Learn how to maximize your space with these pantry organization ideas. You’ll be amazed at how much you can fit into a small pantry. Having an organized pantry will save you money and make dinner prep so much easier.
Our small, messy kitchen pantry got a major makeover, and now the space is super organized and efficient. I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited about a home project than I am about this pantry organization makeover using pull-out shelving.
This post is sponsored by ShelfGenie; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own. It contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience. Read my full disclosure policy here.
Can you blame me? How awesome is that pantry organization, especially considering the size of the space, all we have packed in there and what it looked like before.
- Disorganized Pantry Before
- Organized Pantry After
- 📋 ShelfGenie Consultation
- 🛠 ShelfGenie Installation
- 🚪 How to Organize a Pantry
- 🗑 What to Throw Away
- Organizing the Items You Want to Keep
- Putting It all Away
- 🥫 How to Organize Spices & Canned Goods
- How to Organize Oversized Items
- Choose a Flexible System
- 🔧 DIY Pantry Drawers
- More Pantry Storage Solutions
Disorganized Pantry Before
Despite my previous attempts at pantry organization, this space before was always messy. It was hard to reach things on the upper shelves or at the back of the shelves.
We had to stack things on top of each other, and there was a lot of wasted space, too.
Organized Pantry After
Baking supplies were hard to access, and I always had to hunt for spices for recipes. And our bread and buns were always getting crushed!
Now, every inch of our small pantry is maximized for storage, and everything has a place.
We partnered with ShelfGenie on our pantry organization project, and I’m so happy with our new Glide-Out shelving system. This post outlines the process of working with ShelfGenie, and it also includes lots of small pantry organization tips.
Let’s just take a moment to appreciate an organized pantry, which was custom designed for our family:
There’s ample space for our snacks, spices, baking supplies, my hoard of mason jars, canning supplies, dry goods, canned goods, cereal and other breakfast foods, bread, small appliances and so much more.
Want some quick pantry organizing tips? Click here to watch my web story on how to transform a messy pantry.
📋 ShelfGenie Consultation
Our pantry makeover started with a free design consultation with ShelfGenie. The designer, Les, talked with us about our biggest kitchen organizational challenges, measured the space and also talked to us about how we use our kitchen and pantry. He was so knowledgable about space planning, as well as ergonomics and made a lot of great suggestions about how to arrange the kitchen and pantry for maximum efficiency.
Les measured everything and drew diagrams and created a custom design plan for us on the spot. (You can see more of that process in my Instagram story highlights.) ShelfGenie is not a one-size-fits-all storage solution. It’s truly customized.
For Phase 1 of our kitchen organization makeover, we decided to focus on the pantry, which was definitely our messiest space and biggest organizational problem.
If you’re struggling with organization in your kitchen, bathroom or anywhere in your home, I encourage you to Get a Free Consultation from ShelfGenie. I know you will love your organized space as much as we love ours!
How much does it cost?
Pricing depends on the scope of your project, what type of shelving you choose and where you live. But I would say expect to pay from $500-$2,000 for the custom design consultation, installation and Glide-Out Shelving.
🛠 ShelfGenie Installation
Once we finalized our pantry organization plan, the ShelfGenie installer came to confirm the measurements the designer took so our custom pantry drawers and shelves could be built. We choose the Glide-Out Classic, which comes with a lifetime warranty on parts and installation.
After a few weeks in production, the shelves were ready to be installed in our pantry.
I decided I wanted to paint the pantry interior, so we ended up taking down the old wire shelving. But normally, that is included in the installation. (My husband so so excited that we didn’t have to DIY this project, and I was, too!)
The installer, Brandon, was so knowledgeable and professional. Before he started the installation, I showed him all the stuff from our pantry and talked about the best placement for the shelves and particular items.
For instance, he made sure the bottom shelf would accommodate my Instant Pot and some other taller items I wanted to store there.
Brandon and Les both recommended storing heavier items, including canned goods, below shoulder height for ergonomics and to avoid reaching injury. I had never thought of that before, but it makes so much sense.
The installation process took about two hours, and then I had the fun job of organizing the pantry.
We gained so much storage space by having ShelfGenie shelving solutions installed in our pantry.
ShelfGenie units can increase storage capacity by 50 percent. I was able to move items I had stored else in the kitchen to the pantry, and we still have extra room.
