14 Instant Fixes for a Total Pantry Makeover

To maintain a functional kitchen, organization is the order of the day. Whether you're blessed with a roomy walk-in pantry or constrained by a couple of cramped cabinets, you need to make the most of your storage space. A pantry that really works lets you easily see and access canned goods, packaged staples, spice jars, and snacks. All too often, though, a pantry becomes merely a jumble of food, storage containers, and condiment jars. Don't despair! With just a few storage solutions, either DIY'd or store-bought, you can transform a pantry of any size into an amazing clutter-free zone. Read on for 14 of our favorite ideas.

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Stack Your Snacks


In the typical pantry, every inch counts. For that reason, your chaotic collection of mismatched food storage containers may not be doing you any favors. Praised by organization experts and design bloggers alike, OXO Good Grips POP containers stand out for a number of reasons, stack-ability chief among them. Every set includes a mix of different sizes and shapes that all stack neatly together so you don’t waste any precious space. Ten-piece set available on Amazon; $99.99.

Related: 8 Organizers You Need for Everyday Clutter

Prep Your Pantry


Labels aren’t a must-have for your pantry, but they do help keep essentials organized and easy to find. Instead of rummaging through the shelves searching for that one ingredient, you’ll be able to spot what you need right away—and spend more time enjoying dinner with your family. Check out these free printables from Lia Griffith and make your own labels today!

Related: 9 Simple DIY Ways to Reinvent Your Kitchen Cabinets

Grab and Go


Over-the-door organizers are small-space heroes! You can double your storage space with this sleek, multitiered rack. If, however, you’re low on cash, try repurposing a shoe organizer instead! The compartments will work just as well to stockpile snacks, spices, cans, and other pantry essentials. Available on Amazon; $45.

Related: 12 Bite-Size Projects to Rescue Your Tiny Kitchen

Baskets of Plenty


Clutter in the pantry makes meal planning a pain: With a mess of bags, boxes, and cans, it’s sometimes hard to see what you have on hand. And while cans are easy enough to stack, what should you do with bags and boxes of dried fruit, spice packets, or chocolate chips? Baskets offer a simple and affordable solution, and if you adhere a label to the front of each one, you’ll always know where you’ve stashed your snacks and supplies.

Related: 13 Unexpected Uses for Baskets

Smart Spice Rack


Spice jars come in all shapes and sizes, and they often get lost floating in a sea of miscellaneous pantry items. Keep those little bottles streamlined and readily available with a stackable spice rack. The sliding drawers are a home cook’s dream, because they make it easy to grab spices and store them quickly and neatly. Plus, the practical box shape means that it will stack conveniently with other pantry items. Available on Amazon; $40.

Hanging Helpers


The pantry is a dangerous place for chips. Not only do the bags often get awkwardly smashed in with other foods, but chip clips can be accidentally knocked off, leaving your tasty treats to turn stale. Follow this blogger’s lead and use clothespins to attach chip bags to small hangers, then suspend them from a shelf rack or curtain rod.

Related: 16 New Ways to Store Kitchen Necessities

Souped-Up Storage


Canned food: What’s not to love? It’s easy to prepare, great as a side dish in a pinch, and stays fresh longer than most grocery store staples. But without proper storage, cans can clutter your pantry or countertop. Bring order to this chaos with a rack that holds 36 cans at a time and features a tiered design that makes it simple to see what you have and what you need to pick up at the store. Available on Amazon; $26.

Related: Spreading Out—14 Ways to Get More Counter Space

Think Inside the Box


So, you squirrel away plastic grocery bags after shopping trips, do you? Well, why wouldn’t you, when you always need a spare bag to tote items around? Don’t let your pantry or cabinets get overrun by these plastic nuisances. Instead, simply stuff them into an emptied-out tissue box. The plastic seal in the box’s top will make it easy to dispense one bag at a time, while the cardboard structure keeps the rest of the bunch compressed and contained until you need them.

Related: 3 Ways to Shrink Your Shopping Bag Mess

Shake Things Up


When your spice collection becomes too large to confine to a crowded drawer, it’s time to look elsewhere for space. Keep all your spices in sight without sacrificing valuable shelf real estate by creating an on-the-door storage unit. The savvy DIYer from The House of Wood created her sneaky spice storage by constructing a box frame, adding shelves, and then affixing dowels on each level to keep jars from falling when the door opens and shuts. Attach yours to the unused back of a pantry door, or follow this blogger’s lead and hang the shallow cabinet on a wall, behind its own door, to serve as the genius kitchen equivalent of a medicine cabinet.

Related: Storage Sanity—15 Ways to Make Your Pantry Functional and Fabulous

Roll Call


Good news—you can keep food storage supplies tidily at your fingertips with a simple, supremely clever wire rack. The tiered design saves precious shelf or drawer space and is big enough to store six rolls of plastic wrap, aluminum foil, sandwich bags, or parchment paper. Available at The Container Store; $4.99.

Mason Jar Magic


Okay, so maybe this isn’t exactly a must-have for an organized pantry, but it certainly makes for a more attractive view. The next time you junk an empty cardboard salt container, salvage the metal spout to DIY a pour top for a mason jar. Use your new pour-spout jar to store a variety of dry ingredients. As a bonus, the container’s clear glass means you’ll know exactly when you’re running low on staples. 

Go for a Spin


In your ongoing quest for an organized pantry, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel—you already have a time-honored prototype. Though you may consider it a relic of a previous generation, the lazy Susan has persisted into the 21st century for a very simple reason: It works! Indeed, what it lacks in glamour it makes up for in no-frills utility. Got a shelf or cabinet so deep that it’s a hassle to access items way in the back? Let the OXO Good Grips Turntable bring them front and center. Available on Amazon; $16.99.

Soda Box Storage


Canned foods have a tendency to get lost on the back shelf or roll into the dark recesses of a cabinet. One resourceful blogger discovered a better way to store these pantry necessities: Repurpose old soda boxes into inexpensive storage solutions. Not only are they the just-right size for housing your soups, tomato sauces, and more, but the boxes can be easily labeled, stacked, and organized. 

Related: 17 Creative Ways to Reuse Cardboard Boxes

Label Love

etsy.com via BradensGrace

Take your pantry organization to the next level by affixing labels to your bins and baskets. Being able to quickly identify the contents of each container will make everyday cooking and meal planning so much simpler. Try erasable chalkboard versions that will let you swiftly update the labels whenever you reorganize. Available on Etsy; $6.

Related: 10 DIY Labels for Better Home Organization