaces like high and deep shelving. Great as food pantry containers that will make the most of limited space.

2 Tier Sliding Cabinet Basket Organizer Drawer Set for Pantry Storage, Bronze

How to organize a pantry Martha Stewart style

Note how Martha Stewart recommends wire storage baskets in these, keeping your food supplies tidy and well organized.

I love the final result is so perfect, an area of the home and kitchen that anyone will be proud of.

Where to buy cheap pantry containers, racks and shelving

Before looking online for budget organization products for your pantry. Have a look around your local dollar store. They often have cheap plastic storage baskets and containers that are a fraction of the price of large online store.


I hope that this guide to making the best of your pantry will help you to achieve the well-organized pantry of your dreams.

Or course you’ll never be done organizing your pantry, but once you have an organizing system in place, it is a breeze to keep up.

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Best Ways to Organize Pantry Shelves

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