How to Organize Your Pantry

Updated: Jan. 16, 2023

Follow these simple steps to set up an organized pantry that will keep items easily accessible while maximizing your available storage space.

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A few hours






It doesn't take long to mess up a kitchen pantry. Everyone's in a hurry, grabbing what they want, then not putting things back where they found them. Pretty soon, no one can find anything! It's time to take control and restore order. Let's get started!

Project step-by-step (4)

Step 1

Plan Your Project and Purchase Organizers

Before starting, open your pantry door and identify your storage problems. Which areas are hard to see? Where are items getting lost? Then, take measurements and select storage solutions that will help keep items in sight and easily accessible. Here are some ideas.

Plan the pantryAby Garvey for Family Handyman

Step 2

Empty Your Pantry

Pull items out of your pantry and use your counters or kitchen table to roughly sort items by category. Categories may include:

  • Baking supplies;
  • Canned goods;
  • Pasta;
  • Rice and other grains;
  • Spices;
  • Snacks;
  • Breakfast or lunch items;
  • Oils and vinegar;
  • Beverages;
  • Small appliances;
  • Paper goods (napkins, plates, plastic wear);
  • Check expiration dates and discard expired items.

Empty the pantryAby Garvey for Family Handyman

Step 3

Clean Your Pantry

Clean the pantryAby Garvey for Family Handyman

Step 4

Set up Your Organized Pantry

Return items to your pantry, using the following guidelines:

  • Start with the middle shelves. These are the easiest to see and access, so load them with daily-use items such as dinner or lunch-making supplies, or with food you want to keep in sight, such as healthy snacks.
  • Move on to bottom shelves. Stow heavy items such as kitchen appliances that don’t have a home elsewhere in your kitchen, or less frequently used/seasonal items. If you have young children, these are good shelves for self-serve snacks and lunch items.
  • Finish up with top shelves. This area is perfect for infrequently used items like lightweight kitchen appliances, extra chips, snacks or paper goods. Store like-items together in baskets or bins for easy access.

Set Up the pantry with lazy SusansAby Garvey for Family Handyman