🚪 How to Organize a Pantry
Remove everything from the pantry
In prep for our ShelfGenie installation, my son and I removed everything from the pantry and loosely grouped it by category in laundry baskets. We also made a grocery store run before installation, so there was even more stuff to fit into the pantry.
🗑 What to Throw Away
Purge any outdated products or things you don’t use anymore
Before putting anything back in the pantry, check the best-by-date to make sure it’s still good. Throw away any outdated items, like those spices from 2009. (Guilty!)
Donate anything that your family won’t eat or use to a food pantry.
Get rid of any stale foods.
Organizing the Items You Want to Keep
Loosely group foods by category
For us, this meant grouping things like snacks together. Other categories included canned goods; rice, pasta and beans; baking supplies; specialty items and spices.
Create zones for common items, using shelf dividers or small containers
The taller ShelfGenie Glide-Out pantry drawers have optional, adjustable dividers, which I used to create zones for things like snacks, condiments, baking goods and other items.
When everything has a place, it’s easier for people to put things back where they belong. Even kids!
Putting It all Away
Maximize vertical space by storing items of similar height together
One thing I love about ShelfGenie’s shelving solutions is that there’s not a lot of wasted vertical space.
Yet pantry items, like canned goods or boxed pasta, remain easily accessible. I don’t have to move a bunch of things around, like I used to have to do, to make my favorite cherry dessert or a pot of Brunswick stew.
If you’ve ever struggled with how to organize a pantry with deep shelves, sliding shelves and pantry drawers are the answer.
Buy modular containers for pantry staples
To make the best use the baking shelf in our pantry, I bought stackable, modular containers for flours and sugar. We also used uniform containers for pasta, rice, taco shells and croutons.
🥫 How to Organize Spices & Canned Goods
Store items so you can easily read the labels
In our old pantry, I was always hunting for items on our spice rack.
Brandon, our ShelfGenie installer, recommended storing spice jars laying down in a shallow glide-out shelf. That was such a game changer!
You can also use this same technique for storing canned goods.
I even alphabetized the spices! If you really want to be super organized, you can transform spices to uniform-sized jars.
But I’ve decided that keeping them in their original containers works best for us. We have plenty of room to add more spices and other shorter items.
Remember: Pantry organization should be functional for your family, not just pretty.
Non-adhesive, easy-grip shelf liner keeps the jars from rolling around.
If you choose to store your spices upright, add labels to the lids so you can easily see what’s in each jar.
How to Organize Oversized Items
Store taller items together
We’ve reserved the top Glide-Out in our pantry for taller cereal boxes, oversized baking mixes, lesser used items like cake decorating supplies and larger, unopened snack bags.
Be mindful of ergonomics when organizing a pantry
Be kind to your body when organizing your pantry. Store lighter weight items above shoulder height to prevent injuries.
Store the most commonly used items on the shelves that are easiest to access, so you don’t have to reach or bend often.
Choose a Flexible System
As kids grow up or your family’s diet changes, your pantry storage needs and layout may change.
Don’t be afraid to switch things up and move things around to make it work for your family.
During the school year, I’ll probably rearrange our snack drawer to accommodate more lunchbox-ready, single-serve treats. Around the holidays, I may move my cake decorating supplies and candy melts to a lower shelf for easier access.
🔧 DIY Pantry Drawers
While I definitely think ShelfGenie is a great investment, I understand that buying a custom pantry organizing sytem may not be in the budget for everyone.
There are quite a few DIY options, including slide-out pantry shelves and drawers you can install yourself. I’l include some options below.
When buying these DIY pantry components, make sure you measure well to acommodate the shelving, the mounting hardware ane the products you’ll be storing.
Also be mindful of the weight capacity of each drawer. For best results, mount pull-out shelves and drawers to studs using the hardware recommended by the manufacturer.
More Pantry Storage Solutions
If pantry drawers aren’t in the budget at all, you can still have an organized pantry.
- Use acrylic storage bins to make items in the back of the pantry more accessible. These long narrow storage bins are great for a deep pantry.
- A lazy susan provides easy access to items that might otherwise get lost in the pantry.
- Tiered organizers, like this rack for kitchen paper products, helps you make use of vertical space. A tiered rack is also a good option for canned goods and spices.
- Stackable organizers allow you to store more items in the same amount of space.
- Modular containers with straight sides make sure that no space is wasted in the pantry.