If you look in your pantry and find a soup can that’s 4 years old and a half-eaten bag of pretzels that expired months ago, it might be time to get your pantry in order, once and for all.
Luckily, reorganizing your pantry with a few smart tools and tricks can make it a breeze — without spending a fortune. No more having items get pushed to the back of your kitchen pantry and discovering them later!
If you’re on a tight budget, head to your local dollar store for a Pinterest-worthy pantry without the hefty price tag.
1. Store bulk items in transparent jars
Using large glass jars with clasps will keep food fresher longer (i.e., no more brown sugar solidifying in the pantry). You can also store other baking goods like flour, nuts, and chocolate chips in these airtight glass jars, too. And, bonus, you’ll never have to worry about spilling a bag of flour again!
These jars are especially useful when it comes to storing loose tea, dried spices, rubber bands, push pins, mini clothespins, or any other small items that would float around your pantry. Remember, everything needs to have a home. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a messy pantry within a few days.
2. Repurpose a cookie jar
Similar to the glass jars, these cookie jars are excellent for storing individually wrapped food items such as granola bars, dishwasher pods, extra sponges, Brillo pads, coffee, or even sugar packets. The possibilities are endless.
Even though these jars say they’re designed for countertops, they work just as well sitting on a pantry shelf. If you don’t have enough shelving space in your pantry, you can even stack these on the floor inside your kitchen pantry.
3. Create labels
These labels come in a pack of 15 giving you plenty of labels to identify baskets or totes. Plus, they’re removable, meaning you could easily relabel containers as needed. An alternative to stickers or labels? These markers are made for writing names on wine glasses, but they work just as well on glass jars. Then, take the organization process one step further by alphabetizing containers or arranging them in sections throughout your kitchen pantry.
4. Be a basket case
Stack and nest bins are great for pantries. Baskets make it easier to employ the zone method in a pantry by grouping like items together – baking, condiments, candy, etc. Plus, being able to layer these bins will save valuable pantry space. Additionally, you can easily wipe away spills because they’re made of plastic.
However, the real beauty of these baskets lies in their versatility. There are many types of baskets available at the dollar store varying in color, size, shape, and material. Chances are, you will find a basket suited for every nook and cranny of your kitchen pantry.
See how else you can use dollar store baskets here.
5. Store items on the back of your pantry door
Part of organizing a pantry is using every inch of space available. One area that many people overlook is the pantry door, which can provide lots of additional storage space with the right tools. This metal rack, for example, can give you a place on the pantry door to store hot pads, paddles to standing mixers, dish towels, bulky utensils such as wooden spoons, spatulas, reusable bags, etc.
You can even use an over-the-door shoe organizer in place of a metal rack. Fill pockets with taller and longer items like aluminum foil, parchment paper, unopened salad dressings, and plastic bags. But embrace what you can see – only put items in the pockets that stick out of the pockets or use a clear plastic shoe organizer.
6. Update your spice rack
Bring uniformity to your spice rack by transferring spices to clear glass jars and labeling each one. If you don’t have room for a spice rack or a lazy susan, use a basket as a catch-all for your spices. The mobility of the basket will allow you to have all of your spices by your side while cooking.
Some other helpful tips? Keep your most frequently used spices toward the front of your pantry for easy access. And label each jar with the date it was packed to ensure optimum freshness.
7. Line shelves
Brighten up your pantry with shelf liners. Not only will shelf liners add a pop of color and some fun to your pantry, they’ll make it easier to clean up any spills that may happen. While shelf liners won’t necessarily make a pantry more organized, they will brighten up the space and inspire you to keep it clean and tidy. They can act as wallpaper for the back of pantries, too.
8. Create a notes section
Use a chalkboard, dry-erase board, or corkboard to keep track of your grocery list and set friendly reminders about items soon to expire in your pantry. Take a snapshot of the board with your phone before going grocery shopping so you’ve got your list with you.
