15 pantry storage ideas to create an organized space

When it comes to oatmeal — we don't want to make it rain

Pantry storage shelves with glass food jars
(Image credit: Day True)

Pantry storage can be *chef's kiss.* We've all seen the pics on Pinterest, where rows on rows of Mason jars are all perfectly labeled, and brimming with healthy-looking foods.

In reality RN, my pantry is giving less The Home Edit and is (9 times out of 10) the place where my mom and aunt's homemade jams go to die. But with the inspiring small kitchen organization ideas on Instagram and TikTok — I'll soon be serving up wins as for as my jars go. Now's the time to make black beans look bougie and canned tomatoes look trendy AF with these small kitchen organizers and storage ideas. 

Pantry storage to make your kitchen look pretty

1. Use clear jars to see your dried good


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Tired of opening your pantry door only to be met with a shower of oatmeal? Rather than cramming in hundreds of bags, boxes, and half-empty packets, keep dry ingredients like flour, pasta, pulses, and cereals in clear storage jars.

Use tape, or get fancy with a label maker, and name each container so you know exactly what’s in each. Remember to also write on the expiration date for the most effective pantry storage.

2. Add pantry storage to the back of your door


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Looking for pantry storage ideas that barely take up any room? We’ve said it before and we will say it again, don’t forget to put the back of your kitchen (or pantry) door to good use. This space is easy to access, so store things like smaller snacks or frequently used spices — you can just grab them and go without having to wrestle with a mountain of cans. 

3. Keep cans and jars in drawers

Pantries: the place where cans and jars go to die. Bite the bullet and have a sort out of all of your cans, spreads, tins, and condiments. Store what’s left of your cull in drawers or a can dispenser so you can always see clearly what you've got to work with.

4. Make the most of available space with pantry shelving


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If your pantry shelves have large gaps between them, use shelf inserts to create extra levels and practically double the space you have. A clip-on basket can also maximize your kitchen pantry storage.

5. Opt for adjustable open pantry shelving

If you are blessed with a walk-in pantry, even if it’s just a small narrow space, investing in some open adjustable shelving makes sense. You can clearly see where everything is stored and everything is easily accessible. 

6. Sort frequently used items into baskets

Ikea storage baskets

(Image credit: Ikea)

To further avoid the aforementioned oat avalanche, keep items you use most often baskets in, that you can pull out easily. Separate your foods into categories and label each basket so you can just grab it and stick it on the table. Gluten-free food, breakfast items, fancy snacks for girls night — you get the idea.

7. Make pantry storage space for spices

Make mistaking paprika for cinnamon a thing of the past by getting your spices in order. There are plenty of storage options out there. Expandable spice racks, spinning spice racks, pull-down spice racks — the list goes on. 

8. Add pegboards for extra wall storage

Ah, pegboards. Where would we be without you? Even a small piece of pegboard solves many kitchen pantry storage problems. Use them to store spices and small jars or add on some pegs for keeping shopping lists and recipes. Genius.

9. Make your pantry storage portable


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If you have a smaller pantry or you just want to keep all your frequently used items accessible, use a cart as extra pantry storage. That way you can just roll out your most used ingredients when you need them. We think this idea would work perfectly for baking supplies — last-minute sheet cake to make? Just roll out the ingredients without having to waste time battling the contents of your whole pantry. 

10. Create a chalkboard wall (or door)

If you think you've got your pantry storage sorted out — then take it to the drawing board (literally). Get organized even further by using some chalkboard paint to turn your pantry door into your shopping list. Or paint separate panels and label them to match what's on the corresponding shelves. Find out how to make a DIY chalkboard wall organizer in our easy guide.

11. Build pantry storage into the corner of your kitchen

White pantry with black shelves and black wooden ladder

(Image credit: Day True)

Even if you don't have a dedicated pantry you can still create a pantry area in your kitchen. If you have an unused corner pop up some open shelving and voilà — an instant pantry. You could even pop up a curtain to separate it from the rest of your kitchen. 

12. Make your pantry storage work in a small space

We’re not all blessed with fabulously huge kitchens that can accommodate a walk-in pantry are we? In fact, more often than not, it’s quite the opposite! But you can create your own version of a pantry if you have a spare corner that’s too small for a base unit. Consider a wall-hung unit where you can fix shelves to. You can create your own pantry space to suit your needs — keep spices in one place, and dried goods like pasta on another shelf. 

13. Build your pantry storage into an existing cupboard

You could use an existing cabinet for storing food, and have a spice rack attached to the door. After all, a pantry is simply shelving to accommodate food — and you can create your own by being clever and adapting existing pieces of furniture. Keep the smaller items at the top and the larger ones at the bottom.

14. Reutilize wooden crates

We love a wooden crate and Ikea has a fab range that comes in two very useful sizes. They’re sturdy and stackable and you can paint them if you’re not big on natural wood. Use them for storing napkins and linens, cutlery, and bottles. Then you can simply pull them out when needed.

15. Open shelving = easy access

The best option for an organized pantry is open shelving, this ensures you can see what you want when you want it. But, it also means you need to keep it neat and tidy — sorry! Labels at the front, clear jars, and neatly stacked items are the key essentials to remember. Put the most used items at the front and in the most easy-to-reach place. 

Christina Chrysostomou
Former acting head ecommerce editor

Hi, I'm the former acting head ecommerce editor at Real Homes. Prior to working for the Future plc family, I've worked on a number of consumer events including the Ideal Home Show, Grand Designs Live, and Good Homes Magazine. With a first class degree from Keele University, and a plethora of experience in digital marketing, editorial, and social media, I have an eye for what should be in your shopping basket and have gone through the internal customer advisor accreditation process.

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