Pantry Organizing Checklist

A well-organized pantry means you’ll always know what materials you have on hand.

  1. Check Assess the contents.

    Start by taking stock of what you’ve got. Past its prime? Throw it out. Never going to use it? Donate it.

  2. Check Store foods systematically.

    Canisters of flour, bottles of cooking oil, and common canned foods should be at waist level for easiest access. Less frequently used canned goods should be stacked on lower shelves with labels facing you. Lightweight items, such as cereals and pasta, are perfect for high shelves.

  3. Check Choose the right containers.

    Glass is convenient because it can be microwaved, refrigerated, and cleaned in a dishwasher, but, of course, it’s breakable. Choose glass containers with rubber seals to lock in freshness. If you opt for plastic, buy containers free of Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used in many polycarbonate plastics that may migrate from containers to food (types 3 and 7 plastics may contain BPA).

  4. Check Tuck away delicate glassware.

    Place it on a high shelf and arrange pieces by size—small in front, taller in back. They’ll be easier to reach and less likely to break.

  5. Check Leverage leftover space.

    Consider delegating an area at the rear of the pantry to little-used pans and appliances.

  6. Check Stow spices.

    Keep spices in carefully labeled, airtight tins or jars. (You can buy spice kits or devise your own system using recycled containers.) Place tins in a lidded box on a pantry shelf and jars in a spice rack on a pantry wall or door.

  7. Check Declutter cleaning supplies.

    If you keep cleaning products in the pantry, gather them in bins, buckets, or baskets. Install hooks and pegs on every available inch of the pantry door to hold brooms, mops, aprons, etc.

  8. Check Stash a step stool.

    If retrieving items from high shelves is difficult, invest in a collapsible step stool that you can fold and hang on the back of the door or tuck into a recessed space.