7 Smart Kitchen Pantry Organization Ideas

pantry organization ideas

A well-organized pantry is critical — especially if you’re a strapped-for-time busy mom like me. Unfortunately, most pantries are just glorified closets. There are a few shelves here and there, but as far as organization goes, the real work is up to you (and your wallet).

Are you looking for ways to better organize your pantry and streamline that meal-making? These seven easy pantry organization ideas can help.

1. Use an over-the-door hanger.

Over-the-door hanging units can add serious space to your pantry — especially if you have multiple doors to work with. Most come with a number of shelves in different heights, making it easy to store items of any size or shape. The best part? They’re easy to install, too. Most can be hung with simple Command hooks that won’t damage your door or require any hardware.

2. Add a lazy susan.

You might think of lazy susans as an easy way to serve dinner at a busy tabletop, but they’re also a great addition to any pantry, too. Use them for your spices, seasonings, or even canned goods — whatever will fit. The lazy susan minimizes the space they take up while also making them easy to access and read. There are even two-tiered ones that add even more storage space to the equation.

3. Try a can rack.

Do you have a lot of canned goods or sodas in your pantry? A can rack can streamline your access to them, while also minimizing the space they take up on the shelf. No more stacking and unstacking, either. Just pull them out one at a time as needed, and restock after each grocery trip. 

4. Invest in clear storage containers.

Clear storage containers can be a great way to stash lots of items, without sacrificing on visibility. Use them for bags of chips, non-perishables, snack foods, or just those treats you want to keep away from the kiddos. They’re also good for dry items like cereal, rice, and oatmeal, too, and they come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Best of all? They’re cheap. You can get great options at Walmart or Target (usually in bulk, too).

5. Use stacking baskets to get more out of your floor and shelf space.

Stackable bins and baskets are perfect for items you need easy access to, like fruits, veggies, or quick-grab snack foods. They work both on the floor and on shelves, and depending on how many you can stack in each area, they can often double or even triple your storage space.

6. Add slide-out drawers and racks where possible.

There are lots of options for slide-out drawers and racks that can help you make the most of your pantry space. Great for sauces, spices, K-cups, and more, they can make storing smaller items a breeze.

7. Use magazine files wisely.

Magazine files aren’t just for printed works. They also make great storage containers for noodles, rice boxes, granola bars, macaroni, cracker boxes, plastic wrap, and more. You can even use them to keep the kids’ after-school snacks organized and open for easy access (the healthy ones, of course). 

Other Ways to Improve Your Pantry

Adding organizers isn’t the only way to up your pantry game. If you just want a better overall meal-making experience, there are other steps you should take, too.

For one, add a push light somewhere toward the top. Most pantries are dark, cavernous closets (unless you’re lucky enough to have a walk-in), and they’re pretty hard to get a clear view of, let alone keep organized. A push light gives you an easy way to illuminate the space without any extra electrical work. (They’re super kid-friendly, too).

You should also invest in a labeler. You can use it to label food items, sure, but more important than that? You’ll want to label your bins and baskets. That fully organized pantry might look perfect the first time around, but the next time you’re rushing to put up those groceries (or you’re not-so-careful spouse is doing the job), it might be a little harder to keep things in order.

Finally, embrace the stacking. Shelves have side-to-side space as well as up-and-down space, so use all that real estate to its fullest. Stack bins on top of bins, can racks on top of slide-out drawers, and whatever else you need to do to maximize the space and get the most out of that pantry area.

Need a More Drastic Pantry Update?

Are a few organizers and a nice labeler just not going to cut it with your pantry? Then a full renovation may be a better fit. 

If you need a complete pantry overhaul but don’t have the funds just yet, a cash-out refinance may be able to help. Get in touch with an Embrace Home Loans expert to learn about your financial options today.

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Aly Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer focusing on real estate, mortgage, and the housing market. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Bankrate, The Motley Fool, Business Insider, The Balance, and more. Prior to freelancing, she served as an editor and reporter for The Dallas Morning News. She graduated from Texas Christian University's Bob Schieffer College of Communication with a major in radio-TV-film and news-editorial journalism. Connect with her at AlyJYale.com or on Twitter at @AlyJwriter.