20 Small Pantry Organization Ideas to Make Your Life Easier

Keeping your pantry organized can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! With some small changes and easy tips, you can transform your cluttered pantry into an efficient storage space. A well-organized pantry allows you to easily locate ingredients, reduces food waste, and saves you time and money.

Implementing just a few of these 20 small pantry organization ideas can make a big difference in decluttering your shelves and drawers. Read on for tips, tricks, and products to help you organize your pantry like a pro!

Take Inventory and Donate Unused Items

The first step in pantry organization is taking inventory. Remove everything from your pantry shelves and create an inventory list of what you currently have in stock. As you take inventory, check expiration dates and discard anything that is past its prime or no longer usable.

For food items you want to keep but know you won’t use soon, consider donating unopened packages to your local food bank. This removes clutter from your shelves and helps provide food to those in need.

Categorize Items and Designate Shelves

Once you’ve cleared out unused items, it’s time to categorize what remains. Group similar food types together – such as snacks, baking ingredients, canned goods, etc.

Designate a shelf or area of your pantry for each category. This makes it easy to quickly find what you need while cooking and shopping. It also highlights what you have a surplus of (and what you may be running low on).

Invest in Shelf Dividers and Organizers

Shelf dividers are inexpensive and one of the easiest ways to neatly separate and organize pantry categories. Look for sturdy dividers that stand on their own without slipping.

For small items like spices, invest in tiered racks or spice organizers. This contains the clutter of numerous small jars and bottles. For canned goods, try a small organizing rack to neatly arrange and see labels facing forward.

Optimize Airflow with Risers

Limited airflow can lead to a humid pantry encouraging mold growth. Use risers, like a wire cooling rack, to elevate items off the shelf. This allows air to better circulate to discourage moisture.

Risers also allow you to efficiently utilize vertical space. Try stacking cans on their sides and using the riser for visibility and airflow.

Store Food in Bins and Baskets

For dried goods like flour, sugar, rice, etc., use storage bins or baskets to corral the ingredients neatly on the shelves. Clear bins allow you to easily see contents. Baskets contain the mess but still allow airflow.

Labels on the front of bins and baskets makes locating ingredients simple. If space is limited, consider stacking bins and baskets to optimize the vertical real estate.

Use Tension Rods for Extra Storage

Install tension rods in your pantry to hang and store lightweight items like bags, boxes, and bulk snacks. This utilizes wasted vertical space while keeping these items up and out of the way.

Tension rods easily install in a variety of widths. Use S-hooks to hang items and utilize the often overlooked space between shelves.

Repurpose Glass Jars for Dry Goods

Reuse glass jars and containers to hold dried goods like beans, pasta, rice, etc. The clear glass lets you easily see contents. Uniform jars also give your pantry a cohesive, organized look.

Jars with clamp lids seal tightly to keep food fresh and prevent spills. Write ingredients on jar lids with chalkboard spray paint or adhesive labels for quick identification.

Organize Spices Alphabetically

Arrange spices and seasonings alphabetically so you can swiftly find what you need while cooking. Store them on a rotating spice rack, tiered shelves, or in divided bins.

Consider grouping spice jars in bins first by type – like baking spices vs. savory spices. Then alphabetize each section for optimized organization.

Utilize Vertical Space with a Shelving Unit

Free up valuable floor space with a vertical shelving unit. Multi-tier, wall-mounted racks utilize vertical real estate and are perfect for a small pantry. For a narrow pantry, try an over-the-door style rack.

Use the shelves for canned goods, boxes, and baskets. Install hooks on the side of the unit for hanging tools like spatulas, ladles, and measuring cups.

Store Snacks inMatching Containers

Uniformly store snacks in matching bins, jars, or canisters to create a streamlined look. Transparent containers allow you to easily see contents. Stackable styles optimize space.

Label containers clearly so family members can easily return snacks to their proper home. Doing so keeps the organized look you worked hard to achieve!

Use Interlocking Bins for Small Items

Interlocking plastic bins are ideal for corralling small pantry items like packets of seasoning, drink mixes, pudding cups, and more. The modular bins neatly stack so you can customize configurations.

They are typically transparent for easy viewing. Lids keep contents secure. Labeled bins make locating that chicken seasoning or gelatin a cinch!

Hang a Shallow Basket for Onions and Garlic

Onions, garlic, and other produce are notorious for rolling around. Keep them neatly contained in a hanging basket. Look for a wide, shallow style basket that allows airflow to the contents.

Install a sturdy hook and hang the basket from a pantry shelf or the ceiling. Group onions and garlic in the basket so they’re ready when it’s time to chop and cook!

Add Shelves Inside Cabinet Doors

Take advantage of wasted space inside cabinet doors by installing storage shelves. Door shelves allow you to neatly store small jars, cans, or boxes. Look for durable, adjustable brackets and shelves.

