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How to organize a pantry

Staying on top of grocery shopping can be a difficult task, especially when you have a disorganized or dysfunctional pantry. Today, I’m sharing my tips for how to organize a pantry and my pantry makeover.How to organize a pantry 5 easy steps!

How to organize a pantry in 5 easy steps

Today I’m going to show you how to organize a pantry. I’ve done several pantry makeovers now and you know I love a good DIY project more than most. Nothing makes me more giddy than when a great DIY project meets pretty, functional organization! I have finally nailed down a full proof method on how to organize a pantry. My recent pantry makeover has seriously made me SO happy! I am loving it all and it functions approximately one million times better than before.

How to organize a pantry BEFORE shot

Here’s how it looked when we found the house for rent online. This was before we moved in, as in, this is not our food nor do I have any pets so this photo basically just shows you the size and boringness that I was working with. When I moved in, we had a small white room with white shelves, totally normal for most homes. First, let me just say that I’m beYOND excited to actually have a pantry but it needed a major pantry makeover. I haven’t had one in 5 years in the last 2 homes we’ve had so this pantry is Heaven on Earth for me!

Pantry Organization Ideas

Step 1: Paint and or decorate

Empty EVERYTHING out of your pantry. EVERYTHING. You want to start with a clean slate! I prefer white shelving and walls freshly painted and if you choose, paint a color on the walls. My home was a rental so I left all of the walls and shelves white and decided on a removable vinyl accent wall. I started by adding the mint green flower wall decals. You can get them on my mother-in-law’s Etsy shop or learn how to make your own here. They have been a favorite ever since I did my bathroom makeover (here). Man, I miss that little house!

Anyway, I started by applying the decals the same way as I did in this post. I cut them with my Silhouette CAMEO and Mint vinyl and applied it to the plain white wall. I chose Mint because it looks fresh and clean. Both must-haves for my pantry makeover!

How to organize a pantry  - top shelf

Step 2: Sorta everything

Second, you’ll need to sorta all of the food you have and anything you plan to store in your pantry. I clear off my kitchen counters and sort everything into groups with like items. This will determine which bars, bins, containers you need.

My main food that is stored in the pantry included:

  • Baking items and ingredients (stored in glass jars) – This included flour, sugar, cake flour, oats, etc.)
  • Larger groups of packaged food (same larger sized bins)
    • Chips
    • Snacks
    • Mac & Cheese
    • Bread/Tortillas
  • Smaller groups of packaged food (same medium sized bins)
    • Ramen
    • Grains
    • Pasta
    • Smaller baking items (chocolate chips, nuts, etc.)
  • Smaller groups (bottles and jars)
    • Oils and Sprays
    • Condiments
    • drink mixes
    • Instant oatmeal
    • graham crackers
    • brown sugar *because these containers are airtight*

Step 3: Gather/Purchase bins and containers

  • Cereal and Snacks – we rotate our cereal and snacks a lot and since these are clear, I chose not to label them. The skinny containers are from Ikea and the wider containers are Better Homes and Gardens collection from Wal-Mart and my glass jars are from Wal-Mart.

Having bins and jars that fit your space is a huge factor to keeping an organized pantry. Clear or open tops are my favorite so you can see what is inside. I love that I always know what I need to add to my grocery list just by a quick peek at what looks like it’s running low. This also helps when I’m making my weekly shopping list.

Pantry Jars and Labels

Step 4: Label all the things

Next up, labels! Labels are the biggest contributor to keeping a pantry organized. If you don’t label your jars and bins, you have no idea what is in them and even if you can remember, more than likely your family will not. Because of the labels, my kids and my husband know where everything goes and it makes packing lunches, prepping meals and putting groceries away a breeze.

Bin Labels

Bins in the pantry

Labeled Bins in the pantry

Step 5: Store other items

I keep all of my glassware that isn’t in our regular rotation or used often up on the top shelf in the pantry. I love having it on display in the pantry but also tucked away where it should be.

Glassware storage in pantry

How to organize a pantry easily

I still have a couple things I want to do in here (like build canned food storage but it’s super functional now and I love it! Everything is so accessible and we’ve been using it for a few weeks after the organization and I’m thrilled to report that it has stayed 100% organized! Absolutely shocking! I’m in love with this tiny little room!

If you are ready to tackle your pantry, check out:

How to organize your pantry

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  1. LOVE this! My pantry is in desperate need of a makeover and I love so many of your ideas here. I was wondering if you would show me what’s on the other wall. Looks like you have a bunch of clear plastic bins to organize things over there. I’d love to see the complete pantry. Thank you so much!

  2. Pantry looks gorgeous, Ladies! What I love the most is the vinyl wallpaper. The floral pattern is beautiful and the color is very chic. I have to do a makeover for my pantry too, but with two kids and so much errands on my plate I cannot find the time. But I will buy some jars and labels for sure!

