With the introduction of a lot of organizing shows in the past few years, it’s probably crossed your mind to work towards a picture-perfect, organized home. One of the most impactful, yet challenging, places to start is the pantry. Keeping your pantry organized can be daunting, but with the right tips and tricks, it doesn’t have to be. With a few simple steps, you can create an efficient and well-organized pantry that makes cooking meals easier than ever. From knowing what items should go on each shelf to learning which containers are best for storing ingredients, read on to discover our top tips for organizing your pantry.

Start with a clean slate

Start by taking everything out of your pantry and grouping like items together (i.e. canned goods, baking supplies, baking mixes, etc.). Take this opportunity to discard any expired products or foods that you don’t plan on eating. This will help you decide which items to buy in bulk, what needs to be replenished often, and what can be used for an extended time period.

Contain it

With everything out of your pantry, find containers that will fit the measurements of your space well. In order to make sure that items are visible so you don’t have to search through your pantry when looking for something specific, utilize clear storage containers that stack easily and are labeled with the contents inside. For canned goods storage, consider a system such as this one from Shelf Reliance that makes organizing and avoiding losing or wasting food easy. 

Invest in a step stool or ladder if necessary so that you can reach the highest shelves of your pantry. For items you don’t want to see, such as overstock items, consider bins or baskets that conceal the product, but label them clearly. Since you won’t access these items as often, these are good ones to go up high if the products are light, or down low on the floor if they are heavy.

Categorize your areas

Assign a designated area in your pantry for each of the distinct categories you’ve established—this will help keep things organized and easy to find when needed. If space permits, consider using storage containers or shelving units to maximize storage capacity and keep food visible/accessible. After your food is paired according to type, organize it by frequency of use. This means placing the most frequently used items at eye level and storing them in front of less-used products. Allowing your most frequently accessed foods to remain visible will help keep them top-of-mind while also allowing time for other products to rotate in and out of the pantry accordingly.

Label your areas

Utilize labels on every container or category area to make it easy to find where things are. Since you categorized your areas, these could be labels such as “Breakfast Items”, “Dinner Items”, “Cereal”, etc. You can use adhesive labels easily found online, or simply use sticky notes with written instructions. If putting items in clear containers without their original box or nutrition information, consider cutting the nutrition info or instructions off the box and taping it to the bottom of your containers for reference later.

Maintain the system

One of the hardest parts of organizing any space is taking the time to maintain the system. Take some time each week or month (depending on how often you grocery shop) to make sure your pantry is still organized and up-to-date with current inventory levels— this way you’ll know when it’s time to replenish any soon-to-expire or low-stock products either from your own kitchen or via grocery shopping trips. Keep a list of ingredients handy so that when you run out of something, it’s easy to reference what needs replenishing at the store—you don’t want to find yourself in a pinch needing an ingredient only to realize it’s missing from your pantry!

By following the few simple steps outlined above, you’ll soon find yourself with an organized pantry space — one that is both visually appealing and easy to maintain! Having an organized pantry is essential to ensure that you have everything necessary on hand for meals and cooking. Not only does it make your kitchen look neat and tidy, but it also saves time by making items easy to find when needed. Organization can help with meal planning as well—you’ll be able to see what products are available in stock which will guide decisions about what meals or snacks can be made easily without having to go out shopping first. You’ll soon find yourself with an orderly pantry space that not only looks great but helps save time too!