Organizing my Pantry Cupboard

So I’ve got this pantry, although I’m not sure one could even call it a pantry.  It’s really just a shallow cupboard where I house our food.  Is that still a pantry?  I had to look up the definition:

pantry ~ a room or closet in which food, groceries, and other provisions, or silverware, dishes, etc., are kept.

Well I would call mine neither a room or closet.  It’s a cupboard.  It’s a shallow pantry cupboard.  Not that I need a large pantry anyway because with menu planning each week I normally only buy and store what I need for the week plus a few extras.  However I’ve noticed that with summer and company visiting the “extras” were piling up causing my panty to go a little topsy turvy.  Things were getting a little out of hand, meaning food was just scattered here there and everywhere.  I found pasta on the top shelf, on the middle shelf AND on the bottom shelf.  Not only does that make me crazy but preparing my weekly grocery list just takes that much longer too.  Gah!  Oh and don’t even get me started about having TWO open boxes/bags of the same thing.  Sheesh, my family I tell you, boy do they ever like to mess with me :)

Here are the before pictures:

The bottom two shelves are designated for my son’s allergy safe foods.

I followed the PROCESS steps….took everything out….purged, organized and done.  I bought some new baskets from Walmart (I love these ones!) that fit perfectly in the shallowness of my 11″ cupboards, which really helped set some necessary boundaries to the space.

After pictures:

The yellow basket is the candy basket, high up from little kid’s wandering hands :)  The wicker basket is my snack basket which I blogged about here.

I feel better just having like with like under control.

I used the same label method that I used here.

And of course wire shelving is the best for maximizing space.  This one is expandable to fit nearly any space size, also from Walmart.
One more time:



Gosh does that ever feel better and it took all of about a half hour.  Yay!!

Does your pantry or pantry cupboard need a little tweaking?

Filed under: Before and After, Kitchen


33 Responses to Organizing my Pantry Cupboard

  1. 2
    Anita says

    You have the same pantry/shelving as I have! You have done such an impressive job with yours, I must go and do mine now! Great article! Thanks!

  2. 3
    RobinW says

    Just made a mental note to myself to clean/purge the pantry this weekend! The kids being home for the summer have sure done a number on my once nicely organized pantry.

  3. 4
    JeniferR says

    You have MY pantry! Only difference is that my pantry has one single door that swings open and it has shelving on it…shelving that is to small to fit a it is not very helpful. After seeing this, and your previous post, on organizing a pantry such as mine I am inspired! I organized it once, after seeing your other post, and I am now ready to organize again!!


    1. Rip off the shelving from the door and replace with wire shelving that will actually hold a can!
    2. I LOVE the white baskets with the labels on them. I will buy several of those. I kind of have the pasta and bags of beans all lumped together and they don’t look nice at all.
    3. Get a couple of those wire shelves to make more space!
    4. Not sure yet but I KNOW I will think of something else!

  4. 5
    Rasa says

    Working on mine this week like the baskets

  5. 6
    Kelly says

    I did this exact thing with my spice/baking cabinet and my pantry (which has an acordian door on it but is only a few shelves like in your pictures). I have not gotten around to posting about it, but now you have inspired me…going to work on it now!

  6. 7
    Dawn says

    Love the after photo!

    I’m looking for some advice (from anyone who has ideas!) about my “pantry”. My pantry is a cabinet built into the corner of my kitchen, so the shelves are triangular shaped and it is very difficult to organize. Does anyone have any ideas on some good baskets/containers I can use to organize triangular shelves?


  7. 8
    Suz says

    Love the after photo! It made me realize that I could hide our snacks in our pantry (instead of on top of our fridge in plain view!) and maybe the kiddos won’t ask for a snack every 10 minutes… well, it’s worth a try! We use pop can dispensers (ours are metal shelving, but there are plastic ones at Walmart) for our canned goods. Keeps them all in one place and looking organized. Thanks for your daily thoughts… I sure appreciate them!

  8. 9
    Linda Stoll says

    It’s often surprising how little time re-organizing really takes! Thinking about it, dreading it … that’s where the energy gets used up!

    I love shuffling things around on my kitchen shelves. Putting like things together, pitching expired stuff, discovering a stash or two long forgotten!

