20 Pantry Organization Hacks That Will Transform Your Kitchen
We have a love-hate relationship with organizing the pantry. The final product is so satisfying, but it’s such a pain to get there. Or so we thought. After talking to four professional organizers and doing a little research, we learned there are a bunch of ways to make the process a little easier—and ensure that things actually stay neat afterward. Here, 20 pantry organization hacks that will transform your kitchen.
1. Invest in clear storage bins
While wicker baskets or fabric bins might seem more aesthetically pleasing, professional organizers, Horderly founders and Chief Organization Officers at MakeSpace Jamie and Fillip Hord agree that clear plastic bins are better for your pantry. They allow you to easily see what you have on hand, which makes taking inventory before a grocery shopping trip much easier.
2. Add stadium-style shelves
Keeping your cans all on one shelf sounds great in theory, until you realize that you have no idea what’s in the back rows. That’s why Lisa Zaslow, professional organizer and founder of Gotham Organizers, suggests using stadium-style shelves. With tiered rows, you’re able to see all of your cans, jars or spices at once without having to shift things around.
3. Decant your snacks
Although decanting usually refers to wine, in this case we’re talking about taking food like chips, pretzels and cereal out of their bulky packaging and putting them into air-tight containers. “They will stay fresh for a long time and save you space,” explains Ría Safford, celebrity organizer and founder of RíOrganize (Psst: she organized Chrissy Teigen and John Legend’s pantry earlier this year, no big deal).
4. Make use of the inside of your pantry door
If you’re short on space, this is a surefire way to add a little extra storage, says Safford. Install a metal shelving unit on the inside of the door—or opt for a less permanent over-the-door option—and boom, you’ll instantly have some new storage space to work with.
5. Include stackable, open-faced bins
“This is a great way to separate individual snacks in a way that not only maximizes space but looks so good,” says Safford. All those granola bars, fruit snacks and apple sauce pouches cluttering up your shelves are practically begging for this treatment.
6. Label everything
It might feel silly at first, but according to the Hords, labels are essential to keeping your space neat in the long run. “Labeling ensures that all items make their way back to their proper home,” they explain. Invest in a label maker, or just use a Sharpie if you prefer the DIY approach. (Pro tip: If you make a mistake, a little rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball will get the Sharpie right off of plastic bins, so you can try again—or relabel if a year from now, you go gluten-free and no longer have a need for that giant flour bin.)
7. Use helper shelves
There’s usually a lot of empty vertical space in between shelves, so you might as well make use of it. Helper shelves are Zaslow’s secret for storing twice as much stuff in one space. Just place one on your existing shelf, and you can store items on it and below it to maximize your storage capacity.
8. Start using turntables
All four professional organizers mentioned this tip, so it’s definitely worth repeating. Invest in a turntable (or a few) to place in corners or deep shelves so that nothing’s out of reach. Safford recommends using them to store heavier items like oil and sauce, because they’re too difficult to store in a bin. Divided turntables are great for storing kids’ snacks so they can easily grab them and go, say the Hords.
9. Install pull-out shelves
Pull-out shelves, like the ones pictured here, help streamline the meal prep process and allow you to better see what you have. Rather than reaching to the back of a shelf (and probably knocking a bunch of things down in the process), you can slide the entire shelf out of the cabinet for easy access.
10. Hang up a few wall hooks
Things like aprons, potholders and reusable grocery bags shouldn’t be taking up precious drawer space. Instead, install hooks on empty wall space or the back of the door, says Zaslow. Chances are there’s white space in your pantry that can be converted into useful storage space for these items.
11. Get a water bottle rack
Rather than trying to shove all of your water bottles and tops into an overflowing drawer—it’s a losing battle, trust us—invest in a water bottle rack. It’ll ensure that you keep each lid and top together, and it’s much easier to grab one on your way out the door, without having to dig around.
12. Use drawer dividers
Divide your larger drawers into smaller sections, and you’ll be amazed at how much you can fit in them. Most drawer dividers are expandable, so all you have to do is place them in, adjust into place and voilà, you have your most organized drawer ever.
13. Store pans on their sides
Stacking pans one on top of the other can get messy and make it difficult to find the one you want. Instead, store them on their sides in a convenient rack. It’ll increase your cabinet’s storage capacity and look super satisfying, too.
14. Arrange your spices in a drawer
It might feel strange at first, but once you see how much easier it is to keep your spices organized, you’ll wonder how you ever kept them in a cabinet. If you want to get extra fancy, you can swap out the spice containers for uniform jars, like Safford did in this picture.
15. Utilize empty floor space
If your shelves don’t extend all the way down to the floor, slide some baskets underneath for additional storage, like Safford did here. It can be a great place to store bulky or less frequently used items that you don’t need to keep at eye level.
16. Use can racks
Is your pantry overloaded with canned food? First, donate any that you don’t plan on using in the near future. Then, store the rest sideways on can racks so that you’re reminded of what you have. That way, you might actually get around to making that soup you’ve had on the shelf for the past four months.
17. Go vertical (and get a step stool)
Just like utilizing empty floor space, it’s important that your shelves go all the way to the ceiling. And if they don’t, add some baskets on top of the highest one for additional storage (they’ll hide any visual clutter, so your shelves look clean, not jam-packed). Zaslow recommends getting a step stool to ensure that you’re making use of the higher shelves.
18. Stick brooms and mops on the wall
If you’re still standing your broom and Swiffer up against the wall, you’re missing out (and making your pantry look more cluttered). Get a few broom holders or a whole rack and the space will instantly appear more streamlined.
19. Add some under-shelf baskets
This is another clever way to make use of open space between shelves. Zaslow recommends using under-shelf baskets to store long, flat items like plastic wrap, parchment paper, sandwich bags and placemats.
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20. Keep track of what you have
According to Zaslow, this is key to ensuring that your pantry doesn’t get overridden with excess or expired items. She recommends getting a dry erase board or chalkboard to hang on your pantry door where you can make notes of what you need to use before it goes bad as well as what you want to add to your shopping list.