Storage Sanity: 15 Ways to Make Your Pantry Perfect

If the kitchen is the center of the home, the pantry is the center of the kitchen. Having an organized pantry makes everything that happens in the kitchen easier. There are so many ways to make the most of your pantry space, and there are baskets, bins, drawers, and containers of every type. But in your quest for order, don’t forget about decor. A pantry can and should be both practical and pretty. Don’t be afraid to let your style shine bright from behind the cereal boxes. Feel free to paint and label to your heart’s content—even hang a fabulous lighting fixture. Before you unleash the full force of your creativity, however, use our favorite pantry organization tips to help you design the pantry of your dreams.

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  1. Pegboard


    Pegboard has long been a popular storage option in kitchens. It's also great in the pantry—use it to cover an empty wall opposite shelving to collect pots, pans, colanders, and other utensils. Paint it to match your decor, and for even more fun, go the extra step of outlining items in a coordinating paint pen to make a funky, artistic, and highly organized statement.

    Related: 5 Things to Do with... Pegboard

    A Beautiful Mess

  2. Mason Jars


    Mason jars are a practical and beautiful way to help organize foodstuffs. Sold for around $10 to $15 a case, they come in sizes appropriate for everything from pasta to dried herbs. Use them to store your snacks, dried beans, rice, and pretty much everything else. You’ll be able to see exactly what you have, and the display of colors and textures will be pleasing to the eye.


  3. Baskets


    Baskets are a go-to storage solution for just about anywhere in the house. In the pantry, they are a great way to keep small items organized. Stash all your teas into one, seasoning envelopes into another. Loose bags of snacks start to get jumbled in a pantry by the time they are halfway gone, but gathered together in a basket, they stay neat and easily accessible.

  4. Wall-Mounted Spice Rack


    Small jars, like the ones used for herbs and spices, are difficult to store in a pantry without wasting a lot of valuable space. Mount a sheet of stainless steel to the wall and glue magnets to the lids of small jars that you can fill from larger containers and then label. The jars' uniformity and ease of organization makes a pretty display and brings calm to the chaos.

    Related: 5 DIY Spice Racks

  5. Under-Shelf Storage


    Slide an under-shelf basket—or several—onto your existing pantry shelf, and you add another layer of storage. Use one to hold your foil and plastic wraps, and keep them from getting lost in the shuffle. Storing bread in one will protect it from getting squashed. Under-shelf baskets are also great for keeping small items collected neatly.

    Related: Weekend Projects—5 Creative Ways to Build Shelves

  6. Use Your Vertical Space


    Use every inch of space you’ve got—all the way to the ceiling. Seasonal and less frequently used items are fine to store up high and out of reach. Or take the opportunity to display a collection of serving pieces that might otherwise stay closed up in a cabinet. Top shelves are also good storage for your backup stash of cleaning supplies or bulk items like paper towels.

    Related: 11 Reasons Metal Shelving Isn't Just for Your Garage

  7. Vertical Storage for Pans and Cutting Boards


    Large, flat items are easier to access and take up much less space when they are stored on their sides rather than stacked on top of each other. Use small spring rods to make dividers between your shelves. They are super simple to install and just as easy to remove if you decide to use the space differently later.

    Related: Recipe for Success—10 Easy Kitchen Storage Hacks

  8. Chalkboard Labels


    Labeling is key to organizing anything, including a pantry. Use chalkboard labels for containers that hold foodstuffs that can be frequently switched out like flours, cereals, and pastas. Buy labels or, if you have chalkboard paint, mask your containers with painter’s tape and paint the labels on. Chalkboard markers are a great alternative to old-school chalk for quick and clean writing.

    Related: 10 Reasons to Go Crazy for Chalkboard Paint


  9. Organize Your Cans


    Canned goods come in many sizes and can be troublesome to stack and keep visible in large quantities. For about $5 apiece, you can DIY some great storage for all your canned goods. Customize your storage with paint and labels to match the rest of your pantry decor.

  10. Stair-Step Shelf


    Stair-step storage can help you maximize space on a deep shelf. The arrangement gives items in the back a boost to make them more easily visible. You can purchase a shelf or you can create one yourself by stacking boards of varying widths on top of each other. Stack a 2x4 on top of a 2x6, and you suddenly have three levels to store items on, making everything more accessible.

    Related: 10 Surprisingly Smart Solutions for Junk Drawers

  11. Adjustable Shelving


    If you’re adding new shelving, installing an adjustable system will give you flexibility to vary and change the heights of your storage areas. You’ll also be able to use every inch of space that you have.

    Related: Bob Vila Radio—Hanging Shelves

  12. Drawers


    You can get a lot of things into a small space with the use of drawers. All items are within easy reach when you can just slide them forward. Whether you need only one or two drawers or a whole stack, there are styles to fit every design. Wire works well for items that need air circulation, such as potatoes and onions, and baskets keep things looking neat and pretty.

  13. Decorate!


    The ultimate pantry must be practical and functional, but it can still be pretty! Don’t hesitate to paint the walls a cheery color or cover them in a boldly printed paper. Sure, even hang a chandelier. Why not? The effort won't be wasted. Think about the number of times you open the pantry door each day. Between your well-organized supplies and your attractively appointed pantry, your time spent preparing meals will be much happier.

    Related: My Favorite Room in the House—The Walk-In Pantry

  14. Square Containers


    Consider your containers carefully when you're organizing dry goods. Square containers are more space efficient than round ones. Use containers with the same-size footprint so it's easy to stack them on top of one another to make the most effective use of your vertical space.

  15. Pantry Pocket Organizer


    Hang a colorful shoe organizer on the back of your pantry door to capitalize on that underutilized space. It’s a perfect place to put spices, seasoning envelopes, or bags of beans and rice. Label each pocket with letter-stamped clothespins, and you'll have the flexibility to change where things live on a whim. So smart and fun!

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