Try These Genius Pantry Organization Ideas to Give Your Kitchen an Instant Upgrade

Master the art of kitchen storage by learning these pantry organization hacks.

Your pantry deserves some knockout organization ideas. Think about it: It's the home base for your kitchen and a central part of kitchen organization. It's no wonder that the place where you store everything from spices and snacks to appliances and cookbooks is one of the first kitchen spaces to go haywire–with pasta and pistachios jammed in wherever you can find the space.

If you're tired of cleaning up spilled oats and having three containers of baking powder (because you can never find it when you need it), there's hope. Try these pantry organization ideas to help you get an Insta-worthy system that truly works.

1. Start by Taking Stock

The first step in pantry organization is to do an inventory. Pull everything out to give your shelves a good wipe-down, check for expired products, and cull your cookbook and appliance collection. (Now's a good time to put aside any excess unopened, still-good canned goods and pantry items to share with your local charity.)

2. Group Like Items Together

Use larger baskets or bins to corral similar items—like all of your pastas, cans of soup, or snacks—so you can see when you're running low. Create themed baskets, like one that holds all of your baking ingredients, so you can pull out the basket when you're ready to whip up a batch of cookies.

Transparent baskets and bins let you see the contents and assess what's running low; solid-colored bins help create a streamlined and more cohesive vibe for your pantry storage.

3. Arrange With the Rest of the Family in Mind

Let's face it—your pantry disaster probably wasn't caused by you. It's your kids clawing through the shelves for snacks or your partner putting away the grocery haul without attention to your carefully crafted organizational system.

"Keep the items they eat on a regular basis accessible so they don't have to move things around," says storing and organizing expert Emma Gordon of Clutter. "Unbox individually-wrapped items like granola bars, sunflower seeds, and chips and gather them in a basket marked 'Snacks,' so your kids don't have to tear apart the pantry to find them." Nor will you have to deal with the empty cardboard boxes they failed to toss when they grabbed the last snack.

Labeling bins and baskets can help solve the "put it anywhere" problem. Not using bins? Label the shelves themselves to make sure everything goes back to the proper spot, especially when you're not the one putting things away.

4. Put Pantry Essentials at Eye Level

Make it easy to reach the things you use daily by placing them at eye level and stashing your rarely used appliances and foods closer to the top and the bottom of the pantry. Keep a stepstool handy for reaching the items on the top pantry shelves.

5. Upcycle your Kitchen Pantry Storage

You don't have to buy all the gear for pantry organization at IKEA or the Container Store. Keep an eye out for containers you can reuse and recycle from the products you're already buying, such as quart- and pint-sized takeout containers, glass pasta sauce or jam jars, or even gelato containers. You can use cool labels to dress up your basic containers—and help save the planet, too.

6. Use Every Available Inch

Don't waste a bit of space in your pantry. Transfer pantry items out of the boxes and into your own sleek bins to maximize space and give your pantry a uniform look. Canisters for dry goods like flour, oats, and sugar look great—and they can help you reduce the chance of spilling and keep pests like flour moths at bay, too.

Place small items like cans on risers and lazy susans to maximize deep cupboards and shelves, so you can easily see and reach everything.

There are plenty of pantry organization ideas for your door, too. You can put small wire shelves or an over-the-door organizer on the back to store smaller items like spices and sauces or use hooks to hang lunch bags, brooms, and dusters. One of our favorite paper towel holders is Carry360, with a built-in shelf to store additional items, like spices, soaps, and cleaning supplies. 

7. Keep Your Command Center Handy

Want to make keeping your pantry stocked even easier? Hang a shopping list nearby to make note whenever items get low. Put your checklist in a glass frame, use dry-erase markers to check off what you need, and snap a quick pic when you're ready to head to the store.

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