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How I Organized My Messy Pantry With 8 EASY Strategies

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Lina organizing her pantry

Do you struggle to organize your pantry?

I definitely do. There’s a lot happening in my kitchen each day, whether it’s for my family or for my role as a food blogger for and I’m moving so fast some days that I don’t always take the time to organize my space and put things back properly. My goal is to stay organized to help my life run smoother!

messy pantry before organizing

I recently shared the drastic before/after of our pantry remodel.

You can read all the details about this home improvement project HERE. We did most of the work ourselves to save money, and we’ve been enjoying this space so much. My pantry is one of my most favorite parts of our home now for sure!

organized built in pantry makeover

Today I’m sharing 8 easy and frugal real life pantry strategies to keep things organized.

I say real life because this is not one of those pantries from a magazine with five items! Ha. I have lots of appliances and stuff in general. A lot of my pantry storage is from Goodwill or big-box retailers, so you don’t have to spend a ton of money organizing! In fact, I’d even check out places like the Dollar Tree for containers, too.

a plastic grocery sack with groceries on a counter

1. Purge and declutter.

Before I start any organizing project, purging is always the first step (less stuff always equals less effort to organize). I, too, sometimes overbuy one item and never use it, or my kids open a bag of chips, and it’s been sitting around months later! Declutter and get rid of as many things as you can, from spoiled food to unused appliances. Donate unwanted food that hasn’t expired to a food bank.

labeled kitchen canisters in the pantry

2. Create different zones in your pantry.

Creating zones will help you quickly identify items so that there’s a home for everything. You can create a zone for pantry staples like canned goods, cereal, one for baking supplies, one for grab and go snacks – and I also have a zone for foil, kitchen wraps, and baggies.

Since I bake often, it is so helpful to have a spot for all my flours and sugars. These clear storage containers work perfectly for my space, as I can immediately identify what’s in each. I actually made these farmhouse style kitchen labels using my vinyl cutting machine.

organizing using trays in the pantry

3. Use sheet pans or trays to gather like items.

As you’re creating pantry zones, consider separating items using a large sheet pan or tray. My inexpensive decorative tray from HomeGoods (above) helps to group things so that they don’t get spread out randomly.

organizing cans using an office filing shelf

4. Use double-tiered space for canned goods.

Using all of the vertical space in your pantry shelving makes perfect sense, especially for storing canned goods. I went super low budget by repurposing an office file organizing shelf from the thrift store. It’s functional and only cost about $3 at Goodwill!

Hip Tip: My sidekick Amber loves this stackable metal organizer via amazon as another recommendation.

Lina in the kitchen organizing

5. Take foods out of large, boxed packaging.

Food packaging takes up so much valuable space! As an example, I keep a container for our dog’s treats instead of the big box they come in. I also store rice and spaghetti in canisters.

lazy susan for pantry organizing spices and small items

6. Place a Lazy Susan in the corner.

I’m a big fan of Lazy Susan organizers to access items conveniently. This small turntable is perfect for smaller spices and baking items.

baskets to organize kitchen pantry snacks

7. Use storage baskets to separate snacks and small items.

I created a kid zone with all snacks and open chip bags. This way, they can grab and go as needed, and everything is corralled into one spot. This is so much cleaner and easier then keeping snacks in original packaging floating around the pantry.

Pantry snacks stored in clear handled storage basket

Our team also loves these clear handled storage baskets which are available in sizes Small or Large (both under $5) and are great for the pantry or even the fridge for storing food.

“Love these baskets! From holding laundry cleaning supplies (large bin) on a stacked laundry center; to the kitchen for spice bottles, coffee supplies, snacks etc. Super product!

Hip Tip: Chip clips from Dollar tree are super handy and inexpensive! You can also re-purpose the clips from pant hangers into chip clips as another frugal idea. See tip #16 on this post.

kitchen appliances on a pantry shelf

8. Take 10 minutes at the end of each day to tidy up.

This has been huge for me, and it makes all the difference so I don’t get overwhelmed. Even just wiping up the counter and shelving from crumbs – and making sure miscellaneous things are put away at the end of the day – is so helpful!

Check out this thrift store find turned clever kitchen counter organizer!

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