You might want a kitchen pantry filled with neatly arranged and labeled glass containers to contain all your dry goods, but if your storage space is tiny or features musty bottles of expired spices and various boxes crammed together, all hope is not lost. Follow this guide to create an orderly, functional, and, yes, beautiful pantry space.

Clear it out

It’s helpful to start with a clean slate, so empty everything from your pantry. Have boxes on hand to store your goods, and remove only a few items at a time to make this task less overwhelming. Check expiration dates, toss expired items, and take inventory of everything you are keeping. Once a shelf is cleared, wipe it with a cloth and an all-purpose cleaner. If you have wire shelves, line them before returning food to them to keep items from falling to the floor.

Evaluate your space

You may need storage containers to effectively organize your space. Wire or clear plastic bins hold a lot and can clearly reveal what’s inside, while natural woven baskets are an eco-friendly option. Store flour away from direct light in an airtight container such as a Mason jar. Lazy Susans can hold spices and sauces and make them easier to reach. You can make use of the pantry floor with rolling bins or crates, while shelves and hooks can help you utilize wall space. You can add bamboo or plastic risers to shelves to better see everything and maximize an entire shelf. If your kitchen lacks a pantry closet, you can create the storage you need with a small cabinet or bookcase.


When organizing your pantry, group similar items, such as canned goods, and supplies that are used together, such as baking ingredients, in one place. Snacks for your kids or heavier items are best kept on low shelves. When restocking your pantry, put newer items in the back and push older ones to the front so you will use them first. If need be, label your bins to easily identify what is stored in each.

Move items

It may make sense to store some items in your pantry elsewhere, which may help you to create more pantry space and better organize what’s stored there. For example, you could put coffee pods underneath your coffee maker in a K-Cup organizer on your coffee cart and place your tea bags in a special container by your stove. Your bread could go in a countertop breadbox, while your mixer and other heavy small appliances could be stored underneath your kitchen counter.

Keep it neat

Once your pantry is newly organized, you’ll want to keep it that way. Regularly take stock of your pantry so you don’t forget what you already have. You can keep notes of your inventory on an app like Pantry Check or write a tally on a whiteboard or in a notebook; just be sure to regularly update your list.

With a plan of action and a little work, an efficient and attractive-looking pantry can be in your future.