Five Steps to Organize a Pantry


organizing your pantry

January is organizing month and I am starting in the kitchen! I spent today reorganizing our pantry and wow, what a huge improvement.

As you can see below, our pantry was a complete disaster. I knew it needed a complete overhaul. And yes, this is real life. I don’t mind sharing these photos because this is what happens. To all of us!

organize a pantry

There are a lot of issues with having an unorganized pantry. The first is obvious, and that is over buying because you have no idea what you have in your pantry when you can’t find anything. Like eight bags of rice, as you can see below. Oh, my goodness. (As much as I would like to blame someone else for this, this is all my fault.

five steps to organize a pantry

So here is what you need to do to organize your pantry.

Steps to Organizing the Pantry

1. Empty out everything. Try to group everything together by food type.

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And don’t panic when you find four jars of peanut butter. (In my defense, I make four batches of peanut butter fudge for our Christmas party, so these were all recently purchased.)

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2. Wipe down and clean the entire pantry. 

It probably needs it. Mine certainly did.

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3. Go through every food item and check the expiration dates.

This surprised me as I thought everything was current. I was wrong, but I won’t share the details.

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4. Decide on a seal tight system for your dry goods.

As long as you can keep track of expiration dates, you may want to do something stylish like these fun jars I bought and labeled with my Silhouette machine. (I replace a lot of my dry goods at Christmas if I suspect they have been around for a while.) I will write another blog post showing exactly how you can make these canisters, even if you don’t have a Silhouette machine.


I love the size and shape of these jars and the labeling is fun too!

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5. Next, you need to figure out an organized system and decide where to put everything.

This, of course, will be based on what is typically stored in your pantry. I decided to store all of our baking items on the left side of the pantry and all of the other foods on the right side. I obviously have way too many bottles of olive oil and vinegar. I receive a ton of hostess gifts every year and olive oil and balsamic vinegar are by far the most popular. I need to start making salad dressing every night and experiment with some of these flavored oils and bottles of vinegar.

You can see I put oils and vinegar on the top shelf, dried goods on the middle shelf and baking items on the bottom shelf.

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On the other side of the pantry, I put canned goods on top, everything else in the middle and packaged goods on the bottom. And before you ask about the gazillion boxes of Wheat Chex cereal, my husband loves Wheat Chex and our grocery store stopped carrying it. So I buy it in bulk and at a discount. It’s the little things that make my husband happy!

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That’s about it. I love how it looks now. And as nice as it looks with the doors closed, I probably need to stop walking by and opening the doors just to grab a peek! Silly me.

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  1. I love when my pantry is organized! Thank you for the great tips. I also peak inside when it is in order! ????

  2. Leslie, I love all the tips on your food pantry organization!! Would love a peak at your butlers pantry too!! 😉

  3. Expiration dates are not as critical as we think-it is more of a “best if used by”
    . “Canned goods: Most expiration dates on foods in cans range from 1 to 4 years—but keep the food in a cool, dark place and the cans undented and in good condition, and you can likely safely double that shelf life from 3 to up to 6 years.’ I attended the CA Master Food preserver program through US Agriculture and UC Davis. Great program! But of course-when in doubt-throw it out!
    I just Marie Kondo’d my house, feel like a new person…

  4. Hi Leslie, what font did you use on your jars? I just love how cute the jars and font go together!
    Thanks in advance, Denise

  5. These steps are very important to organize the pantry. Thanks for share these steps with us I hope these steps help me to organize my pantry. Please keep sharing.

    1. I don’t blame you for sneaking a peak every time you go by! It looks amazing. I just redid my linen closet, and I do the same thing.

  6. I don’t blame you for sneaking a peak every time you go by! It looks amazing. I just redid my linen closet, and I do the same thing.

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