9. Use hooks
Hooks are essential in pantry organization. Secure them on the back of your pantry door or on the walls inside your pantry to hang items. Similar to a wrapping paper station, you can use hooks to create a station for foil and paper products. Or, measure the diameter of pot lids and pans, then arrange hooks accordingly on the inside of your pantry door for easy storage.
10. Hang items with binder clips
Items from the office can come in handy in a pantry. Enter metal binder clips. Use them to keep cereal or chips fresh by clipping the bag and keeping the prongs on the binder clips up. Then, rest the prongs on a hook or nail inside your pantry.
11. Optimize space with shelves
Shelving units will help utilize vertical space in your pantry. Stacking canned goods on shelves allows for easier access, eliminating the dreaded hidden can in the back of a pantry.
Dollar store shelves can also be a lifesaver when it comes to bulky items like cookie sheets, cupcake tins, or serving trays. Each cookie sheet or tin gets a slot in the shelf allowing for easy access. No more digging through a pile of cookware for a specific baking item!
12. Install lights
An organized pantry is of no use if you can’t see what’s in it. If your pantry doesn’t offer much in the way of lighting, use self-adhesive push lights to brighten the space. These lights take only a few minutes to install. Simply peel off the paper backing and place the light wherever you need it. Remember to wipe down your pantry before installation. The adhesive on the back of the lights will adhere better and last longer on a clean surface.
13. Group like items together in a plastic caddie
Plastic caddies aren’t just for college dorms. You can also use them in your pantry for storing condiments like ketchup, hot sauce, sriracha, or salt and pepper. Having everything in one place makes setting the table that much faster and eliminates having to go back and forth between your table and pantry.
14. Store long, skinny items in vases
Glass vases standing nine inches tall provide the perfect home for tall, skinny objects like straws, skewers, wooden spoons, or spatulas.
15. Store menus in file holders
Another office item to make use of in your pantry is file holders. These are great for storing take-out menus and coupons that would otherwise end up in junk drawers or piled on the kitchen table or a countertop.
Alternatively, you could store cooking magazines for when you’re feeling inspired to create a new dish or use them to keep paper plates and napkins together. File folders are also the perfect size for storing aluminum foil, parchment paper, and cling wrap.
16. Store small items in a pill organizer
Keep small items like rubber bands or extra change in a pill organizer inside your pantry for easy access. Not only will this help eliminate junk piles around your kitchen, but you’ll also never again lose a small button or earring that you placed on your counter for safe keeping.
17. Use extension rods to create a kid-friendly area
Bathroom storage solutions can also be great for pantry storage. For example, try using dollar store extension rods throughout your pantry. Apply the same technique used by blogger, Heather Drive: Start by hanging a tension rod in your pantry. Hang baskets from shower curtain hooks attached to the tension rod.
If you’d like to add more personality to your pantry, use drawer pulls instead of Command hooks for additional storage space. They will be an unexpected design element yet still functional.
18. Use locker bins to store kids’ snacks
Dry-erase locker bins are another example of using items in your pantry with a different purpose in mind. These are great for separating kids’ snacks so they can easily pack their own lunches by reaching into their designated bin. Built in handles make maneuvering around your pantry a breeze, plus each bin has a label.
19. Use carabiner clips as hooks
A heavy-duty camping item, the carabiner clip can be hooked on a door handle or shelf for additional storage. Load the clip with rubber bands or loop measuring cups through the carabiner, then hang the clip on a door handle or Command hook.
20. Minimize damage to your walls by using bathroom accessories in your pantry
If the thought of putting holes in your pantry walls makes you shudder, head to the bathroom section at the dollar store for a plastic shower kit. Then, you can free up shelf space by using bath accessories with suction cups in your pantry. No holes necessary!
21. Separate dishes with dowels
Use dowels to create storage for cookie sheets and serving platters like Martha Stewart. Adjust the height of the tension rod or dowel to a height just shy of a pantry shelf, adding more for additional support. The rods or dowels will act almost as bookends, holding kitchenware in place on the shelf.