Pantry Reorganized…5 easy tips!

posted on January 8, 2014 by  |  posted under Cleaning, Easter/Spring, Organization  |  50 Comments

Pantry Reogranization 5 easy tips

I am about to show you my pantry. My unorganized, overstuffed, embarrassing pantry. Please, no judging. :)

I only feel comfortable doing this because it doesn’t look like this anymore! I fixed it and I learned some great tricks along the way that I want to share with you. Maybe you already know all of these, but they were serious light bulbs for me!

Pantry Reogranization 5 easy tips

Tip #1 Shelf Liner

First I took EVERYTHING out of my pantry and wiped it all down. This used to be a chore before I had shelf liner on all my shelves. When I recently moved, my sister came out and helped me put contact paper on all my shelves where food was involved and it was one of the best things I ever did! I don’t know why I didn’t know about this stuff before. I used to HATE trying to get spills off the rough pantry shelves…why are pantry shelves always so rough and hard to clean anyway? Well, no more – after you install this stuff (way easier to do with two people) it is so easy to wipe up spills and keep your shelves clean! Chose a pattern or color you love, after all you will see it EVERY day! I chose polka-dots…no surprise. 😉

Pantry Reogranization 5 easy tips

Tip #2 Containers

Another trick I wish I had discovered ages ago…putting packaged goods that you buy a lot like this Quinoa

Pantry Reogranization 5 easy tips

into plastic or glass containers with air tight lids. It is so much easier to open, close, and measure from this container. To label this, I just cut it right from the bag and taped it on with packing tape.

Pantry Reogranization 5 easy tips

Don’t forget the directions!

Pantry Reogranization 5 easy tips

I would love to have all my food in these…click over and watch the short, fun video on them, you will want them too!

Tip #3 Handy Snacks

Your kids are going to raid the pantry, so make the healthy choice easy. I stole this idea from the grocery stores… presentation is everything. Put healthy snacks down on a shelf where they can reach them and make them look enticing.

Pantry Reogranization 5 easy tips

I found these square plastic bowls in fun colors at Target in the dollar bins. Love those bins!

Pantry Reogranization 5 easy tips

Tip #4 Arrange like items together

Instead of storing different shaped noodles all over the place, I grouped them all together and put them in a bin. Where are the cranberries? Easy, with all the other dried fruit in the dried fruit bin.

I also found these rectangle plastic containers at Target in the $2.50 bins.

Pantry Reogranization 5 easy tips

Here is my baking supply bin.

Pantry Reogranization 5 easy tips

Tip #5 Rarely used items on top shelf

Instead of using prime real estate with items you rarely use, get it up out of the way. I only make cookies a couple times a year, so now the cookie cutters and sprinkles are in their own plastic shoe box on the top shelf. It is see through so I know exactly what is inside. I didn’t have enough plastic shoe boxes, however, so I used empty boxes for some things. Carnation drink box = perfect napkin holder. I do need to label this somehow so that I am not the only one who knows where the napkins are hiding. I also love these plastic under shelf baskets. They help to make better use of your space.

Pantry Reogranization 5 easy tips

BONUS! Tip #6 Buckets

I love these big buckets with gamma lids. The lids are air and water tight but easily twist open when you need to get in. They are genius for storing bulk dry ingredients. It is easy to refill your sugar and flour containers from these without making a mess. Just slide them out, twist the lid and refill! I made the mistake of thinking if big is good, bigger is better, but the biggest bucket wouldn’t fit in my pantry. So be sure and measure your space first. 😉

Pantry Reogranization 5 easy tips

Here is a look at my pantry put back together. I can actually find where things are now. What a concept. While it is now functional, making it pretty is always a work in progress.

Pantry Reogranization 5 easy tips

And the other side.

Pantry Reogranization 5 easy tips

Now it is YOUR turn…
What are your favorite pantry organization tips?

Pantry Reogranization 5 easy tips

    1. January 10th, 2012 at 7:19 am
      my honest answer says:
      Wow! I particularly love the bulk storage bins. I buy lots of stuff in large quantities, but it seems icky to keep it at floor level. But in something that air and water tight, I'd be happy to. Thanks for the suggestions!
    2. January 10th, 2012 at 7:37 am
      The Lefty says:
      I love tip #3, thank you so much!!!

      As I bake our bread myself every week, I store all needed things (flour, yeast, mixer etc.) in the big mixing bowl, so I can take everything I need with one grip. It is so much easier to get started if you can start at once.

