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The Day I Lost It Over My Disorganized Pantry and How I Fixed It!

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Pantry Organization Ideas – Do you have trouble organizing your pantry and keeping it clean? We are sharing pantry organization ideas. One of my biggest challenges with my home organization is keeping my kitchen pantry clean and organized. Cleaning and organizing the pantry is a priority to improve its functionality. 

First off, I must admit this kitchen pantry is the bane of my existence for several reasons. It’s small, tall, and deep. Anyone who cooks, and has kids knows that within a few days, or hours it’s going to be like a bomb went off in it. I really have tried several things to fix it, and keep the pantry organized, here are my tips.

Pantry Organization Ideas


I know there are many great products out there but, there are also a few other problems. Not all pantry storage is built the same. The home builders typically don’t build the shelving adjustable, which is pretty standard. When ordering products you need to make sure the shelves are tall enough to fit a lot of the great organizing products available. It’s best to measure the height, width, and length of shelving space. 

My problem is with the exception of one or two shelves they are just too short for many storage products. The exception is one being on the bottom, which if you need something all the time, is really a pain. Why? I’m not partial to getting down on the floor every time I need something. 

I am sharing budget-friendly tips for organizing your pantry, and some must-have pantry storage. Let’s get started. 

Has your pantry ever been this disorganized?

Here’s how, and why I totally lost it one day. Sammie and I had decided we needed to stock up on school snacks, and other staples. So we headed 45 minutes away to our local Costco store. We power shopped, try to avoid the “fun stuff,” and got straight to the point. Filled the cart up with what we needed. Headed back home to get it put away, and have dinner. 

Yes, I probably should have cleaned the pantry before. But, here’s the deal. I cleaned the fridge and just didn’t. Do you clean your pantry every time you go to the grocery store? If you do I’ve given you a gold star. Cause, to be honest, I hate cleaning mine, and probably only do it when I have to. Like this day. 

This is real life, no pretty staged fun to look at photos just, a real disorganized pantry, that gets some big help. I can’t wait for the day we rebuild the pantry but, until then….. I’m sharing my tips for organizing and cleaning the pantry

How to Organize a Kitchen Pantry

disorganized pantry in the kitchen

What broke me is when I put boxes on top of the fridge, and the kitchen island (that we built). Plus a bag on the floor. It was too late that night to deal with it. I knew this project would be one of many hours. I hate disorganization, and this was it at its finest. Have you been there before? 

I still have to grab a few pantry organization items still to make things right, even after doing this. But, here is how to clean your pantry if you don’t have all the supplies you need, or are on a budget. Of course, I’ll recommend a few supplies that I am ordering, or my daughters have to make their kitchen life easier. 

pantry staples on the kitchen island for organizing

  1. The nitty gritty is that you have to clean it.
  2. You have to toss the expired items  (check the expiration dates on the packages and cans) and then put everything back FIFO.

What’s FIFO?

First in, first in/first out rotation. It is a food safety term used in restaurants that are for keeping food products safe. 

These were only the items from probably one shelf, that table was full by the end. 

How to clean out your pantry

  1. Empty that whole pantry out! (Yes, it’s a pain. Give yourself plenty of time and grab help if you can.)
  2. Check dates on cans, bags, and packages of food products
  3. Toss expired product (s)
  4. Circle expiring soon with a black tip marker, and set to go back in last
  5. Recycle anything that can be (How? By dumping products, and putting recycle into the recycle can)
  6. Set like items by each other. (You want to put them on the same shelf)
  7. Clean shelving
  8. Restock- (Newest to the back, unless you need it now. And the oldest product to the front to be used first)

Empty Pantry ready to be cleaned

I like to clean mine with Clorox Wipes and let it air dry. One of these days I will reline my shelving paper. Ha, ha, what a throwback to the house we are fixing up. I need to clean the front of my fridge too. Um, ya saving that for another day. 

How To Organize Your Kitchen Pantry

Tips for Organizing Your Pantry #pantry #homeorganization #springcleaning DearCreatives.com

  1. Put like items together.
    Example: Put snacks on one shelf, canned goods on a shelf, baking goods on a shelf…
  2. Put open packages together.
  3. Get space-saving shelf stackers.
  4. Use boxes and plastic storage containers. 

More Pantry Organization Ideas! 

Budget-friendly things you can do when organizing a pantry 

  • Use the big snack box of chips or cookies as storage by cutting the top, and part of the sides down. This makes for easy to grab, and go. Store these on the bottom shelves.
  • Use storage containers that lost lids for storing snack items –  such as; open snack packages or grab-and-go items. Use small chip clips, or large chip clips and take items out of the box, and add them to a storage container.
  • Do invest in space-saving shelving to create more space
  • Pantry Stackable can storage would top my list if my cabinet shelves were high enough. Use a small storage rack for cans or a larger can rack if stocking up at big box stores. Measure your shelf spacing before you buy. There are several sizes. 
  • Pickle Jar for cupcake liners, candles, and toppers. This looks pretty and is what I store mine in. 
  • I loved these stylish storage containers for coffee, granola, and pasta. You can see them close up in this post
  • Use a lazy susan for spices or canned products
  • Use cookie storage containers with tall sides for storage. I used mine to store my big vanilla jars and a few other baking products.

Of course, I want to get more storage containers, like this full pantry storage set that is air-tight, and more space-saving shelving. I’ll keep you posted on when we update with more space-saving storage or start on our pantry remodel. 

Get a Can Good Organizer

Simple Houseware Stackable Can Rack Organizer 17''W x 11.5''D x

Restocking the kitchen pantry after cleaning the shelving DearCreatives.com

Tips for putting your items back into the pantry

  • Remember to use FIFO – food safety standards
  • Decide what items you use the most, and put those items on the shelves at eye level
  • I read that having snacks on a shelf lower down reduces your impulse to grab and eat them so we put snacks on our lower shelves 
  • On the far back bottom shelf I have our Earthquake – emergency foods, water is kept in the garage (Use FIFO with these products too)
  • Don’t be afraid to switch things up if it’s not working 

Putting food items back onto shelving DearCreatives.com

I ended up swapping out shelving to suit how we use specific items. Baking season is slowing, its supplies went higher. Big box snacks on the bottom with bottled beverages. I also grabbed woven baskets and a few plastic baskets.

Get pantry organization supplies at Target. That’s a great place to check for things you need and budget-friendly items.

Cleaned pantry that is restocked

Does my pantry still look like this? For the most part. But, I added those small baskets I picked up at Target. I also had enough room for my napkin holder. I’m waiting on my other order, to make things even more efficient. Remodeling our kitchen pantry is one of my top easy DIY improvement projects that need to be done in our home.

Before/After Cleaning and Organizing the Pantry

The day I lost it over my disorganized pantry, and how I fixed it! Budget friendly tips, and ideas for pantry storage and organization. #diy #pantry #homeorganization DearCreatives.com #springcleaning

Other affordable options if you have the space are purchasing pantry kitchen shelving. Here are a few budget-friendly options.

What parts of your house are you organizing? What are your biggest challenges when it comes to organizing your home?

I hope these Pantry organization ideas help you to tackle your kitchen pantry and make it more organized and functional. 

New here? 

Looking for more tips, and ideas for cleaning, and organizing? 

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