September’s organization continues!  If you’re following my Deep Cleaning Schedule, you probably organized the linen closet already.  Next up is another small room in your home – the pantry.  If you don’t have an actual closet-like pantry, use this time to organize whatever area in your home you keep your food.  Read on for tips & ideas for pantry organization to make your pantry look nice and so that you can find what you’re looking for easily!

September Deep Cleaning & Organization:

These are the jobs I have for this month on my Deep Cleaning Schedule.  Check out the linked posts to see how to organize each of those rooms.  But in this post, we’re focusing on the pantry.

  1. Linen Closet
  2. Pantry
  3. Mudroom
  4. Entryway

Ideas for Pantry Organization

The pantry is one of my favorite rooms in my house.  I’m all about good food!  I’m working towards my holistic nutritionist certification, and I’m all for using healthy food as medicine and as fuel for our bodies.  I also think food should taste great.  The better something tastes, the more likely we are to eat it.  So making meals that are both healthy and tasty is key!

Not only do I love good food, but I also love big storage areas.  When we had our house built six years ago, plenty of storage was a MUST for me.  If you have a small pantry, that’s not a problem.  Utilize the space you have to the best of your ability.  You can still have a well-organized pantry, no matter the size.

Watch this video to see how I organized my parent’s small pantry in their cabin.

1.  Clean

The very first step to an organized pantry is to get EVERYTHING OUT of the pantry.  Yes – everything!  It’s best to start with a clean slate.

Once everything’s out, you’re able to clean the pantry.  Wipe down the walls with your all purpose cleaner and a microfiber cloth.  Here’s the recipe for my non-toxic all purpose cleaner.

Next, wipe down the shelves, focusing on any dirty, sticky areas.  The spot we keep our maple syrup in our pantry ALWAYS needs some extra scrubbing.  Why, oh why, does the maple syrup always end up on the outside of the bottle?

Then, wipe down the baseboards.

And finally, sweep and mop the floors.  They’ll need to be cleaned again at the end, but like I said it’s always best to start with a clean slate to set things on.  You can always clean up any more messes when you’re done.

This is the steam mop that I use and love!  I love how it just uses steam to clean the floors, instead of harsh chemicals.

2.  Declutter

Once the pantry’s cleaned you’re ready to move on to the next step – decluttering!

Go through and throw out any food that is expired or stale.  Also get rid of anything you know you won’t eat or use.  I keep baskets on my top shelf but had WAY too many.  I had my boys pick out their favorite Halloween basket and their favorite Easter basket for the Easter bunny to use.  The rest were thrown out!

This is also a GREAT time to get rid of any junk food and foods that aren’t good for you and you know will be a temptation to you.  Use this time to organize, not just for looks and functionality, but also to help you live a healthier life.  I’m the type of person that, if there’s ice cream in the house, I’m probably going to eat it.  And then I’m not going to feel great.  So I don’t buy it and keep it in the house.  Do what you can to support your and your family’s health values.

ideas for pantry organization

3.  Organize Items

Once you’ve throw out food and other items you don’t want, it’s time to organize the items you are keeping.

Sort everything into groups with like items.  For example, make groups for:

  • canned goods
  • flours
  • sugar/sweeteners
  • baking supplies
  • oils
  • vinegars
  • sauces
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • dried fruit
  • grains
  • beans
  • potatoes
  • onions
  • drinks
  • crackers/chips
  • bars
  • other snacks
  • paper products

4.  Contain & Replace Items

Now you’re ready to place things back in your pantry in a neat & orderly way.  Store like items that you already sorted into groups in containers.  For example, have a basket to keep all bars in, a bin for all drinks, etc.

Here’s how I have items organized in my pantry and some ideas for pantry organization in your home.

Top Shelf

On the top shelf of your pantry, store items that you don’t need to get to very often.

Like I said, I keep baskets up there – Easter baskets, Halloween baskets, and some wicker baskets.

ideas for pantry organization

ideas for pantry organization

2nd Shelf

Like the top shelf, our second shelf (from the top) has items that we don’t use often.  It’s a great idea to store bigger appliances, that you don’t use often and don’t want taking up valuable space in your kitchen, in the pantry.   In our pantry we keep our humidifier, vacuum sealer (for freezing deer meat that my husband hunts and processes), meat grinder,  3-in-1 crock pot, and Christmas cookie tins.  I wiped some of those things down with my cloth, since they get a little dusty with little use.

3rd Shelf:

The third shelf in my pantry is the shelf that is eye level for me and where the food storage starts.

On one side, I keep grains and flours.

I love storing ingredients in see-through containers, like glass mason jars and these plastic containers.  I like the look of being able to actually see the food and how much I have left – NOT the product packaging.  It looks cleaner this way, it keeps the food fresh, and it makes it easier to pour from (rather than pouring out of paper or plastic bags and having flour or rice go everywhere!).

