Ever wonder what lies behind those beautiful kitchen cabinet photos? Is it organized or total chaos? By following a few of these tips, you’ll be on your way to having organized kitchen bliss. Learn how-to-organize-pantry-cabinets and see exactly how I do it in my kitchen.
Designing a Kitchen
When we decided to gut our existing kitchen and design a completely new layout, I had a few must-have items: an island/bar for eating, drawers for storage, and PANTRY CABINETS! This section of cabinets houses almost every bit of food we have in our home, and I love having it all in one place.
We chose to have two 24″-deep pantry cabinets built to the left of the refrigerator, with another 24″-cabinet above the (so it was even with the fridge). To the right, we have the four 15″-pantry cabinets.
The deep cabinets are great for larger items, but I prefer the shallow cabinets for smaller items, so it’s less likely for something to get lost and provides easy access for things you use daily.
Organizing the 24″-Deep Pantry Cabinets
For the top cabinet, I keep a long, sturdy basket on the bottom shelf full of chips, so it’s lightweight and easy to pull down and grab what you want. I don’t keep much on the top, except overflow chips when I buy extra, so that’s mostly unopened bags. It’s not easy for me to reach, so it’s just my stockpile storage.
The longer bottom cabinet, houses lesser used items. The CrockPot and egg poaching pan are on the bottom shelf, along with my slow-cooker liners (to make clean-up easier). If I didn’t store them together, I would forget to use them.
Tools and other miscellaneous items are in a wooden box on the second shelf. There are drill bits, picture hanging tools, command strips, zip ties, clamps, and a tiny broom and dustpan by OXO for small crumb cleanup.
The third shelf has our drill and batteries, tool bag, our Magic Bullet blender and disposable gloves I like to use for cooking.
I hate having knives out on the counter, so I keep my sharp knives on the top shelf for safety, along with grilling tools and our hand mixer.
Above the Fridge
This is the place for keeping items you RARELY use. I keep holiday items, vases, large serving trays, etc. I am also vigilant about keeping cleaning items and detergents HIGH for safety reasons, so this is where I keep cleaners I use for the kitchen. I keep them in the front, so I can easily reach them (on my tip toes). Honestly, I clean almost everything with a Norwex cloth or wet, soapy paper towel, so these cleaning items are reserved for extra dirty jobs.
Top 15″ Pantry Cabinets
I like to keep cereal on the top shelf, with the labels facing out so I know what everything is. Below on the lower shelf, I keep breakfast items, like oatmeal, Pop Tarts, etc. We positioned the shelves so the top had enough room to house lightweight and tall cereal boxes. Do you see I don’t like to keep heavy stuff over my head?
On the right top cabinet, I have some taller items that wouldn’t fit on the other side, like oatmeal, bisquick, pancake mix. This is where I keep dry items, like rice and quinoa. I store all the rice in a clear plastic tray so it’s easy to pull down from the top shelf when I need it. I keep all our pasta on the lower shelf with things like boxed macaroni and cheese and baking mixes.
Bottom Left Pantry Cabinet
I keep liquids and glass bottles on the top shelf. For smaller bottles and sticky things (honey, molasses, vinegar), I put them on a lazy susan. It cuts down on mess on the shelf itself. It also prevents something from getting lost in the back and provides easy access for small items. You don’t always have to spend money for organizing tools. I keep bottles organized in an old root beer carton.
Below is a short shelf for crackers. I just turn the boxes so the fit the best. I keep Rice Krispie treats and granola bars in the basket. The clear bin has extra crackers that aren’t in a box. This is a good place to put bags of pita chips and pretzels, so they are easy for anyone to grab.
The bottom two shelves are the shortest in height, so our bread fits nicely in one. For the other, I keep a wire basket for snacks and store extras of things like mayo, peanut butter and Nutella. Our drill charger is also plugged in here.
Right Pantry Cabinet
All our canned goods are on the top shelf. I have two plastic, stair-step organizers with rubber, side-by-side. I can easily fit all the cans and unopened jars and bottles here.
Below, we have a basket for fruit snacks and miscellaneous items. I keep all our seasoning packets and dressing mixes in a clear plastic container. Tea is beside it.
Dried fruit and nuts are in another clear plastic bin, and I have a large basket where we keep Goldfish crackers and maybe another bag of snacks.
We love using paper plates, so I keep them on this narrow shelf, and on the bottom, I have a basket for onions and garlic, and use this white holiday bowl for potatoes.
Tips for Keeping Organized Pantry Cabinets
My number one tip for keeping things organized is not to buy too much. Keep enough that you have one or two of everything, but if you’re stockpiling food and supplies, keep it somewhere else outside of where you keep your everyday items.
Adjust your shelves so the shelf height makes sense to you and fits your needs. They don’t all need to be evenly spaced and probably won’t be as useful if they are. My shelf for bread of about 6″, but it’s perfect for bread and gives me so much more room on the top shelf for taller items like bottles.
Group like items so you know where everything is. If everything has a place, you’ll be more likely to put it in its place. If nothing has a place, it becomes a disorganized mess quickly. It’s also important to do regular audits, so you don’t have items that are expired or no one likes taking up all your room. Inevitably, this will happen. I can’t forget the HUGE bag of french fried pickles from Sam’s we never ate.
I like to keep the boxes and labels where I can read them, and just makes your pantry look nicer, overall. It also makes it easier for me to recall what I have at home when I’m at the grocery, helping me avoid buying things I don’t need or already have.
Take things out of the package and reorganize them. I like to cut (or tear) the tops of boxes off so the flaps are out of the way and everything is easy to grab. Your pantry will be neater without all those flaps and you won’t have to mess with closing them all the time.
There are all kinds of great kitchen organization and storage items around. I love Bed, Bath & Beyond and TJ Maxx for these things. They’re perfect for keeping smaller items organized, like spice packets, dried fruits, nuts, etc. Think of a lazy susan for easy access. Don’t forget simple baskets, boxes, and even bowls of different sizes for storage. You already have things around your house that will work!