Ten-year-old you probably never imagined you'd ever be passionate about pantry organization hacks. Until you're the one in charge of grocery shopping and maintaining the house, it's hard to understand the thrill and satisfaction of turning a cluttered pantry into an orderly space. Adult you is well aware of how good it feels to tackle and transform a problem area in your home. Devoting a few hours to pantry organization is a seriously rewarding task. Afterward, celebrate a successful pantry makeover with a snack – you'll know just where to find it in your newly organized pantry.
1. Make Use of Wall Space
Every inch of pantry space is valuable, so put every inch to work for you. Even a narrow strip of wall space can be used for storage. Hang pocket shoe organizers to hold individually wrapped snacks or other small odds and ends. Buy a display rack like the type used to hang chip bags in convenience stores or make a DIY version by buying chip clips with holes and screwing them to a wooden post at intervals. Hang open bags of snacks or other lightweight items from the clips or attach sturdy hooks to the wall and hang tote bags, pans or utensils from them.
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2. Stop Stacking Canned Goods
Stacking canned goods is an easy way to put them away, but it's such a pain to shift through stacks and rows of cans to find the one you're looking for. Plus, stacking cans is sometimes an inefficient use of space. There are a few ways to store canned goods without stacking them haphazardly. Buy a wall-mounted can organizer/dispenser or empty the cardboard fridge boxes that hold 12-packs of soda or beer and load canned goods into them.
3. Create Tiered Shelves
Small items, like jars of spices and condiments, can get lost at the back of pantry shelves. Use multilevel shelves to help you see everything at once. Have a home improvement store cut pieces of wood to fit the length of your shelves and then stack them to create tiers. Depending on the depth of your shelves and the width of the wood, you might stack two pieces of wood at the back of the shelf and one piece of wood in front of it to create three levels of storage. You can also use a shelf rack for kitchen cabinets to essentially double your storage space for smaller cans and jars.
4. Use Rolling Storage
When it comes to pantry organization ideas for a small pantry, adding a rolling cart is a game changer. Even a small cart can add much-needed storage space, and they're affordable from retailers like Amazon and Walmart. Use it to hold appliances or all the odds and ends that don't fit on your shelves. If you have limited kitchen storage space, store cooking or baking essentials on the cart. Wheel it into the kitchen during food prep and then back into the pantry when you're finished.
5. Use Baskets on Hard-to-Reach Shelves
It's such a pain to crouch down and dig around at the back of a bottom shelf, and it's risky to dig around on high shelves where one wrong move could send something flying down at your head. Dollar store baskets are great for these hard-to-reach shelves. Use them to store things you don't need often. When you do need something from the bottom or top shelf, sliding out the basket is easier than grabbing blindly at whatever's within reach. You'll also get extra storage by using tall baskets that hold a lot of stuff.
6. Invest in Clear Containers
Should you transfer dry goods to clear containers or leave them in their original packaging? As far as kitchen organization ideas go, this might be the most hotly contested. Aesthetics aside, transferring dry goods to clean canisters or glass jars has a few benefits. Well-sealed containers can extend food's shelf life and keep out critters. Using clear containers can make grocery planning and meal prep a little easier too. You can take inventory with just one glance in the pantry and know what you have and what you need to restock.
7. Store Single-Serving Snacks in Stackable Bins
For parents of young kids, half the joy of finding the right food storage solutions is making it easier for kids to safely fend for themselves. Storing single-serving foods in stackable open bins creates easy access for everyone so kids don't have to come find you every time they want a quick snack. When you bring home a new box of granola bars or fruit cups, empty it right into the bin and recycle the box. Anyone who needs a snack or last-minute breakfast on the way out the door can grab and go.
8. Keep Labeling Supplies on Hand
How long ago did you open that bag of brown rice? What's in that spice mix you created from scratch? How long has that jar of your neighbor's homemade preserves been sitting on the shelf? Keep a sheet of sticker labels or a label maker in the pantry so you can easily mark packages with relevant information, like the date they were opened (if it's something with a short shelf life) or the ingredients in something homemade.
9. Place Lazy Susans in Corners
The best storage ideas help you find uses for underutilized spaces. In a small pantry with shelves on adjoining walls, the corners of the shelves tend to be dead space. Put spinning organizers in corners to make them more accessible. Use simple turning trays (lazy Susans) to store bags or boxes of food or buy a spinning organizer with multiple levels to organize smaller items, like spices.
10. Add a Writing Surface
Life is busy, so when you're in the pantry and think "must remember to buy more rice," you only have a few seconds to write it down before your phone dings or someone yells from the other room, and your train of thought moves along. Hang a chalkboard, white board or even just an old-fashioned notepad inside the pantry or on the back of the pantry door so you can keep track of shopping list notes, recipe ideas or whatever else strikes you while you're surveying your (beautifully organized) shelves.