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6 Tips for an Organized Pantry and Food Cabinet

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Every home should have a well-stocked and organized pantry. Often a well-stocked and well-used pantry becomes cluttered and disorganized and then it makes your daily life frustrating. These 6 quick tips to organize your pantry and food cabinet will help you create an organized, stress-free storage solution today.

organized pantry shelves with text overlay reading 6+ Tips for an Organized Pantry and Food Cabinet

Why organize your pantry?

  • You’ll reduce your stress level since you won’t have to wrestle through the pantry to find what you want.
  • You’ll save time since you’ll immediately know where each item you need is located
  • You’ll save money
    • No more expired food that had gotten lost in the back of the pantry.
    • No more over-buying because you didn’t know that you already had that item in your pantry.
    • No more ordering delivery because you don’t have a key ingredient for the meal you had planned.
  • You’ll encourage independence in your family members since they’ll be able to find items they need and will know where to place items when they are done.
  • It’ll be safer for your family since items won’t tumble off of shelves.

Tips for an Organized Pantry and Food Cabinet

How do I organize my food Pantry?

Organizing your pantry doesn’t take much time or money. You can tackle it in just an hour or two. These 6 simple tips will make it possible for you to organize your pantry today.

How to Declutter a Pantry

Decluttering is the foundation of organizing your pantry and begins by taking everything out of the pantry.

  1. Edit Out Expired Food Items – You may just be surprised by the amount of food you have lurking in the back of the pantry or cabinets, that has actually expired. Start by sorting through the pantry and throw away any expired food items.
  2. Edit Out Food No One Likes – You may find food items that no one in your family likes. Yes, you spent money on that food and feel guilty, but if no one likes the item there is no reason to keep it. Donate the food items if they’re unopened. Throw them away if you’ve opened them. Needlessly keeping the food in the pantry isn’t going to suddenly make your family want to eat it.
  3. Edit Out Items that Belong Somewhere Else – You may find items in your pantry that don’t really belong in the pantry. Take this opportunity to relocate those items to a more appropriate location.
tops of tin food cans

Wipe the shelves and clean the pantry well before returning items to the pantry.

Label the Tops of Canned Goods

If you store your canned goods in a drawer or pull-out tray, it’s difficult to see what each one is. All you can see is the silver tops of the cans, which means you’re left lifting each and every can to try and find what you need. Labeling the tops of the cans will save you a lot of time and hassle.

You can do this either via a black marker pen, writing what each can is so you can clearly see it when you open the drawer. Or, you can stick labels on top of the can. Give it a try – you’ll be surprised how much of a difference it can make.

3 jars of food in a basket

Bonus Tip – Use the same permanent marker labeling for organizing your spices.

Store Cans in Open Containers

It is helpful to place categories of cans in containers. With a label on the front of the container, it’s quick and easy to locate what you’re looking for. 

Organizing containers you can use:

  • Plastic Baskets – You can find these inexpensively at discount stores.
  • Acrylic Bins – These make a lovely, organized pantry and are easy to clean.
  • Wire Baskets – They add that nostalgic vibe to your organization.
  • Baskets – These add texture and a natural element to a pantry.
  • Wood Crates – You can add a more rustic or vintage look to your organization.
  • Repurposed Warehouse Box Trays – You can use boxes from the warehouse store and cover them in fabric or adhesive paper to add style to your organization.
  • Repurposed Soda Can Boxes – These soda can boxes are perfect for holding soup and vegetable cans. They even allow you to rotate the can inventory, so the oldest cans are in the front of the box.
canisters of food in cabinet

Decant Dry Goods into Air Tight Containers

Maintaining an organized pantry means keeping spills to a minimum and critters out of your dry goods like pasta, sugar, and flour. Instead of having opened packets of spaghetti, cookies, and cereals, place them into air-tight food storage containers. Pantry food storage containers are available in a wide range of sizes, designs and materials. Clear containers create a lovely pantry, in addition to an organized one.

Why Put Food Items Into Air-Tight Containers

  • Keeps food items fresh and pest free.
  • Containers are of uniform sizes so they fit in the space better.
  • Partially empty boxes and containers can fall over and dump food in the pantry. Containers are rigid and don’t fall over on the shelf.
  • You can’t see how much of a product remains in a cardboard box. Clear containers make it easy to see exactly how much of an item remains.
  • Dry goods decanted into containers provide a uniform look, which is more visually appealing.
Glass jars in kitchen cabinet

Arrange Food Items by Expiration Date

Are you guilty of shoving old cans and jars to the back of the cabinet every time you buy something new? It’s easy to do, but it means you’ll often end up throwing away food that has expired.

When you bring in new items, place them at the back of the pantry and move older items to the front. This is known as FIFO – First In First Out. This way, you’ll use things up before they expire. Can organizers are an easy way to make sure you use up older things. New items go in the top and older items pop out the bottom.

Another fun and easy idea to use up what you have is to challenge yourself to eat your pantry. Planning your menu with items that you have will save you time (fewer grocery trips!) and money!

Use Labels to Maintain Organization

Many people think of labels as the pretty part of organization. And while that may be true, labeling can be extremely helpful in maintaining organization, especially if multiple people access the pantry.

Ideas for Labeling

  • Label items that you can’t clearly determine the contents.
    • Spaghetti noodles are easy to identify, but orzo may not be.
    • All-purpose flour looks the same as bread flour.
    • Different dried lentils may not be easy to identify without labels.
  • Label bins or baskets with the category of items
  • You don’t need to label items or areas that are clearly identified simply by the contents.
  • If you decant dry goods into containers, cut out cooking instructions and tape them to the back of the container. 
  • If items have an expiration date be sure to add that information to the label or add an additional label to the lid or back of the container.
  • You can use simple masking tape and a permanent marker to create labels. 
Glass jars with granola and masking tape label.
  • A handheld label maker doesn’t have to be cost prohibitive and can be useful for organizing your entire home, school supplies, and more.
  • You can label glass jars with a paint pen.
  • Chalkboard labels are a pretty way to label items and can be wiped clean and relabeled if you need.
  • I’ve created 16 different style choices of pantry labels that you can print out on your printer if you’re not happy with your handwriting.

More Kitchen Organizing Ideas

  • How to Store Potatoes – Tips for how to store potatoes – everything you need to know to make your potato storage prolong the freshness and health of your produce.
  • How to Set Up Kitchen Organization – Tips on how to set up your kitchen to work best for your needs from a mom that has moved into and organized over 20 homes and kitchens.
  • Kitchen Organization Tips for Utensils – Keeping your spatulas, spoons & other utensils neat can be tough, but you’ll find something to work in these organization tips for kitchen utensils.

These tips for an organized pantry make it possible to get organized today. Each tip is easy to implement and affordable. They’ll help to make your daily life so much easier and less stressful. 

Find all my best Kitchen organizing ideas, printables and favorite products in the table below. You can scroll though the table and look for ideas or search for specific ideas with the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner (on desktop). Click on the topic and then click through the specific article.

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