These chalkboard labels and chalk markers come in so handy for labeling the food storage containers.  I love how, if I run out of something and don’t buy more of that thing, I can just wipe the chalk off with a wet cloth and use the container for something else.

ideas for pantry organization

In the middle section, I keep spices, flavor extracts, birthday candles, and other baking supplies.

I keep spices on two 3-tier spice racks.  The ones I have are wire, so I laid some pieces of cardboard on the shelf, to keep the legs of the spice racks from falling into the holes of the shelf.  The one linked above is NOT what I currently have.  It is a more durable and non-slip one than what I have.  Obviously I NEED to get it, since the spices fall sometimes, like one is doing in the photo below.

I laid shelf-liner, similar to this one, over some of the shelves in the pantry to hide the cardboard pieces, provide a non-slip surface, and make clean-up easier!

I recommend organizing the spices alphabetically on the racks, to be able to quickly and easily find what you’re looking for.  It takes a little time to get them all alphabetized, but it’s SO worth it!

ideas for pantry organization

On the right side, I keep our sweet treats.  These are up higher, so that certain little kids don’t get them down whenever they want.  Each family member has a jar with their favorite candies in it.  Honestly, we don’t eat candy very much at all.  But, sometimes I’ll let the boys choose a piece from their jar as a reward when they do their chores or when they’re doing a good job of obeying and being nice.  I don’t want them to think they get rewards whenever they do something good, so they don’t get them every time.  Like I said, just every-once-in-while and randomly.

In the tote, we have extra candy, so when someone’s jar is empty, they can refill it with their favorites.  Whenever they get candy from Halloween, Easter, Christmas, etc. it goes in the tote.

When I organized the pantry, I went through and got rid of A LOT.  Any candy that was old looking or I don’t remember when we got it was out of there.  And any candy that wasn’t worth the calories – cheap, just-sugar-type candy was gone!  Keeping the chocolate was a MUST!

candy ideas for pantry organization

4th Shelf:

Under the grains I keep the sweeteners, chocolate chips, and cocoa for baking.  Again, I use plastic storage containers, mason jars, and chalkboard labels to keep things looking clean and make it easier to pour or scoop ingredients out.

ideas for pantry organization sweeteners

In the middle, we keep our sauces and oils.  I found these white bins at Wal-Mart a few years ago and stuck some more chalkboard labels on them.

ideas for pantry organization oils

I love this lazy Susan turntable from Amazon.  We use it for our cooking oils and vinegars that we use frequently.  It makes finding the right thing so quick and easy!

ideas for pantry organization oils

On the right side, we keep our nuts and dried fruit.  I use quart and pint-sized mason jars and chalkboard labels (I ran out; so I did use my label maker for some of them!) to keep things looking clean.

ideas for pantry organization nuts

5th Shelf:

We keep our canned food on this stackable can organizer. Again, I used a piece of cardboard to keep the organizer from going through the holes in the shelving.

Our vegetables that don’t need to be refrigerated – onions, potatoes, garlic, and some squash – are also kept here in a basket.  I washed the white container out with soap and water before adding those veggies back in.

ideas for pantry organization

In the middle of this shelf, we keep any extra drinks we have that don’t need to be refrigerated.  That’s usually K Cups, water bottles, and sparking waters.

ideas for pantry organization

And on the right is where we keep snacks.  I don’t buy a whole lot of packaged snacks.  We mostly eat fruit, nut, and these other healthy snacks.  But when I get my boys fruit snacks, applesauce, or bars (Lara bars are my favorite!) and when I make granola – this is where it goes.

ideas for pantry organization

Bottom Shelf and Floor:

On the bottom shelf and the floor, we keep some food storage and paper products.

On the left side we keep extra bags, totes, and lunchboxes for school or when traveling.

ideas for pantry organization

In the middle, we keep paper towels, napkins, tissues, paper plates, and plastic ware (for birthday parties).

ideas for pantry organization

And on the right, we keep extra toilet paper, trash bags, and food storage bags.  I used to be a little obsessed with having extra of all these things and would stock up at BJs.  The past few years I’ve become more health, wellness, and sustainability-focused.  I try to avoid using plastic, especially one-time-use plastic.  So, after we use all these bags up, I don’t plan on buying more.  I recently got these glass food storage containers for my birthday, and I love them!  Safer and better for the environment!

ideas for pantry organization food storage

That’s it for the pantry organization and cleaning.  I hope you’re able to use some of these tips and ideas for pantry organization.  Let me know how the organizing goes for you.  Also, check out the video below where I update my pantry organization and share more tips and motivation for you!

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