How to Organize Your Pantry

Reclaim your kitchen with a spring cleaning overhaul. Read these tips for our pantry organization ideas.

Keeping House

Ever stand in front of a cluttered pantry, hoping a dinner solution (or just a late-night snack) will magically appear? If culinary inspiration is getting swallowed in chaos, it might be time to face your pantry head on.

Empty it out.

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Yes, all of it. Toss anything that's expired, stale or been nearly empty since 2001. If it's still within its prime but you know you'll never use it (like that Ab Rocket you once bought at 3:00 a.m.), donate it to a local shelter or school food drive.

Clean ‘er up.

Vacuum up spilled sugar, cereal, couscous, etc. Scrub away those strands of honey and syrup that always seem to trail from the bottle. Then wipe it all down with an eco-friendly cleaner (or just use equal parts white vinegar and water).

Restock your stuff.

After wiping everything down with a clean, damp cloth, it's time for a reorg. You can group your goods however works best for you:

  • Like-with-like: Cluster your canned goods, boxed meal mixes and cereals, spices, bagged dried goods, snack items, paper products and so forth.
  • Height order: Create three tiers, with the tallest items at the back, shortest items at the front, and the middle-height items in the—middle!
  • Easy access: Place the items you use most often at the front of the eye-level shelves, and relegate the non-essentials to the back (just don't forget they're there). If you've got kids, place their snacks in a single large basket on a low shelf, so they can access them if they want.

Keep it clear.

Glass or plastic storage containers make it easy to see what's what when it comes to cereal, snack food, and baking staples like flour and sugar. Bonus: they keep food fresher than the original packaging, and deter creepy crawlies.

Ryan Tip: Once you're done with the big clean-out, keep it up! Follow the system you created, move soon-to-expire items to the front, and make a note when you're getting low on supplies. All it takes is a few minutes of daily maintenance.