Do you have a pantry that needs some help? Do you avoid going in your pantry at all costs until you have no choice? Do you often lose items in the “abyss,” or possibly have some items that (*cringe*) may have expired some time ago?
If you’re looking for creative ways to not only make your space LOOK good, but also functional beyond your wildest imagination, look no further – we’ve compiled a list of 13 of the most creative pantry organization ideas to design, organize and freshen up your space.
It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount of work that you think you may face. But with these ideas, it can be very simple, and you might even have fun!
Plus (BONUS) this can be a great way for your family to work on a project together. So, start by cleaning out the old or expired items, take inventory of what you have (and maybe what you know you need), then check out the list below and get started.
#1: Lazy Susan
Source: Everyday Home Blog
Some sources say that Thomas Jefferson invented the Lazy Susan, and named it after his daughter. Who knew that a lazy daughter could inspire such an incredibly creative and useful tool!
Whether you have that funky corner where your shelves meet inside your kitchen pantry, or you have long and wide shelves, Lazy Susans can be a great space saver in your pantry. They are pretty inexpensive to purchase, or if you’re up for a bit of a challenge, build your own.
Either way, install them and never worry about those boxes or bottles getting lost in the far corners of your pantry again.
#2: Upcycle Plastic Containers
Source: Home Talk
Do you buy any items on a regular basis that come in the same plastic container each time? Most of us do, but don’t throw them out once the contents are gone!
Take these empty containers, spruce them up with a little spray paint, and voila! Super cute, functional containers to help hold just about anything.
Think creatively – do you have leftover coffee canisters, condiment bottles, baby wipe containers, baby food jars even? Instead of trashing them, upcycle them.
Almost any plastic container can be upcycled. If you are concerned about running it through the dishwasher or even handwashing it too many times, use it for plastic ware or spice packets so that you don’t have to worry about washing out the container.
#3: Labels to the Rescue
Source: The Creativity Exchange
Labels will help you keep track of everything in your pantry, from sugar to quinoa to pasta to oatmeal. You can make these REALLY personalized by finding a cute picture or image as your background. Do you love coffee cups? Or ladybugs? Or polka dots? Use that!
And if you have a printer, you can print them right at home, then use a thick marker to write on your labels. Or, you can purchase blank sticker labels from your local craft store (chalkboard or plain colors, then use a chalkboard pen or a sharpie).
You can use the label on a box for things you buy regularly (cereal, crackers, etc.) – just cut it out and tape it or glue it to your container. You can even have your kids help create and attach the labels – fun family project!
#4: Command Center
Source: Mom Endeavors
Utilize what could be considered “dead space” – the door itself! Perfect location, and you have a large amount of room to work with to really make this your own.
Attach a cork board or a thin file folder to keep track of important notes or photos, and a dry erase calendar so that everyone knows what’s going on. You could paint just a section of the door (just use painters tape to create a square and paint inside it) and even frame the section if you like, or just paint the entire door with chalkboard paint.
Use chalk or chalkboard markers to draw out your monthly or weekly menu. Added BONUS – you’re likely to hear “Mom, what’s for dinner?” much less. 😉
This is a SUPER easy way to transform and maximize the entire space for not much money at all. It looks pretty AND you could give your kids their own space to draw and be creative while you’re in the kitchen. Win-win!
#5: Store Your Pans Vertically in a Basket
Source: I Am Baker
So much space is wasted when you have to stack pans flat on their back. They never fit on top of each other just right, they take up at least half the shelf, and it ALWAYS seems the one you need is ALWAYS on the very bottom.
No more clanging around and jerking until the pan you need comes loose! Use a basket that is at least wide enough to hold your largest pan, and then stack them all in. They’ll be easy to get to, and easy for those “little helper” hands to put away for you too.
#6: Use a Magazine Holder to Store Spaghetti
Source: Mom With a Prep
A magazine rack on its side can hold quite a few packages of spaghetti (and even some other types of pasta too). They come in all kinds of colors and materials (metal wire, plastic, heavy duty cardboard, etc.), OR you can even make one with a box at home.
You can use a magazine holder you already have as a template and draw before you cut your box, or feel free to just wing it based on the size/quantity of your packages of pasta. Once you cut a box (or a few) down, you can spray paint it, cover it with pretty paper, or even fabric and DONE!
And don’t limit these to just pasta – you can store just about anything in these.
