The Best Pantry Organizing Tips We Learned in 2017

updated Jun 4, 2019
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(Image credit: Diana Liang)

A pantry — of either the walk-in or the reach-in variety — can be tricky. While it’s certainly nice to have, if it’s organized poorly, it can cost you some unnecessary money in groceries or become a bone of contention for you. That’s why we wrote about pantries and pantry organizing tips this year.

Here are some of the best lessons we learned.

(Image credit: Emily Billings)

1. Shallow shelves are a great idea.

With shallow shelves, nothing can hide behind anything else. You can see everything at a glance and this will save you time (no hunting for ingredients you could have sworn you had) and money (no buying things you didn’t actually need).

(Image credit: Shutterstock/Design: Susanna Hopler)

2. You should adjust the height between shelves.

We talk a lot about using bins, organizers, and plenty of labels to keep order in a pantry. And while those are great helpers, you also might need to take a look at the shelves themselves — specifically the depth and placement of each one. So says Scott Davis, vice president of product development and marketing at Closetmaid, a storage system manufacturer.

(Image credit: Diana Liang)

3. There’s a science to the top shelf of any pantry.

Don’t just throw stuff up there at random. Use the space intelligently and you’ll actually, you know, use it instead of letting it become a black hole.

4. The back of the door makes for great storage.

Pantry doors are actually prime real estate for bonus storage. You can hang stuff or add shallow shelves on the inside of your pantry without having to worry about them hitting the shelves inside. Whether you have a giant walk-in pantry, a little reach-in one, or more of a cabinet situation, these ideas will work for you.

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

5. There’s plenty to learn from pantries on Pinterest.

It’s easy to dismiss Pinterest as total eye candy. But look with a closer eye and you can actually learn a few things from the beautiful photos. We uncovered some of the most popularly pinned pantries and called out some real lessons for each.

More Pantries and Pinterest

6. Even unattainable pantries can teach you something.

Again, a pantry doesn’t necessarily have to be attainable in order to give you some good ideas. Just look at these ideas from these great over-the-top pantries.

5 Pantries with Valuable Lessons

7. Even a small pantry can still be useful.

Maybe you don’t have the pantry of your dreams (read: a walk-in one with counter space and shelves galore)? Maybe you have a little reach-in pantry or you just have a cabinet dedicated to storing ingredients? Hey, either of those options is actually better than nothing!

Make it work: 8 Smart Storage Ideas for Teeny-Tiny Pantries

8. There are plenty of hacks to make a pantry more useful.

Put hooks wherever you can. Attach wheels to crates so you can roll them in and out of the pantry. Use tension rods to store baking sheets and platters. There are so many easy hacks that’ll make a pantry infinitely more useful.

16 Pantry Organizing Hacks

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9. Plus, some secrets for keeping it organized.

For starters, you’re going to need some labels. We rounded up our favorite options that you can download for free. And then we put some more advice in one post.

Keep Your Pantry Organized