    Always a surprise to be found … and great relief when it’s all accomplished!

  9. 10
    Leslie says

    Love the organizational baskets. I do the same thing in my makeup storage–I use mini storage baskets to separate all my products so that they’re easier to locate, making my morning routine run a little faster! Love organizational baskets!


  10. 11
    Mel S says

    I love this post! It gives me such hope :-). Now I’m thinking about all of the baskets I’ve saved over the years and figuring out which ones I could utilize to help get my pantry organized.

    I’m pretty good with some things, i.e., my spices are organized alphabetically, and I try to keep like foods together, but I have three areas where I store food and I do find duplicates and stuff we will never eat even if we’re hungry.

    So, you’ve energized me into getting another area of my home in order. Thank you!

  11. 12
    Ashley @ says

    Looks fantastic! I’ll be jet-setting into an organizing adventure coming soon! So I’ll definitely be following suit with the pantry!

  12. 13
    Michele says

    I wish I had a pantry. I’ve only got cupboards and they are not too convenient. I’ve been clipping pics of freestanding pantries for months. someday….

  13. 14
    Dee says

    WE have a candy basket too, ours is blue!!! :-)

  14. 15
    pentamom says

    Please don’t think I’m whining, but I have no pantry and real possible way to rearrange my kitchen to fit one (even if I could afford the cabinetry) without sacrificing space needed for other things. My foodstuffs are spread throughout the kitchen in various cupboards — canned goods here, beans and pastas there, cereal down there, etc.

    I’d love some tips from anyone who’s successfully organized a setup like this!

    • 15.1
      Laura says

      Do you have space for a free standing pantry? I would definitely recommend consolidating your food into one section/area as much as possible. It will really help.


      • pentamom says

        No, I really don’t. No solution that involves putting more objects into my kitchen is viable — I’m just hoping there’s a better way to organize.

    • 15.2
      Living the Balanced Life says

      If you absolutely did not have space for a freestanding, at least make sure that you have like stuff stored together. All canned in one area, all breakfast foods in another, etc, to give you some organiziation and order to it all.

  15. 17
    Gail H. says

    Boy, you’ve inspired me! Love the baskets and the wire shelve! I seem to purge my pantry cupboard alot, but always seem to pull something out that is expired :( A trip to Walmart this week end! Thanks!

  16. 18
    RadiomomRhetoric (LisaKaye) says

    :) Glad to see you made it out alive! :)
    It looks great! I have a pantry next to my fridge like that but it is DEEP. The definate downside to that is that things get LOST in there. I am due for a purge too!

  17. 19
    Heather @ what's blooming this week says

    We just moved into a house with a true pantry – first one I’ve ever had and it’s jam packed (but neat) already. I think this is going to be my one organizing challenge in this house. The tips and tricks you shared here will certainly help.

  18. 20
    Kathy Bold says

    Where did you get the plastic holders for the labels on the baskets???

  19. 21
    Leslie says

    Yes, I need help!
    We bought an Ikea pantry a couple years ago because there wasn’t much kitchen cupboard space. The problem is, the thing is a behemoth–from floor to maybe 3-4 inches from the ceiling, and just as deep as it is wide, (about 2.5 ft sq I’d say). I suppose we SHOULD have bought the rolley-out thingies but we didn’t have the moula and while I have a couple baskets in there, they aren’t really doing their job. Any advice?!?

    • 21.1
      Laura says

      More baskets will definitely help you contain items and keep them from getting lost in behind. They are also an inexpensive solution. Store infrequently used items in behind so you are constantly having to pull from that out of reach area.

  20. 22
    Verena says

    I have a deep pantry also. My husband bought rollers and built boxes on them. Now, all my shelves slide out and are no problem to reach. He also did that for me in a wasted space in my kitchen under the counter. Those drawers are “can” height. So I just write (actually it is a fun job for the kids) with permant marker an abbreviation of what is in the can, on the top lid. Voila, I can see at a glance what are in my drawers, and is so easy to keep up.

  21. 23
    Janet says

    Ok, am I the only one who thought the before picture looked 1000 times better than my pantry in it’s current state? I should post a picture of my pantry and scare everyone!!

