Small Pantry Organization Ideas

Having a small pantry can be tricky, but you don’t have to minimize what you own to maximize your space. A little organization can help you get the most out of your space and save you time and money. Check out these easy tips and ideas if you’re looking for the best methods to organize your small pantry.

Use a Bin System

Bins, baskets, or storage containers holding multiple jars, boxes, or bags are key to organizing a small pantry. Use bins to group similar items, like jars of couscous, rice, and chia seeds.

This makes it easy for everyone in the house to know where to find something and where to put it back when they’re done with it. When everything has a designated spot, you can easily see what you need to pick up at the store (and what you don’t, which can save you money.)

A bin system also makes it simple to grab an entire group of items, whether you want to move them elsewhere or take them to the countertop to cook. If you have bakeware you don’t use often, use those pans as makeshift bins, and you’ll get a two-for-one storage solution.

Pro Tip: Label your bins! Labeling your bins makes it super easy to find what you need quickly without having to sift through the contents of different bins. This is especially helpful for bins on top shelves, allowing you to reach up and grab the correct container without having to peer inside.

Utilize Vertical Space                                                

Shelving systems are often installed to allow for equal space between all shelves. Unfortunately, food containers come in all shapes and sizes, leaving a lot of unused vertical space. Stack items of similar shapes and sizes to make the most of this space.

For foods in inconveniently shaped packages, simply re-package them into a clean sauce jar or Tupperware container that you can stack.

You can also create a second-tier shelf by installing a shelf riser, which gives you double the surface space on a tall shelf. If you’re designing your small pantry from scratch, consider installing a system with adjustable shelving, like our wire pantry shelves

High Spaces

Vertical space also includes the floor and the high-top shelves. These harder-to-reach spaces are often neglected, but they’re great for storage. Use these places for items you don’t need or use daily (or even weekly). Get a sturdy step stool small enough to store in the pantry and use it to reach the top shelf.

Some pantries don’t utilize their vertical space well enough, and there’s a significant gap between the final shelf and the top of the pantry. 

In this case, you have an excellent opportunity to test out some neat storage hacks like:

  • Hang a fruit basket from the ceiling and use it to store lightweight items you don’t use frequently or refills of things like napkins and paper towels
  • Use a command strip to hang reusable shopping bags filled with lightweight items that normally take up space in your kitchen or pantry. Ideas include ziplock bags, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, and more! You could also use this area to hang your reusable bag as is, keeping them out of the way and in a spot you’ll remember so you don’t keep buying new ones every time you shop.
  • Install an extra shelf! There’s no rule against installing an additional shelf in your pantry when you have the space. Find the right size for the space, make sure you have the right tools for the job, and DIY it!

Take Advantage of Wall or Door Space

If your pantry configuration leaves empty, unused space on a wall or the back of the door, don’t let that space go to waste. 

Consider some of the following ideas:

  • Install racks that provide additional storage. 
  • Cover these surfaces with magnetic paint, then use small magnetic containers to store spices or other items.
  • Tie pieces of heavy-duty string or wire across these surfaces and then use clothespins for bags of chips or onions.
  • Use mesh laundry bags to create a hanging “bin” for packaged items, like snacks for the kids.
  • Get an over-the-door shoe organizer and use the pouches to store food instead of shoes.

Maximize Your Pantry

Organizing a small pantry requires just a little imagination and a few household items you probably have lying around. To get the most out of your pantry space, learn more about our processes and determine the best solutions for your space.