Here are ten easy ideas to give your pantry a more organized makeover without tearing out shelves or doing major renovations.
Having an organized pantry is so much more than just aesthetics. When your food is stored neatly, you have less food waste, shop for groceries more intentionally, and save time when prepping meals. But a lot of times, we hold ourselves back from organizing the pantry because it’s in need of a renovation.
We think “I’ll wait until we can extend that wall” or “I’ll organize it after we replace the shelves.” But all that waiting is holding you back and costing you money. So here are ten easy ways to upgrade your pantry that you can do right now to make it more organized without any renovations at all.
10 Ways To Improve Your Pantry
1. Add Pretty Labels
Sure, labels serve a very necessary purpose, but they can also instantly improve the look and feel of a pantry. Take an afternoon to add labels to any containers inside your pantry and it will look more put together without reorganizing at all. You can use pre-made labels like these from Amazon or make your own using a label maker. This embossing label maker gives you a vintage look while this machine can make pro-level custom vinyl text in a variety of options.
2. Decant Baking Supplies
Decanting baking supplies helps them stay fresher longer, prevents packaging from accidentally tearing and causing a huge mess, and allows you to fit more on shelves due to their stackable uniform sizes. They also give the visual aspect of your pantry a mini facelift. These are the most trendy containers for pantry storage, but if they’re out of your price range, these are a nice alternative. I have both and I think their effectiveness to keep food fresh is pretty much equal.
3. Add Division With Bins
It’s not necessary (or cost effective) to decant everything in your pantry, so what do you do with the rest of the items that stay in their original packages? Some can be lined up like a mini grocery store, but smaller items can get lost in the shuffle and accidentally pushed to the back to expire. By adding a few bins like these and filling them by category, you’re able to make meal prep easier and faster. Plus, it makes your pantry look extra tidy.
4. Rearrange Into Categories
It’s not just the bins that need to be categorized. The entire pantry becomes ultra functional when you rearrange your food into sections. Instead of storing all the boxes on one shelf and all the cans on another, try thinking of your pantry as a meal prep station. Store breakfast foods in one area, taco ingredients in a grouped space, pasta noodles and sauces together, and all the snacks and ingredients you use to make your kid’s lunches in its own zone. My favorite category in my own pantry is the S’mores & Popcorn zone for movie nights.
5. Add Risers
Risers are the cheapest way to improve the functionality of your pantry. You can use tiered risers to make the cans and spices in the back rows visible, double storage space with shelf risers, and you can even turn old Tupperware containers upside down to make risers for larger food containers. When you can see everything in your pantry, even the items in the middle and back rows, you’re less likely to buy accidental duplicates.
6. Hang A Clipboard For Grocery Lists
This is such a simple addition, but such a helpful one, too. Pop a Command hook on the wall (or cabinet door if your pantry is a cupboard) and hang a clipboard from it. Store a running grocery list on the clipboard so you can quickly jot down an item as you think of it so it doesn’t get forgotten about. PS: Need a grocery list? I made this one for myself and you’re welcome to print some copies to use, too.
7. Cover Wire Shelves
Wire shelves are a cost-effective way to add storage to a pantry space, but a lot of people hate the look of them. Plus, the space between each wire can cause small items to fall through or sit unevenly. If you don’t like your wire shelves but don’t have the time or budget to replace them, you can cover them to turn them into a flat-ish surface. The cheapest way to do this is to add this shelf liner, but the better way to do it is to build shelf covers. You can follow this tutorial from Liz at Within The Grove for really great instructions.
8. Hang Under-Shelf Baskets
If your pantry shelves are spaced pretty far apart, no amount of shelf risers will allow you to maximize all that vertical space. You can fill that wasted area under the shelf with hanging baskets. They’re great for storing small snacks, bread and buns, and small food items. You can buy them in all shapes and sizes; just be sure to measure your shelf first. I like these from Amazon and these from Ikea.
9. Fresh Coat Of Paint
Pantry walls and shelves can quickly get scratched and scuffed, and it’s amazing what a simple coat of paint can do to make the whole space feel fresh and new. When painting a pantry, choose a high sheen of paint like semi-gloss so it’s easy to clean and less likely to get marks. I recommend this paint for pantry walls and this paint for shelves and cabinets. They really do hold up better than anything else I’ve used and can be tinted to any color you want.
10. Improve Lighting
If your pantry is dark and you can’t see what you have in there, you’re way less likely to keep it tidy and use the ingredients you have before they expire. By updating the lighting, you can make your pantry instantly more functional and save your own sanity when you’re trying to find the things you need to make dinner on a busy weeknight. For a higher price tag, you can hire an electrician to add a light to your pantry. But on the lower end you can add pop lights, strip lights, or motion sensor lights yourself to get extra light in the places you need it most.