Do you have trouble organizing your pantry, and keeping it clean? My pantry is one of my top easy DIY improvement projects that needs to be done in our home. But until then cleaning, and organizing is a priority to improve it’s functionality. I am sharing budget friendly tips for organizing your pantry, and some must have pantry storage.
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’s are my tips.
How to Organize a Kitchen Pantry
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 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, this is really a pain. Why? I’m not partial to getting down on the floor every time I need something.
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 of 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 giving you a gold star. Cause, to be honest, I hate cleaning mine, and probably only do it when I have too. 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.
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 it’s 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.
The nitty gritty is that you have to clean it. You have to toss the expired items, and then put everything back FIFO. What’s FIFO? First in, first in / first out rotation. This was only the items from probably one shelf, that table was full by the end.
How to clean out your pantry
- Empty that whole pantry out! (yes, it’s a pain give yourself plenty of time, and grab help if you can)
- Check dates on cans, bags, and packages
- Toss expired product
- Circle expiring soon with a black tip marker, and set to go back in last
- Recycle anything that can be (How? By dumping product, and putting recycle into the recycle can)
- Set like items by each other. (You want to put them on the same shelf)
- Clean shelving
- Restock- (Newest to the back, unless you need it now. And oldest product to the front to be used first)
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 throw back 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 pantry
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 grab, and go. Store these on bottom shelves.
- Use storage containers that lost lids for storing like 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, add them to storage container.
- Do invest in space saving shelving to create more space
- Pantry Stackable can storage this would top my list if my cabinet shelves were high enough.Use a small storage rack for cans or 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 closeup 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 to when we update with more space saving storage, or start on our pantry remodel.
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 lower down, reduces you impulse to grab, and eat them so we put snacks on our lower shelves
- In 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
I ended up swapping out shelving to suit how we use specific items. Baking season is slowing, it’s supplies went higher. Big box snacks on the bottom with bottled beverages. I also grabbed woven baskets, and a few plastic baskets at the dollar section at Target for organizing. That’s a great place to check for budget friendly items.
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.
Before / After Cleaning, and Organizing
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?
Looking for more tips, and ideas for cleaning, and organizing?
Home organization posts
- Free Spring Cleaning Checklist (plus tips)
- Free Fall Cleaning Checklist (plus tips, hate deep cleaning? this will help keep you on track anytime of year)
- Be Your Own Super Hero Home Organizing Tips Series + *pantry
- Must Have Easy DIY Closet Organizing Tips Tools And Tricks
- Craft Room Organization Storage Ideas Tips And Tools
- Craft Room Storage DIY
- 25 Craft Room Organization Ideas
- Pantry Storage + Pantry Storage Tips