How to Organize a Pantry to Save You Time

an organized pantry

How To Organize A Pantry Cleverly To Make Life Easier

An organized pantry can be a lifesaver! I was looking for something in the pantry, and after going through a pile of a mess, it left me totally unsuccessful in my search. I spent a good 15 to 20 minutes on nothing but frustration, and I don’t even have a large pantry! Then, this question ran in my head.. “How can I organize a pantry that can last a long time without getting messed up?”

Since that little pull-out pantry was desperately needing a re-organization, this frustration didn’t let me sit, and it was Saturday. So, I went straight to the pantry organization. Let‘s talk about the process and ways that I found beneficial while organizing. So, without further ado, let’s start. 

Here is the pantry looks like right now, pretty gross, right?

I am a bit embarrassed to show you this picture. However, I like to show real-life scenarios.
I initially organized it when we moved into the house 10 months ago.

These Are The Best Tips To Organize Your Pantry  

Below are some important points to keep in mind before you even start to organize:

Re-evaluate your family’s needs

The first things first… Get some paper and a pen or use your phone to make a list of the most important items that need to be in the pantry, such as canned food, dry food, bread, pasta, and so on. 

Make this list according to healthy meal plans. Don’t add way too much junk food to waste your money, space, and health. Croutons are bad for my husband and cereal also is not that good for kids, so I totally eliminated these things off of my list.  

Revisit your supplies 

Now, since you have decided what to keep and what to get rid of.. Go ahead check out what and how much you have left. The good logic behind it is to pick bins and baskets to assign to these items by their size and amounts. For instance, you need a larger bin for 12 cans of chili as opposed to 6 cans. 

I took everything out and placed them on the floor to reevaluate the inventory

Find Another Home For Unnecessary Things

We used to have a walk-in pantry in our old home and we were always piling up extra things in there just because we had room for them. This is not a good practice and it just creates chaos and a mess in your life. Make sure all accessory items don’t pile up there. Examples are as cleaning supplies, etc. Try to find a home for them somewhere under the sink or garage. It’s not good for health either to keep chemicals with perishable items. 

More Frequently Used Items First 

Make sure to follow a system when you stack your items. For example, the food you need every morning to make your breakfast ready should be easy to reach and right there to grab. Our kids eat sandwiches in the morning so I have placed bread and butter in a basket at the front of one of the lower shelves for easy access.

Moreover, you want to save time because, you know as well as I do, that school mornings can be very hectic. 

Invest In A Good System To Organize A Pantry 

Just like anything else in life, you need to create a system for your pantry as well to keep it organized forever. Okay, I get it that nothing can stay organized forever, so at least for 12 months before you re-visit it should be the goal in mind.  

A uniform system with clear bins can always be very helpful. However, follow your budget and pantry space. I was looking for some white bins and I could only find the perfect size at our nearest Dollar Store. 

How To Organize A Pantry With Dollar Tree Baskets

I organized our pantry using Dollar Tree bins and baskets. I even purchased labels from there, so it made the pantry organization project super affordable for me. Below are the baskets I used from Dollar Tree. Maybe in the future, I will upgrade it with better quality products from Amazon as I do like some of the clear bins I have spotted on that site, but right now it’s all good. 

White Baskets

Chalkboard Labels

Here are the exact steps I took to organize the small pantry in our home

1- Clear Out Everything

I took all the food out of the pantry to give myself a good idea of how to group them together and where to place them while putting them back, and as I said above, also to re-evaluate my inventory.

how to organize a pantry
Yikes, pretty messy!

2- Deep Cleaning

Use a homemade cleaner and stay away from the toxic stuff. If it’s really messy, I recommend using Clorox to get rid of all the tough stains.

clean your pull out shelves
What is this? My goodness!

3- Beautify With Lining

Use a strong and nonslip lining to cover your drawers so later on it will be easy to clean. 

pull out shelves in the pantry
A patterned liner made a huge difference as opposed to how it was before.

4- Fill The Baskets

Fill all your baskets with items that are alike, and place them on the base of your needs. Put more frequently used items in the front. 

Leave a few baskets empty for overflow food in case you organize the place before grocery shopping.

Slide out shelves in the pantry
I filled the baskets with like-items

I also used some other white bins with these white baskets. My mom had saved some jars, and I used them for several different items. Our spice rack is also a DIY version using these recycled jars plus a Dollar Tree bin.

5- Rearrange Them

If something doesn’t look or fit right, re-arrange them if you needed. Whatever the shape of your pantry is, work with the space. If you have a bunch of corners, use lazy susans to cover those corners and for easy access. Lazy susans work great to maximize any space.

Make sure these items are the ones that you don’t use every day. 