  3. I couldn’t help but wave in here when I saw your picture with the Kitchen aid mixer placed on the top shelf in the pantry. NO do not put this heavy mixer on the top shelf, due to it’s weight making it hard to get down for most women. If you can’t have a place to put it in a special area on a cabinet, then place where lifting this mixer is easy on the back.

    1. Hi JoAnne! Thanks for your concern but I get it down weekly without any issues. It’s not to heavy for me to lift safely. It’s more of a hazard on a lower shelf where any of my 4 children could attempt to pull it down. Appreciate your concern! Thanks! Have a great day!!! 🙂

  4. I absolutely love your style and your organization! I recently bought bins from ikea to organize my pantry! I was wondering what font you used on your vinyl labels. Also, what do transfer paper/tape brand did you use? I am trying to find the perfect one for my cameo projects 🙂

  5. Do you know the name of the white bins (and maybe the dimensions) you purchased from Ikea? I would love to order some. Thank you!

  6. Hi,
    Loving your pantry.
    Do you mind telling me the name of the bins that’s holding the sand which stuff and pop tarts? Having a hard time finding them on the ikea website.

    Thank you so much.

  7. Hello, I was just wondering how many sheets of flowers did you buy for your pantry makeover?

    Thank you,


  8. It will not let link me to see where the items where purchased…. It’s just going back to your home page. Sorry I don’t know what else to do because I’ve tried several of them…(all the containers and jars…) I have always loved your blog…
    Thanks so much…. Sandra

  9. I absolutely love all of it!!! Just out of curiosity, what do you do for lighting? Are the “after” pictures crazy bright just for shooting the photos, or is it always that bright in there? I’m so tired of my super dark closet-turned-pantry! Looking for lighting ideas now!

  10. I love this pantry! We’re currently remodeling our laundry room (right off our kitchen) into a pantry for me (I’m SO excited!) and my husband keeps asking me what I want it to look like. This is almost exactly what I have in my head. These pictures will help us both to visualize and make my pantry dream come true! Thank you!

  11. What are the dimensions of the white bins if you don’t mind? Looks like you have 2 sizes here and I would love to see if I can find similar ones

  12. Hi, I would love to know own the dimensions of your shelves. How much space between each shelf? I have wire shelves now and want to put in wood ones. And seeing how all your bins fit and mine wasted so much space! I would greatly appreciate it!

  13. So pretty!!!! I am going to do this asap!!! It’s a little ridiculous how excited I am to organize my pantry!!! This may be asking a lot but can you give a list of the labels you used? I would really appreciate it!

  14. A Kitchen Aid mixer on a top shelf above your head? Really? Canned goods are a big problem, but you haven’t addressed that? Wait until you are finished with that, and then tell us about your success, so we can share that part of it too.

    1. Hi! Yes, i found a great solution using lazy Susans from Ikea. I moved before I was able to photograph it. I’ll be sharing my new pantry soon using the same technique. Yes, I kept my KitchenAid up higher in my last home so my kiddos couldn’t pull it off of a low shelf or counter. I used a step ladder to get it down but I only use it about once a month so it wasn’t an issue to get it down carefully. Thanks for stopping by!

  15. I just redid my pantry from your inspiration and others – THANK YOU. I wish I could post a pic. It looks amazing! For all the others looking for them: The bins with kids from Ikea are the Tillsluta series. The bigger bins from ikea are called Pluggis! The glass jars are Anchor Hocking 1 gallon jars (I go T them at Target because Walmart was out!) :).

  16. Your blog is pretty amazing!!!! I just found it and I already want to start doing a bunch of stuff around my house!!! Thanks for sharing all this, it is pretty inspiring

  17. I really liked reading this blog post! 🙂 It’s definitely inspired me further, and also reassured me that I’m doing things right in my pantry! 🙂

  18. Two questions! Do you find the glass jars are okay without a rubber seal? And did you go with 1 or 2 gallon glass jars? I love it, but such an investment I want to be sure on my sizing for my basics. (Sugars, Rice’s, flour, oatmeal)

  19. I LOVE THIS!!! I have been pinning over this article for a week now and am excited to get started! Can someone please sweetly tell me the dimensions of the bins n the Tillsluta series? There is a lot to choose from and the nearest IKEA is 2 hours away in D.C. so will have to have them shipped. Not sure how they handle returns so I want to order correctly. Thanks so much! ?

  20. Love this! I see that the “chips” type of bin is from Ikea but where did you get the smaller bins for baking, etc?

  21. I love this organized pantry! I was wondering where you got the smaller bins like the one labeled “baking” and the even smaller ones like the one labeled “sandwich stuff.” I see that the big ones are from Ikea.

  22. Wow this looks just like my pantry! the before at least. I am motivated to get it organized now too. I am also wondering where you got the Baking size/sandwich size containers from?

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