    3. January 10th, 2012 at 12:45 pm
      Becca says:
      I have the exact same pantry & have fought for 6.5 years for organization. These are wonderful ideas, I now must convince the hubby to let me do this!
    4. January 10th, 2012 at 12:49 pm
      Stephanie J says:
      I just cleaned up my pantry a few days ago. Since my daughter is gluten free I have a whole shelf dedicated to gluten free foods. I have it labeled three times I think. I also have little kids and they are in and out of the pantry all the time. For this reason I don't keep food items on the bottom shelf, instead I keep their play doh sets and art supplies.

      Great tips. I'm going to have to check out the shelf basket for paper plates!
      • January 10th, 2012 at 2:01 pm
        Missy says:
        I like the idea of having play dough and things the kids use often in the pantry - that is a great idea! Maybe a homework supply bucket....the wheels are turning...thanks!
    5. January 10th, 2012 at 12:53 pm
      Malissa says:
      Where did you find the twist on lid buckets for your pantry organization?
      • January 10th, 2012 at 2:04 pm
        Missy says:
        You can follow the link in the post to Amazon and get them, or I have seen them go on sale at Emergency Essentials (you can google it) for a little less.
    6. January 10th, 2012 at 1:10 pm
      Patricia says:
      You have done a wonderful job with the pantry.I love de cluttering. I pulled out my plastic containers this morning to organize, but stopped until I could figure a good system. Thanks for all your tips.
    7. January 10th, 2012 at 1:12 pm
      Stephanie says:
      Great ideas. I'll be implementing some of them very soon! Thank you :)
    8. January 10th, 2012 at 1:16 pm
      Katie says:
      I love it. I'm actually taking a lunch break from reorganizing mine. I really need better baskets than what I have! The husband actually just turned my closet into a small pantry and the rest is above the washer and annoying!
      • January 10th, 2012 at 2:03 pm
        Missy says:
        You can use empty boxes until you find the baskets you least you won't put off organizing until later. That is what I am doing anyway. ;) Not pretty, but functional.
        • January 10th, 2012 at 9:04 pm
          Dawn says:
          This is an awesome post Missy! (Just like you!!!) I used a bunch of old boxes in my pantry too and it was driving me crazy having all those logos and different colors. I wrapped them in craft paper and now everything is calm and contained! Boring brown but I guess I cant have everything! I want to make label from old scrapbook paper scraps for the front of the boxes someday. Hum - I wonder if that will ever happen?!?! Thanks for the tips!
    9. January 10th, 2012 at 1:47 pm
      Jessica Harwood says:
      Love the tips. Having an organized pantry always feels so nice! Actually, just having a pantry is nice. My hubby just barely finished putting shelves in our broom closet (which never got used as a broom closet) so we could have a pantry in this house. That's a bad thing about buying a house over 60 years old - there isn't always everything you could need in it, like a pantry for food. ;) One of my favorite tips is to utilize all the space. You did that with the under-shelf hanging baskets. I've found some wire shelves that work perfectly for adding an extra "shelf" to to lots of space. No sense wasting any space. :)
    10. January 10th, 2012 at 1:52 pm
      Vanilla Bean Girls says:
      Great tips! I have those same square bowls from Target, so now instead of wasting space on my tupperware shelf, I know what to do with them!
    11. January 10th, 2012 at 2:20 pm
      Mindy says:
      Wire organizers for pop cans can also be used for canned goods. Lock & Lock containers are great for keeping food fresh. We dont go through cereal too fast, but it stays fresh and crunchy when its stored in those.
    12. January 10th, 2012 at 2:21 pm
      Amanda says:
      Great tips! I am in the process of organizing our pantry also. Ours is pretty big and goes around and under our stairs, so we have hoarded a lot of stuff in there!! It seems never ending. Any suggestions for shelving that can go on the wall - or floor - under the stairs? The wall slopes and the ceiling is only about 4.5 feet tall at the highest point. Also, I saw homework totes mentioned. I used to make those. Here is my etsy listing so you can see what they look like. I no longer make them because I spent way too much time on them and it wasn't worth what I was charging, but I can tell you how I made them if you are interested.
      • January 10th, 2012 at 3:13 pm
        Missy says:
        I have those plastic stackable floor shelves in my under the stairs closet lined along the wall - I have LOVED them. And those homework totes are so fun! What a great idea.
      • January 9th, 2014 at 7:22 am
        Debra Needles says:
        I have my food storage in a closet under the stairs. Against the back short wall I have one of those half-sized bookshelves like you might put in a kids room. Then along the sidewall of the closet I have a skinny baker's shelf that I also keep food on. Worked out pretty well!
    13. January 10th, 2012 at 3:08 pm
      Karin says:
      Hi Missy,
      Love the way it looks, my pantry looks a lot like your before picture does, I have wire shelves and I hate them, they are not very deep and I hate that they have holes between the wire. I'm thinking I may contact paper them or maybe some contact paper over poster board cut to fit. I have always wanted to use containers for my chips/pasta etc...but it seems like it would be so costly, maybe I will buy them one at a time each week. Anyway I've joined the before and after linky party over at and my goal is to organize my disaster of a basement. Check out my post over at my site
      • January 8th, 2014 at 6:35 pm
        Amanda says:
        I went to garage sales, eBay, dollar stores and secondhand shops like lifeline, good Sammy's and salvo shops and bought storage containers for my pantry. I washed them in hot soapy water then sanitised them using baby bottle steriliser before use. Works perfectly and a fraction of the price of new Tupperware.
    14. January 10th, 2012 at 4:08 pm
      Mindy says:
      Hooray! It looks so good! Whoever your sister is that helped you install that contact paper must be pretty awesome. ;)

