6 Steps to Tidy Your Pantry in 10 Minutes

updated Sep 4, 2019
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(Image credit: Shawna’s Glamorous Custom Kitchen, photographed by Gina Bianciello for The Kitchn)

Even when we don’t have time for a full cleanup and overhaul of our kitchen storage, the smallest effort can still make the largest difference, especially when it comes to your pantry.

Whether you have a big pantry closet or a single shelf of jars, here are six things to help you pull it into shape tonight. They will only take you 10 minutes, but when you’re done, you’ll be amazed, impressed, and left wondering why you didn’t do them sooner!

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

Claire Cottrell’s Sweet Silver Lake Kitchen

1. Face all the labels out.
It’s hard to be able to tell what you have if you can’t see the labels. Face them all out, stacking like items on top of each other for extra visibility.

2. Group similar items and flavors together.
In my pantry we have a soup section, an Asian section, a Latin American, and so forth. It’s an easy way to hop into your pantry and grab what you need for an entire meal without digging through assorted shelves looking for that last ingredient that seems to be hiding from you!

3. Wipe down the shelves.
It seems like such a basic thought, but when was the last time you did it? Use a damp rag and wipe up the dust and debris that falls so easily in the pantry. There’s usually a light coating of flour (even if that’s not where you keep said flour) and other dust that falls from grains. A clean cabinet is a happy one!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

4. Check expiration dates.
Although most of your canned goods should all still be in date, open packages might not have the same luxury. Check anything with a clip, binder or tie for sure!

5. Make a meal list from your ingredients.
Post-it notes can be used outside of the home office. When straightening your goods, make a quick list of meals that can be made from the supplies in your pantry. That way when you come home half fried from work and take-out is calling your name, all you have to do is open the door and surely there will be something that can be made in a jiff!

6. Re-stack dishware.
If your pantry has your food and dishware sharing spaces, make sure the bowls have been wiped clean from dust, the plates straightened and your cake plate put back in the right spot once and for all. It’s amazing how fast Pyrex can get unruly!

Do you have a quick tidying tip to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below! And if you’re looking for some help in a deeper clean — stay tuned! The Kitchn Cure is coming in October!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

(Images: Gina Biancaniello; Leela Cyd; Sabra Krock; Faith Durand)