To prevent head bumps, keep bottom shelves at least 5 inches above door knobs. Only store lightweight items to prevent sagging. This storage solution is perfect for small, narrow pantries!

Keep Food Fresh with Airtight Containers

Transfer flour, sugar, and other baking staples to airtight containers. Clear canisters allow you to easily see contents. Locking lids keep food fresh and prevent spills and bugs.

For a cohesive look, opt for matching canisters with chalkboard-style lids to label ingredients. Store containers in a bin for easy access while baking.

Install a Multi-Tier Hanging Rack

Hanging racks are great for small pantries with limited floor space. Look for sturdy metal racks with adjustable shelves to maximize storage.

Use the shelves for lightweight items or baskets. Install hooks on the sides for utensils and bulk snacks. Hanging racks keep items visible and prevent forgotten ingredients from getting lost in the back.

Label Everything Clearly and Concisely

Proper labeling prevents pantry confusion and makes it easy for everyone to find ingredients and return items to their designated homes. Use uniform labels for a streamlined look.

Be concise with labels to avoid wordiness. For example, rather than “Flour for Baking Cookies”, simply label a bin “Flour”. Your categories and shelf organization should make contents obvious.

Store Tall Items on Bottom Shelves

Designate lower shelves for tall or bulky items like boxes of broth, large jars of mayo, and cooking oil. This prevents these items from causing a cluttered appearance on higher shelves.

Higher shelves should contain shorter items, or bins and baskets that corral ingredients neatly. Strategic item placement enhances organization and aesthetics.

Use a Vertical Paper Towel Holder

Save precious pantry space by storing paper towels vertically rather than horizontally. Vertical holders have a small footprint and keep towels neatly stacked as they are used.

Look for holders with a weighted base or non-slip feet to prevent tipping. Install on a pantry door or side wall within easy reach for quick grab-and-go convenience.

Store Cleaning Supplies Separately

Keep cleaning products like sponges, detergent, and cleaning solutions separate from food. Designate a high shelf, outside of children’s reach, or under the sink for storing cleaners neatly.

This prevents cross-contamination and keeps toxic chemicals safely away from edibles. Use shelf dividers or baskets to neatly separate cleaners from food storage areas.

Create “Zones” in a Large Pantry

In a spacious walk-in pantry, create organized zones for delineated storage. For example, designate one area just for canned goods. Have another area just for baking essentials like flour, sugar, and spices.

Post signs or wall decals labeled with each zone name. This makes it easy for the whole family to return ingredients to their proper home zone.

Install Slide-Out Drawers for Deep Cabinets

Deep pantry cabinets and blind corner cabinets can harbor hidden clutter. Install slide-out drawers to access the entire depth of the space. Customize drawer organizers as needed.

Use for cans, small boxes, or cooking tools. Slide-out drawers bring hard-to-reach spaces into view and maximize every inch of available storage.

Add a Swivel-Out Pantry Unit

For super small, narrow spaces like closets, install a swivel-out pantry unit. These units fit flush against the wall but can swivel out 90 degrees for easy access to both sides.

The dual-sided shelves maximize storage in tiny areas. Spin the carousel-style unit to locate ingredients then close flush against the wall to save space when not in use.

FAQ About Organizing a Small Pantry

Organizing a small pantry comes with unique challenges. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

How do I add more storage to my small pantry?

Installing shelving on the inside of cabinet doors, wall-mounted racks, over-the-door hanging racks, and multi-tier shelving units are all great options to add storage without taking up floor space.

What are some good things to store in a small pantry?

Prioritize your most-used ingredients and staples. Good options are spices, oils, canned goods, boxes of pasta/rice, and snacks. Limit storage of bulky items like paper towels, large appliances, and cleaning supplies.

What are the best organizational products for a tiny pantry?

Tiered racks, interlocking bins, over-the-door racks, and slide-out drawers are extremely useful organizational products in small pantries. They optimize vertical and deep cabinet storage.

How can I prevent a cluttered look in a small space?

Using uniform containers and baskets gives a streamlined look. Proper labels and shelf dividers also help delineate categories neatly. Store only essentials and donate unused items. Designate “zones” in larger pantries.

What are easy ways to maximize vertical space?

Installing extra shelving, wall-mounted racks, hanging racks, and stacking bins are great ways to utilize vertical space in a small pantry. Risers elevate shelves to fit more items.


Small pantry organization may seem like a headache but it can easily be managed with some strategic tips and products. Start by taking inventory and donating unused items to declutter. Categorize foods, then designate shelf space for each category.

Utilize vertical space with racks and shelves. Contain ingredients in matching bins and jars for a cohesive look. Slide-out drawers and swivel-out units maximize narrow spaces. Proper labeling and zone designation helps the whole family stay organized.

Implementing even just a few of these small pantry organization ideas can make your life easier by keeping your pantry tidy. With a bit of effort, you can transform a cluttered mess into a functional, efficient, and aesthetically pleasing storage space. A organized pantry saves time, money, and stress in the kitchen!