  • For the tops of your pantry, place light items. The philosophy behind it is that it’s easy to grab without dropping and hurting yourself.
  • Place heavy items on the lower shelves of the pantry.
how to organize a small pantry
I re-purposed these laundry bins for bulk items such as flour and basmati rice

Pantry Organization Categories To Make Things Easier

Keep the below points in mind while organizing your pantry regardless of small or large square footage. These are surprisingly simple things to remember, yet they make a big difference in your daily life in the kitchen.  

Group Like Items Together 

Organize your food in groups and keep like items in a related category. For example, if you are keeping pasta keep all kinds of pasta in one place and pasta sauce should be closer to it. If you don’t follow this simple rule, you are going to create a bigger mess in life.. I have been there guys, so learn from my mistakes. 

Make An Inventory List

Use chalkboard paper from Dollar Tree and keep track of what you have on hand and also what is out of sight.

Pantry organization list
This blackboard paper is from Dollar Tree as well.

Snacks Bins For The Kids

Assign one or two bins to kids’ food or their snacks, as kids’ snacks are different than the adult snacks. It’s easier for kids to get their snacks when needed and the designated bin could definitely help them out a lot.

Do the same with adult snacks, as they should be very much in the reach and in sight so you can pack your lunch easily and get them whenever needed. That’s the beauty of an organized pantry that everything is reachable and is in easy access 

Canned Food 

Keep all your non-perishable food in one place or in bins. For example, all your canned food should be in one basket or two if you have a lot of canned food. 


Bread and hamburger buns can get smashed easily, so place them separately in bread containers or any easy-to-reach container on the front shelving. I don’t keep our bread in the fridge, it just makes it go bad faster.

top part of the pantry organization

What Are the best Pantry shelvings Slide-out vs fixed

Since having a personal experience with both I am going to give my two cents’ opinion here to make your life easy. 

Slide-Out Or Pull-Out Shelving

In our recent kitchen pantry, we had slide-out shelves and they are spectacular, specifically when it comes to larger items. Pakistani and Indian people eat fresh bread with pretty much all meals and we buy a lot of grain flour. That’s what’s in those laundry bins I purchased from Hobby Lobby. They are a perfect place for our flour and basmati rice. They are super heavy, so the slide-out shelves in our pantry are definitely making a difference!

Fixed Shelving

Fixed shelving is not a bad idea either, but once you have slide-out or pull-out shelving you don’t want to go back to fixed. However, fixed shelving is not a bad idea. It’s just a personal preference. In our old pantry, we had fixed shelving and I didn’t mind it since I had no experience with slide-out…lol so there was nothing to compare with.  

Organize your pantry
Here is the picture again. You can see white bins up there as I forgot to take a picture in the beginning.
Beautifully organized pantry
Here is the finished product! OMG, a huge difference. I am going to paint the kitchen soon

How To Save Time In The Kitchen With An Organized Pantry 

What the heck, time-saving has to do with the pantry organization, right? In general what I have learned over the years after becoming a mother it that time management can’t be completed without organization skills. It goes with everything in life. So, let’s see how we save time!

Easy To Keep It Tidy 

After you are done, it will be super easy to keep it clean and tidy it up without getting into clutter and mess. 

Kids Can Help As Well

Older kids can read labels and place items to related bins, and if you have little ones, place either clear bins or picture labels to help them recognize the items easily. 

The only other thing you have to do is to teach your “other half” to read labels…wink, wink!

My 10-year-old daughter said it’s easy to do everything when you are organized. Isn’t that great that your kids develop good habits? 

Organize your pantry using jars
My 10-year-old knows where to get cinnamon sticks

Always Stay Stacked 

It’s easy to see items you are running out of so you can make your grocery list based on what you exactly need as opposed to buying things and then having no room to stock them? 

My canned food label is abbreviated, so don’t judge me, please…lol

Here Is How An Organized Pantry Saves You Money

  • An easy to count inventory due to everything being upfront and easy to see
  • No rotten food, as things are not hidden anymore and you have a great setup
  • No wastage of food. It really saves you money. I bet it will be an eye-opening thing for you!
Organize challenge

Here is the tops part to compare.

Related: How to Organize a Small Closet

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5 ways to organize a pantry

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The Best Easy And Functional Pantry Organizers Sold On Amazon

These are easy and functional items that can work in every pantry easily, and on top of everything, they last long.

 Click on any image or the link below to check out the details  

For More Items Check Out My Amazon Store Front

I hope it will give you some motivation to organize your pantry. What tips would you like to add to simplify the process?

5 thoughts on “How to Organize a Pantry to Save You Time”

  1. This is amazing! I love how much of a difference it made. I enjoyed your video, too. I really love the chalk paper on the inside of the door. That’s a great idea! I haven’t seen that at my local Dollar Tree yet, but I’ll keep looking. Sending this to my mom since she has a pantry in her new home! 😊

    1. Hi Shehnazz, First of all, welcome to the readership! Those bins are from Hobby Lobby. I bought them on clearance. It was 75 or 80 percent off. $20 for both. Then just labeled them using dollar tree labels. I am glad you liked them.

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