An Easy Step-by-Step Pantry Organization Guide

Creating your Dream Pantry is no small task. It can be overwhelming to assess all of your family’s needs and how that translates to what storage bins to buy. I know several friends who have gone to Ikea with the intent to buy organizing bins and walked out of the store empty-handed because they were overwhelmed with not knowing how much to buy of what. That is why careful planning is necessary when dealing with pantry organization. Keep reading for a step-by-step pantry organization guide.

If you are looking for more kitchen organization posts, check out my post on Easy Fridge Organization tips, Organizing Healthy Pantry Snacks and Organizing Refrigerated Snacks. I hope they help!

Step-by-Step Pantry Organization

This post is an easy to follow guide that will help you create your very own organized dream pantry. I have written the post in steps (first to last). I suggest you read the entire post before starting on your project. This will help you plan, save time, and save money.

Measure your Shelves

The first step is to measure your shelves. Measuring your shelves ensures that you won’t buy the wrong-sized products as well as how much you can fit on each shelf. Measure the width of the shelf, the depth, and the height. All three measurements are important.

Then I suggest doing some online shopping so you can easily look at measurements on each product. If you want to pick up in-store that’s totally fine but I strongly suggest saving time by browsing around online.

Make a Plan

I strongly suggest buying bins that are taller rather than shorter so they can store lots of items while hiding things at the same time. Being able to corral like-items is the single biggest factor when creating an organized pantry. If we didn’t have bins hiding the pantry items, it would look like a disaster! So make sure the bins are tall enough.

It may even be helpful to do a rough sketch of your pantry on a piece of paper. That will help you be able to visualize how the bins and containers will fit in the pantry.

Pantry Organization Ideas

Clear Out and Throw Out

After you have all of your newly-purchased products, schedule out a few hours to finish the job. It will take you quite a bit of time, so carve some time out for it and be prepared to fall in love with your pantry!

Clear out every shelf and place all of your pantry items on an island bar or even the floor. Then make sure to take time to wipe down all of the walls and the shelves, this way you can start with a clean slate!

Go through each individual item and look at the expiration date and assess how often you use those food items and decide if you should keep them or throw them out.

Line the Shelves

This step is totally optional but it will save the paint on your shelves. Because you will likely be sliding bins in and out of the shelves to access what is inside, the shelves might get scratched up over time. So I usually try to line my shelves.

Sometimes I use a shelf liner to jazz up the style or sometimes I use clear. It just depends on your preference. I also strongly advise you to purchase the adhesive kind. The other shelf liners that just lay on top of the shelves are a complete pain!

Categorize Like-Items Together

After you have decided on the things you are going to keep, organize like-items together. Think out of the box, too! If you know that your family loves having Hot Chocolate together on Sunday evenings while you watch a movie, make a bin filled with all of your Hot Chocolate supplies in the same bin. That way you are not searching all over the pantry for your supplies. The same concept can apply to many situations such as S’mores, Spaghetti Dinner, Baking Supplies, etc.

Put things in Bins

Now that things are organized you can start making some magic! Place your categorized items in your newly purchased bins. As you start to fill up the bins, you can now place them on your shelves! It is SO fun to see things start to come together and right about now, you start getting giddy with excitement (if you are a weirdo like me!).

Be aware of where you put what food items. If you have independent kids who like getting their own snacks (and you are okay with that) consider putting the snack bins on lower shelves. I always put the things that I don’t want my kids getting into on the upper shelves.

This was one half of the pantry.


Labeling your bins is the most crucial step that I am begging you to NOT leave out. There is no way for you to create a sustainable system that you and your family will be able to upkeep if nobody knows where things go. Labeling your containers is absolutely essential if you don’t want all of your work to be a complete waste in a week.

For this pantry, we chose to label in a variety of ways depending on the container we used. For the Ikea hard-sided plastic container, we used a Silhouette cutting machine and cut things out using black vinyl. For the plastic Y-Weave bins, we used these awesome metal-framed labels from Target that I am currently obsessed with.

Product Links

I am going to do my best to link specific products in case you are are interested in purchasing some of them. The Top shelf has small bins with lids (that are off to the left) – they are from Ikea. They are the KUGGIS Bins. The other bin on the top shelf is also the KUGGIS bin but in a larger size, and we chose not to use the lids.

The second shelf down has the plastic wicker-looking bins from At Home. We labeled them using these incredible metal bin labels from Target. Off to the left side are some glass cylinders that I purchased at Hobby Lobby. The ones that are holding the pasta are 71 ounces, for reference.

Step back and enjoy a job well done! It takes a lot of effort to plan and carry out a beautifully organized pantry, but the end result is so beautiful, you’ll be so happy that you did it! Because you took the time to create a system, it is going to stay that way! You will definitely have to spruce things up every once in a while but you have just made a huge step in the right direction!

I hope that I have been able to inspire you to create your own slice of Pinterest Pantry Heaven. If it seems too overwhelming to do your entire pantry, maybe just start by organizing one shelf at a time! If you are interested in the specific products from this post, I have them listed below!

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One Comment

  1. You are so talented! Thank you for sharing your artistic wisdom in organizing!

    What is the duo font you used for the silhouette labels on this pantry?

    Wish you all the best,


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