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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 with ShelfGenie.
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.
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.
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. (I’ll share more small pantry organization tips with specifics about how we organized our space at the end of this post.)
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.
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.) I was really impressed with the personal service and how the designer asked questions to find out about our family’s lifestyle and specific storage needs. 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!
Once we finalized our pantry organization plan, the ShelfGenie installer came out the next day to confirm the measurements the designer took so the custom shelves could be built for our pantry. 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.
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. (Guility!)
Donate anything that your family won’t eat or use to a food pantry.
Loosely group foods by category
Create zones for common items, using shelf dividers or small containers
The taller ShelfGenie Glide-Outs 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!
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, ShelfGenie Glide-Outs 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.
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!
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.
Non-adhesive, easy grip shelf liner keeps the jars from rolling around.
You can also use this same technique for storing canned goods.
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.
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. And around the holidays, I may move my cake decorating supplies and candy melts to a lower shelf for easier access.
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