#7: Store Cupcake Liners in a Mason Jar
Source: Table For Two
Mason jars have so MANY uses, and this is one of our favorites. If you tend to use a lot of cupcake liners for various treats, you know that those suckers take up a lot of space – especially if you like to use different colors and patterns for each project (there are so many cute ones out there these days, right?!).
You don’t want to throw away the few that are left from each container, but they take up SO much space. Storing them in a mason jar is a perfect solution – you can fit WAY more in there than you might think you can, and since it’s clear, it’s easy to glance quickly at your stash and see what you have/need.
If you don’t have a mason jar, you could even think about using a plastic canister that you’ve used the contents out of (like grated parmesan cheese, for example). And while you’re at it, use those tall clear containers or mason jars for other baking essentials, like chocolate chips, marshmallows, or raisins.
#8: Use a Shoe Organizer for Snacks
Source: Money Saving Queen
If you aren’t using one of these today, drop everything and go get one or at least add it to your list for the next trip to the store – they are awesome! You can store a ton of things in here, right on the inside of your pantry door.
Think kid-friendly food that’s easy for your little ones to get to (which keeps them OUT of the inside of the pantry). You can also store those odds and ends that don’t seem to fit anywhere else (seasoning packets, random candy bars, straws, toothpicks, etc.).
If you have children that like to help, put items that they are allowed to grab for you in the lower pouches. For example, if you have one set the table, maybe place the napkins in the lower pockets so they can get to it when it’s time to set the table.
#9: Under-Shelf Baskets
Source: Better Homes and Gardens
It’s pretty much a no brainer to store items ON your pantry shelves, right? But how many of us utilize the space directly UNDER our shelves?
Use a wire basket designed to slide onto your shelf and hang down to store bread or other baked goods, or really anything that makes sense. How about oatmeal packets or bags of chips? This is a great way to make sure you are using EVERY square inch of space available.
#10: Use Laundry Totes or Baskets
Source: Do It On a Dime
Laundry baskets, totes, and buckets come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and could be a great tool for your pantry. You can use them for everything you need to hold, or just use them here and there throughout the pantry.
Even if you don’t use them on all your shelves, think about using them on the very bottom shelves. You can put items in there that are for the kids (after school snacks, lunchbox goodies, etc); and even have them help stock it and keep it clean.
#11: Creative Spice Racks
Spices can take up A LOT of room in your pantry, especially if you have many different size bottles or containers. This one could easily seem like a mountain that’s impossible to climb! It doesn’t have to be though.
Start by going through your stash and determine what’s out of date – if it’s expired, throw it out. If it’s not but you know you won’t use it, give it away or find someone who can use it (don’t hang on to things you won’t use).
If it’s before the expiration date and you know you will use it, find a creative way to stack them – like a vintage milk bottle or coca-cola crate. You can anchor it into the pantry shelf directly, or hang it on the wall inside your pantry.
TIP: This will work best if your containers are the same size. If you can, use mason-style jars (you can find them online in an assortment of shapes and sizes these days) or upcycle baby food jars.
If you don’t like the idea of a vintage crate for storage or that’s just not your thing, you can still stack them easily on a shelf or in a basket (lay it on its side to make it easier to see) in your pantry.
#12: Stackable Canned Food Organizers
Cans often take up a lot of unnecessary space in your pantry. And maybe you sometimes stack them so tightly that you can’t see what you have. Who wants to move cans over one-by-one to get to the far corner, only to find out it’s not the one you need?!
These DIY customizable shelves can be built to size, (meaning they’ll fit on YOUR shelf perfectly). They can stack on top of one another if needed for those super tall shelves, AND they are designed to rotate your oldest cans to the front. You can even build them with some extra space on top to hold those “one-off” cans that you don’t use every day.
#13: Laundry Bag for Produce
Keep produce like potatoes, onions, garlic, or even apples off your pantry shelves by using a mesh laundry bag. This allows your produce to “breathe”, and also lets you see exactly how much you have so that you know when it’s time to stock up.
While there is no “one size fits all” pantry solution, there are a TON of pantry organization tips and ideas available to solve the dilemma of an over-crowded, under-organized pantry problem. And many, many of them are not hard at all – with just a little creativity, and in some cases just a bit of leg work, the pantry of your dreams can become a reality.
While this list is not exhaustive, it certainly has our wheels turning! We hope you’ve been inspired to clean out, organize and take control of your pantry. Which idea do you think is the best? Let us know and share your favorite!