If your pantry is a closet of chaos, it can be extremely difficult to find the things you need when you are making dinner or filling up a lunch box. If you spend more time trying to find specific ingredients than actually preparing your meal, it is time to organize your cupboard.

Pantries are usually incredibly small spaces, but if you organize yours properly and use the right storage items, the space can be a big solution to the kitchen storage problems many of us have.

If you are looking for clever ways to maximize your pantry space, here are twelve ideas and hacks that will make the tiniest pantry feel spacious.

Getting Started

organized pantry

The first thing to do when you are tackling a pantry-organizing project is to completely clean it out. Remove every item of food, container, dish, and anything else that you have tossed into the space. Then, take the opportunity to clean the walls and shelves, and maybe even add a fresh coat of paint or some shelf liners.

Then, on your kitchen counters and table, sort everything that you plan to put back in the pantry. Put things into groups like cereal, chips, snacks, bread, baking items, and spices, so you can determine what kind of containers and extra shelving that you need.

1. Under Shelf Baskets

Undershelf baskets

Undershelf wire baskets, like these from the Container Store, allow you to max out your vertical storage space, and they are perfect for holding items like loaves of bread, bags of beans or rice, boxes of foil or plastic wrap, spices, hand towels, or anything else that takes up space in your kitchen.

These baskets are a must for pantry-organization because they multiply your pantry's capacity, and at the same time, they give dedicated space to specific items.

2. Clear Storage Containers

clear storage container pantry storage

Another must for small pantries, clear storage containers will ensure that your food stays fresh while using the full height of your shelves. Instead of looking at various packaging every day, use clear containers with labels and stickers to identify what is in the container, as well as the expiration date.

This is one of the best ideas to make your pantry look neat and organized. The more things that you take out of the packaging and put into clear containers, the better off you are. They come in all shapes and sizes, and as A Beautiful Mess demonstrates, using these containers can make your pantry beautiful, as well as functional.

A bonus feature of clear storage containers is that you can attach a small hook to them, and hang a measuring cup to scoop what's inside.

3. Use The Door

pantry door storage options

The door to your pantry is the perfect place to add an organizer for extra storage space. Using an over-the-door storage solution like a pocket shoe-rack or installing wire racks can create the perfect place to store items that you need quick and easy access to.

This is a great place for cooking tools, spices, foil, single-serving snacks, and often-used condiments. Just remember to keep things light. You don't want to weigh the door down with bulky items.

4. Organize Your Tupperware

organized tupperware

Because plastic food storage containers come in various sizes and shapes with different lids, it takes about ten minutes for my collection to become a mess. To fix this problem, simply dedicate a specific space in your pantry for your Tupperware, and group the bottoms by size. Then, use a plate rack to organize your lids.

5. Use Wire Or Plastic Bins For Different Categories

plastic storage bins

Wire or plastic bins are the perfect tool for storing similar items on your pantry shelves while avoiding getting them mixed up with everything else. After sorting all of your pantry items, group them in categories like salty snacks, baking items, soup cans, grains, produce, and canned veggies. Then, purchase bins for each category to place on your pantry shelves, instead of storing everything randomly.

Also, keep the kids in mind. It is smart to have a snack bin on a lower shelf that they can easily access. This solution will keep your child from having to hunt for a snack, and could possibly keep them from knocking other things over while they look for a treat.

6. DIY Snack Station

DIY snack station

Speaking of snacks, if you have single-serving bags of chips covering your pantry shelves, you can use every inch of your pantry by installing a snack station on narrow wall space. This DIY idea from 11 Magnolia Lane costs just ten bucks, and it gives your family easy access to a salty treat.

7. Hanging Clips

rubbermaid hanging clips

If you choose to keep your food in its original packaging, open bags can cause a problem when it comes to storing them in the pantry. To keep them organized, use hanging clips on your wire shelves or baskets to store open bags of chips, cereal, or bread. This way, they can hang freely and avoid getting crushed.

8. Tiered Shelves

tiered pantry shelves

If you have deep shelves, adding a tiered shelf can help you easily access items in the back, and at the same time they keep you organized. This option from The Container Store is perfect for spices, but there are larger options perfect for cans of soup and vegetables, as well as bottles of oil and jars of sauces.

9. Pegboard

pantry pegboard

If you have empty wall space in your pantry --- or it is an open space without a door --- adding a pegboard can instantly make everything organized and tidy. You can add hooks to the board to hang cooking tools and free up drawer space, add baskets to hold produce, and shelves for even more container space. This idea from The Decor Fix is affordable and easy to install.

10. Lazy Susans

lazy susan

If you have dead-end space in the corners, adding a Lazy Susan is a clever organization tool. By simply mounting circular discs on your shelves, you will be able to use every inch of the space. Plus, they give you easy access to items, so you don't have to dig.

Emily from Decor Chick gave her pantry a makeover with Lazy Susans, and the result was beyond awesome.

11. Sliding Shelves

siding pantry shelves

If your pantry is the size of a tiny linen closet, sliding shelves like this idea from the Shelf Genie could possibly be your best option. Instead of wondering what is sitting on the back of the top shelf or stuffed in the bottom corner, install pull-out shelves to give you easy access to everything you have stuffed in your pantry. Plus, you can sort your items on different shelves for better organization.

12. Rolling Carts

rolling kitchen storage cart

Portable storage is a great option for big items like cases of water, extra paper towels, or a stand mixer. Rolling carts are a sturdy storage option that you can hide in your pantry, and then easily roll out when you need it.

Organizing your pantry is an easy project that can make your life so much simpler when you use the right system and storage products. Clear containers, extra shelves, baskets, and door storage can help you use every inch of your pantry in a clean, organized, and efficient manner.

However, before you go out and purchase your pantry storage items, it is a good idea to measure your shelves, so you have an idea of the space you have to work with. Then, all it takes is an afternoon to make your pantry an organizational heaven where you can always find what you are looking for.

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