  22. 24
    Living the Balanced Life says

    It sometimes helps to think outside the box too. I have ALWAYs stored my potatoes and onions under the kitchen cabinet to the left of the sink. It is a dark deep cabinet, and I would always end up with rotten potatioes or onions, plus they just leave a dirty mess.
    Was organizing my pantry a few months ago and had an AHA moment. Why not put the potatoes and onions IN THE PANTRY? SO I got 2 cheapo walmart baskets, put them on the shelf in pantry, and voila! No more rotten potatoes or onions as they are in plain sight every day!
    Love seeing other people’s projects!
    How to finally do what you REALLY want to do

  23. 25
    Nancy says

    While the rest of my home is always in need of organizing, the computer desk stacked high with papers, magazines and mail in piles, amazingly, certain spots are always organized well–my pantry is one of them! Go figure.

    I started out using some of the upper kitchen cabinets, but those didn’t work that well for some items. Now I live in an apt. with a long entry closet with shelves in the middle section, which is, conveniently, just opposite my kitchen.

    So now I have things I use a lot or (the opposite) “things I have too much of & want to remember to use up”(!) front and center :
    – Top shelf (eye level): “Breakfast”
    . hot cereals, oatmeal, oat bran, flax seeds, mostly in jars on one side;
    . cold cereals, granola on the other;
    . canister of protein powder, 7-grain pancake mix in between
    – 2nd shelf down: “Carbs”
    . pastas, mac & cheese, ramen;
    . rices, couscous, grains, etc.;
    . cans and jars of stuff that goes with them–diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian/Indian/other sauces
    – 3rd shelf down: “Proteins”
    . all manner of bulk beans, peas, lentils in identical, clear jars–mayo jars I save to use for this–I love the look of them all lined up;
    . canned fish–tuna, herring snacks, smoked oysters & mussels;
    . misc.–canned chicken on sale, TVP meat substitute, shelveable tofu
    – Lower shelves: Misc:
    . stuff I use in small quantities–flours (in small mason jars), sugars, corn starch, etc;
    . other misc. in milk crates (13”x13″–they just fit & are sturdy “bins”)…one for pet food, one for “Beverages” (teas, coffees, hot choc & other packaged instants

    Then in kitchen cabinet:
    – smaller sections on shelves:
    . “Dessert” (canned fruit, instant pudding & jello);
    . “Soups & Stews” (including those interesting packages of Indian veg stews & curries I try out occasionally);
    . canned beans;
    . canned Veg (peas, corn, olives, beets, eggplant spread);
    . Misc: nut butter, instant coffee & cocoa (all good for DIY flavoring of vanilla ice cream or creating pudding in a pinch with corn starch – or flavoring a quick protein drink with the protein powder!)
    – Little corner cabinet: “Snacks & Treats”
    . chocolate, nuts;
    . dried fruits, trail mix;
    . popcorn
    – Top shelf kitchen cabinet: extra condiment staples I’ll pick up cheap on sale
    . mayo, ketchup, BBQ sauce, mustard, interesting sauces, mint jelly, teriyaki sauce;
    . oil, peanut butter;
    . jams, honey, syrup, etc.

    When the weather is bad, the budget thin, or I’m just not up to going out shopping, I can get creative with frozen meat or fish, frozen veggies, along with potatoes, onions, &/or pantry items. Just today I jazzed up a frozen chicken breast with some carrots, then used things from the pantry: soaked dried prunes and apricots, spices chosen by a quick inspirational look through a Moroccan cookbook…made into a stew thickened with some ground almond “flour”, all over couscous, both also from my pantry. I winged it & didn’t bother to go shopping for anything–not “authentic”, but healthy and tasted great. And no extra expense. :^)

  24. 26
    Mary G. says

    I honestly don’t see much of a difference. It looked pretty organized to begin with!

  25. 27
    Cari says

    WOW! I love it! I need to makeover mine soon!!

  26. 28
    marie says

    That is really nice!! And yes, for your information, it is a pantry! We live in Europe at the moment, and let me tell you, it is nowhere near as big as American homes, so paring down and organizing really is the way to go here!! Here are the before and after pictures of my kitchen that I took just a few weeks ago. I have improved it some more since, but I yet have to post more pictures.
    That will give you an idea how nice and spacious your pantry is, haha!!


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *