The Pantry: How To Organize Annoying Wire Shelves

The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Rachel at Useful Beautiful Home.

I have the wire shelf curse. No matter where I’ve lived, from apartment dwelling to building our own home, each kitchen pantry I’ve had has been loaded with wire shelves. I’m thankful to have a pantry, of course, but I’ve been frustrated on more than one occasion with the challenges of organizing these bad boys.

The Kitchen Pantry and How to Organize Annoying Wire Shelves

I found my pantry mojo in our current house. It’s a double door pantry and full of organizing potential, if it weren’t for the fact that most of my efforts ended up looking like this…


Things refuse to stand up properly on those narrow spindles. Almost every organized system I tried would topple over when put to use. Even using a wire shelf liner like this one (affiliate link) ended up looking scraggly over time.

In the end, I purchased 16 black plastic bins, similar to THESE (affiliate link) and have been happy ever since. What I originally purchased is no longer in stock, but those that I linked to are nearly identical in fashion and function. I went with a black and white color scheme to keep it simple, classy, and uniform. You can see in the picture below, mis-matched packages (as is perfectly normal in a pantry) can still evoke organization when containerized.

Organized Wire Shelves


Basically, I purchased very tall bins to hold everything from pasta boxes to light bulbs. The size of the bins (mine are 14” wide by 11” deep and 9” tall) allow for great storage for the many sizes of food packages and they fit perfectly on the standard wire shelf inside a pantry.

I prefer the kind with cut-out handles on two sides, because we pull them in and out of the pantry all the time. I especially like the added height of these bins because it keeps messy looking packages and bags in an orderly fashion. I’m not a fan of emptying food from it’s existing package into another individual container. Instead, I keep like items with like items in each bin and don’t have to mess with dumping food from one container to another.

My Pantry and How I Organized Those Wire Shelves that are such a pain

Now, before you start thinking I staged this photo, let me explain that I’ve had this pantry in working order since the first month we moved into our home, which was about 2 years ago. So, you can imagine how often these bins have been used and abused. They’ve held up considerably well to normal wear and tear. I promise I didn’t adjust anything when I took this photo shoot, I just pointed and clicked to show the real-deal. You can tell by looking at all the uneven boxes and bags poking out of the tops. I wanted to show that things are messy inside the bins, but everything is organized and easy to find. These bins have kept the typical pantry chaos under control and nothing falls over anymore!



I made the labels using chalkboard stickers on brown tags (both found at Michael’s Craft Store). The writing comes out clear because I wrote with a chalkboard pen (affiliate link) rather than chalk. Then, I tied them on with some ribbon. Some of the tag edges are curling after two years, but for the most part everything looks the way it did when I first created my labels. I could laminate the tags for durability, if I get around to it some day.



My labels are organized by group, like “snacks” or “breakfast”. I thought about the categories really carefully so I wouldn’t have to re-write much, but using an erasable label makes it no big deal if I do change my mind. In a perfect world, I would’ve laminated the tags and then applied the chalkboard sticker to the laminated piece so I could write and erase on a durable tag. Learn from me. 😉


There ya have it, Friends! I’ll be back later this month to show you the rest of my pantry, as well as how I stash my bulk items from Costco. Hope this gets your creative juices flowing if you find yourself frustrated by wire shelving! Happy weekend wishes!


In the professional world, I’m a nurse by trade. But, around our house, I’m known as Mommy to our young daughters. My two worlds collided and began shaping into a blog. Useful Beautiful Home represents the hours I’ve dedicated to managing my household as efficiently as possible. I offer you motivation to keep your home healthy, organized, and welcoming. My goal is to share what I’ve implemented in my home to inspire you with fresh ideas and to encourage you to keep up the good work in yours! Learn more about me HERE or visit me at

  • *Please note that affiliate links are included in this post to make it easier for you to find what is being referenced.  A small commission is made should you purchase product using these links, but this is at no extra cost to you.  As always, any and all opinions are genuinely my own – or the author, in the case of posts by my guest contributors. Thank you!*
Filed under: Containerizing, Guest Bloggers, Kitchen, Rachel


8 Responses to The Pantry: How To Organize Annoying Wire Shelves

  1. 1
    Chris K. says

    My solution to the annoying wire shelves was to make them solid with pieces of foamboard, taped together with packing tape as needed. I also put packing tape over the edges so they wouldn’t get dinged up.

  2. 2
    B says

    Your baskets are lovely, as are the labels. We just used thick, clear plastic shelf liner we bought from IKEA. We cut it down to size, and it’s a breeze to wipe down.

  3. 3
    Mandy says

    Love the bins & labels! My mom used some floor tiles she had left over to create a solid shelves. It works great but think she will enjoy adding some labeled bins too.

  4. 4
    Deborah says

    Why not just cut luan and paint it with white semi-gloss and then you can use your clear containers to actually see what you have in your pantry.

  5. 5
    Teri says

    Love the your black totes. I have the same set up, the dreaded wire shelves, my solution were baskets.

  6. 6
    Brenda says

    I don’t have wire shelves, but I still like the nice organized look with the baskets. I might have to try it.

  7. 7
    Daria says

    Bins are the bomb! I love how they hide clutter so well. I like those particular bins-very rich looking.

  8. 8
    Molly says

    Great Idea! I have wire shelving in my pantry, linen closet, and walk-in closet. It gets really annoying when things fall through the holes. Plus, like you said, it just looks messier. Thanks for sharing!


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