      I reorganize my pantry every few months and inevitably it gets messy again. I'm loving some of these tips, like the bins, that I haven't thought of before. I'm on a mission to once again tackle my pantry. Thanks for the great post!
    15. January 10th, 2012 at 4:42 pm
      Julie says:
      Holy smokes it looks incredible! I have always wanted to use all the plastic containers but couldn't convince myself. But I'm getting closer. Thanks for letting us watch your transformation and thanks for the ideas and inspiration.
    16. January 10th, 2012 at 8:05 pm
      Deanna says:
      I just organized my pantry over the Christmas break. I saw on Pinterest to use diaper boxes for storage. The diaper boxes work great because they are sturdy and have handles. I covered them all in matching contact paper and loaded them up with the same method as you (similar items) . I need to label them now, but what a difference it has made.
    17. January 11th, 2012 at 4:45 am
      Sara {Home is Where the Cookies Are} says:
      Oh, it's like a breath of fresh air when something like that takes place in your house isn't it?? My mission is to clean off my kitchen counters - which is going to lead to organizing the pantry, and cleaning out the cupboards, and probably organizing the garage. . . because it's all connected! Love the new pantry - consider me inspired!
    18. January 11th, 2012 at 7:10 am
      Mirys says:
      Hi Ladies!!!

      Once (last year) I freaked out about my "not decorated at all" house and decided to change things a little bit. And I redid my entire kitchen just using contact paper!!! It tourned out great! (it is all documented and photographed at, if you wanna see it).

      In the sparing time, I reorganized my things using ome great tips I catch here and there. Important things like validity expirarion time and such! I blogged about all this at:

      Kisses and blessings.
      (from Brazil)
    19. January 11th, 2012 at 8:36 am
      Katie says:
      Great job! One further helpful hint... I bought a label maker at Office Depot a couple of years ago--my best purchase ever, especially for this type of organizing. I use it to easily, neatly, and securely label bins and Tupperware, plastic bags in the freezer, stuff in the fridge ( hugely avoids leftovers becoming science projects!!) the label maker I have was about $25 and I use it several times a week.
    20. January 11th, 2012 at 8:53 am
      Whitney says:
      I love the bowls for the snacks. That is the one area that I have the most trouble with. I was originally looking for a really big clear cookie jar but the bowl allows for easy access and you can still easily see which type of snacks are getting low. Thanks for the great idea!!!!
    21. January 11th, 2012 at 10:04 am
      Julie says:
      Great ideas! I just need an idea for turning my pantry (which is about 1/4 the size of yours) into a larger one! :) But implementing some of these tips might help keep stuff from falling out on whoever (else) is trying to get stuff from the (overstuffed) pantry! Thnx! Like the contact paper idea too! (Not that you can see much of my shelves.)
    22. January 11th, 2012 at 12:27 pm
      Nesleirbag says:
      The pantry looks so inviting -does it make you want to cook up a storm? We just recently installed shelves on the back of our door to the pantry and it doubled the capacity of our pantry. It's amazing how simple, organizational changes can make such a HUGE difference in everyday life.
    23. January 11th, 2012 at 12:43 pm
      Inde says:
      You've inspired me to get my cabinet under control. I like the idea of putting things in clear containers to see them. I see a trip to IKEA and target coming my way!! Thanks for the tips :)
    24. January 11th, 2012 at 1:09 pm
      Brenda Nicholson says:
      Great ideas Missy! I'm going to put them to use!

      Now can you please organize your fridge so I can see how it's done? ;)
    25. January 11th, 2012 at 1:18 pm
      Mindy says:
      I totally bought those OXO containers for myself while Christmas shopping for others haha
    26. January 11th, 2012 at 2:48 pm
      Melanie N says:
      I just reorganized my panty as well. One thing I found helpful was labeling a bin "Expiring Soon!" That way I know what to focus on when getting snacks for the kids, making dinner, etc. LOVE ORGANIZED PANTRIES!!! :)
    27. January 11th, 2012 at 6:27 pm
      Shalene says:
      I have fallen in love with using giant dog food storage containers for my flour and sugar -- they have a snap down lid on hinges and are on ROLLERS so it is so easy to roll them out and use.
    28. January 12th, 2012 at 10:20 am
      Vanessa says:
      Good job on the reorganization! I'm working on the same thing in my pantry. I was looking at Home Goods the other day for storage options. I saw those OXO containers there. You might want to look there if you are still interested. ;)
    29. January 12th, 2012 at 8:41 pm
      Shelley says:
      I'm trying to get over the fact that I don't have a big beautiful pantry to organize. ;) Someday,... I will use every last one of your tips Missy. Until then,... I will daydream. ;) I love the square bowls.
    30. January 20th, 2012 at 1:45 pm
      Deanna says:
      The under the shelf wire baskets that hook onto the shelves are also sold at Ikea for $4
    31. March 27th, 2012 at 1:08 pm
      Christi Hoehn says:
      Love the ideas, just make sure that the buckets or any other plastic containers, are food safe if food comes into contact with them. Non food safe containers leech dangerous chemicals into your food.
    32. September 18th, 2012 at 1:41 pm
      Paula {} says:
      Thanks for a push to organize! :) Terrible weather in NY today so I am cooped up at home. Found your post via Pinterest and decided it was a great day to work on my walk-in pantry. SO happy I did. One tip to include is to check all expiration dates during your pantry reorganization! Salad dressings, ketchups, cake mixes, flour, cornstarch and so much more have expiration dates. Too often we don't look at them until we are about to use them! LOL
    33. October 23rd, 2012 at 9:52 pm
      Mom2four says:
      The best ever idea for our pantry was to take a rolling wired metal cart put a plastic liner on the top shelf of the cart, then put my kitchen aid stand mixer on top of it. The other two shelfs contain the accessories that go with the kitchen aid and flour, sugar or what ever other ingredients I need from the "baking pantry" then I roll it over the the island area of my kitchen plug it in and away I go. Plus with it being a lower level than the counter I am not killing my back to put it on top of the counter and the kids can easily help add ingredients and not have to sit on a chair to see the inside of the bowl.

      LOVE LOVE LOVE this! Everyone who has seen it thinks its a great idea and loves it!
    34. May 21st, 2013 at 7:13 pm
      ann b says:
      I'd love to have a pantry that size
    35. September 11th, 2013 at 2:59 am
      Jan Osborne says:
      I converted a medium sized bathroom in an old house into a walk-in pantry. I buy the clear containers with the Better Homes and Gardens label from Wal-Mart. I love those containers. I label my flour self-rising or plain. I also label sugar, grits and self-rising cornmeal, too. I varnished my shelves. I wish that I had thought of Contact first. Great idea!
    36. January 9th, 2014 at 7:29 pm
      Julie E. says:
      Can't wait for my pantry to look like this!!
    37. January 11th, 2014 at 9:06 am
      heather says:
      sadly, i don't have a pantry, just a couple of very disorganized, messy cupboards. I'm going to ry and utilized some the tips. we'll see what happens!
    38. January 14th, 2014 at 6:36 pm
      Connie Boyd says:
      Encouragement to try to re-organize as my 'helpers' lately have been putting things just everywhere. I buy baskets at the dollar tree. My pantry is a little different, it's a about half your width and deeper, so baskets are definitely helpful to get the front/more used things out and get to the back. Thanks!
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