Updated: May 6
We recently moved into a house that has a legit, dedicated pantry. It's not gigantic or elaborate, but coming from someone that has never had a proper space to store food, drinks, and kitchen gadgets, I think the pantry is a dream come true. My 7-year-old daughter calls in magical.
In our tiny apartment in San Francisco, we used a dining room cabinet as our pantry. In our last house in Corte Madera, California I was storing food in the garage — until a mischievous rat made his way into the bag of Pirate Booty. My friend Ivana lives in a beautiful Arts and Crafts home in Oakland, California, and she turned her entryway coat closet into a pantry. Otherwise known as her "clantry" and it's fantastic.
No matter how big or small your pantry is, having the proper storage and organizational systems will help maximize its functionality. Here are my favorite eight pantry organizing essentials that will significantly amplify your space.
By adding a lazy susan, you'll easily be able to access the cans, jars, bottles you have tucked away in the way back. You can also group similar items on the lazy susan, so you'll always know when you're running low on an item. You might be surprised at how many cans of diced tomatoes you really have.
Organizing shelf units are great because you'll be able to view everything you have. All your cans and jars are in a perfect line so you can see everything at a glance — nothing gets buried back in the corners. My pantry organizing go-to is coupling self organizers with one or two lazy susans, all depending on how items will be grouped together.
Beware. Many shelf organizer do not fit larger canned goods. My large can of tomatoes hang slightly over the edge, and on some days, that kind of bugs me.
Under-shelf storage baskets
I LOVE these. It's the perfect way to sneak more space into your pantry, cupboard, or closet. Slide them onto your shelves to create the ideal spot to stash things like towels, napkins, paper plates, Nespresso sleeves, tin foil, etc.
Please beware! Not all storage baskets will fit on thicker shelves. However, most baskets have an arm that is 1.18 inches thick, which will work perfectly on a standard shelf.
Instantly increase your storage capacity. You cannot go wrong with using shelf raisers to expand your storage areas and organize your pantry. Adding shelf risers will significantly increase your storage capacity and make everything in your pantry more accessible,
I recommend AVOIDING wire racks like these. Two things are frustrating with this type of design. First, Items, like cans, easily fall off the sides because there is no lip to prevent things from slipping off. Lastly, there is wasted space on the sides from where the rack ends to where the legs start.
Shelf dividers are used primarily in clothes and linen closets; however, they also work great for pantries. You can create clearly defined areas for where you'll store each type of food good: snacks in one section, baking supplies in another, table linen, lunch boxes, cookbooks, and so on.
Over The Door Rack
Don't forget to take advantage of your vertical space. I have one on my linen closet door, one on the playroom, door and soon, I'll be adding one to our front closet door for things like wrapping paper, ribbons, gift bags, scissors, and various craft supplies.
Hands down, the Over The Door Rack is my favorite organizing item. It's high quality, easy to put together, and offers numerous organizing solutions.
Here's a tip — I see people selling/giving away this item on Nextdoor, Facebook Marketplace, and local Buy Nothing Groups. So keep your eyes peeled for this gem.
In my opinion, you can never have too many bins and baskets. I like using bins for the pantry to put similar items together to create a unified and uncluttered look. This way, you always know if you are running low on something because all the soups, pasta, or crackers are stored together.
Take note, not all bins are the same, and some work better than others for storing specific items. For example, clear containers are nice because you can see the contents inside. Tall and wide bins work well for storing taller items like bags of chips or cereal boxes, whereas short and narrow are best for canned goods and baking supplies. There are so many options and possibilities, so to get you headed in the right direction, here are my tried and true favorites.
Use baskets for storing oversized items, backstock, or items that you use less frequently. They also work nicely for tucking away things that you don't really want to look at, like paper towels, garbage bags, lunch boxes, and water bottles.
If you're storing heavier items, you'll want a sturdy basket with reinforced edges so that it will always stand up straight.
What are your favorite pantry organization products?
Having the right pantry organizing products is vital for ensuring your space is functional, practical, and, most importantly, gives you lasting results. Would you please share your products and systems that have helped you with your pantry organizing endeavors? I'd love to hear your pantry product favorite. You can drop me a note in the comments or send me an email.