3 Tips for an Organized Pantry

We’ve all seen the shows where they create an organized pantry with a rainbow pattern. Sure it’s pretty, but is it manageable?

With a busy household and kids who like to help themselves to snacks, I wanted to make sure that our pantry would be able to function for how we live and be easy to maintain. If you missed how we built our pantry click here.

So let me show you 3 tips for an easy to maintain organized pantry:

Finished Pantry

Tip #1 – Create Main Categories

When it came to organizing our pantry, we started by figuring out the categories of items that we keep in there.

Our categories included baking ingredients, cooking staples, snack foods, extra paper products, and small appliances.

Baking Supplies

Once the categories were determined, we could decide where to put the products that made the most sense.

Snack Area in the pantry

In our case, we made sure snacks were accessible to the kids on the side closest to the trash, while the cooking staples were closer to the stove.

The things we used the least went up higher while the most used items stayed within easy reach.

Tip #2 – Keep Items Frequently Used Together

We found it was easier to keep an organized pantry by having things that are often used together in the same area.

So, instead of having a shelf for dry goods with pasta, rice, bread, and tortilla chips and another area for sauces and canned goods, etc, we looked at how those items are used.

We generally aren’t grabbing alfredo sauce and rice at the same time or lasagna noodles and queso.

Basket with Rice next to the Queso

Instead, we put the pasta sauces next to the noodles, the queso and salsa are near the tortillas and rice, and the peanut butter and jelly are near the bread, etc. At meal time, we can easily grab all the ingredients at once which saves time and energy.

The Bread Area with Peanut Butter and Jelly

This also allows us to quickly know what meals we have ingredients for which is a huge win when you don’t feel like cooking.

Grocery shopping is also easier as we can see meal ingredients at a glance.

These baskets have made keeping similar items together a breeze.

Tip #3 – Make it Family Friendly

If you have independent children like I do, embrace it. Create a zone for them in the pantry.

Cereal Dispenser

My kids love cereal so we opted to get a cereal dispenser. This makes it quick and easy for my 5 year old boys to get their own cereal without making a huge mess.

Easy to See Kid Snacks

We have clear organizers for the kids’ snacks so they can see what is available without rifling through everything. I also can see how much we have of each item with a quick glance (no more empty boxes in the pantry!).

Movie Night Bin with Popcorn and Seasonings

You just need to figure out how your family approaches the things kept in your pantry so that you can determine the best way to store the items. We are a grab and go family, so keeping items used together in the same spot works best for us.

DIY Pantry Storage – Part Two

To say that I was excited to have a pantry is an understatement. As a designer, of course I wanted it to be pretty, but more importantly, I wanted our pantry storage to be functional and manageable for our family of 5.

Pantry Base Cabinets

We left off with the bottom portion of the pantry complete. You can read about it here.

I knew that I wanted sturdy shelves that looked built in. I’ve built plenty of shelves before so I was confident that I could build these to my specifications. Since the bottom cabinets are 14″ deep and the countertop would be 15″ deep, I opted to make my shelves 10″ deep to accomodate containers and baskets.

2×2 Shelf Frame

To get started, I attached 2x2s to the back two walls making sure they were level and screwed into the studs.

I then added 7″ 2×2 supports to the side wall and the middle using wood glue and my Kreg Jig.

Shelf Bracing

I then glued and screwed another 2×2 to the front of the supports.

Trimmed Shelf

Once the framing was done, I added a 1×10 to the top of the bracing and nailed it in place. I then glued and nailed a 1×3 to the front to give the shelves a finished look.

Framing 2 more shelves

In full transparency, I made one shelf completely first to make sure it would work and be sturdy enough before I built the other two. Those two I built together at the same time.

The underside of the shelves

I attached 1/4″ white hardboard to the bottom of the shelves with nails to complete the look. Then to make it look polished, I wood filled all the nail holes, caulked the edges, and painted everything white.

Are you ready to see the final result?

Here’s a closer look at some of the different sections of the pantry:

I can’t get over all the pantry storage we were able to add to the space!

Thank you for following along with this journey!

DIY Pantry Organization – Part One

When we were in the process of building our new home, one thing I wasn’t willing to negotiate on was having a decent pantry. We ended up with a 5×5 corner pantry and I asked the builder to not install the wire shelves so that I could DIY Pantry Organization to our family’s needs.

Empty Pantry Before

I knew that I wanted our pantry to house all of our dry goods as well as some of our small kitchen appliances like our air fryer and toaster. So, I decided to create built in cabinets with a countertop and shelves above.

I purchased some Klearvue wall cabinet boxes from Menards. They were inexpensive and didn’t include the extras like doors and hinges.

I started by building a base out of 2x4s for the cabinets to sit on. I made sure the base was level and attached to the studs.

Frame for Cabinets

Once the frame was built, I installed a corner cabinet making sure it was level and screwed into studs.

Corner Cabinet Installed

I then proceeded to install a cabinet on each side of the pantry making sure they were level and attached properly to each other and the wall studs.

Pantry base cabinets installed

After all the cabinets were installed, I added shelves to each cabinet.

Pantry Base Cabinets with shelves

I couldn’t get over how much larger the pantry looked with the cabinets installed! There was so much room for pantry organization and we still had all the vertical space to go!

Stay tuned to see how we finished the rest of the pantry!

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