Small pantries are hard to work with. You only have limited space at hand and you have to ensure that everything that you store in the pantry is easy to reach and doesn’t clutter the space.
Pantries usually have a lot of food stored in them, so much food that you don’t even know if some of them have expired. If you haven’t cleaned out your pantry in a while, it could look like a complete mess with stuff all over the place. This can make it a nightmare to find things, not to mention to find room to store new stuff.
Getting organized is a good way to ensure that you are using your pantry in the best way possible. You don’t want to be over-organized, because this may make it difficult to live with. That being the case, not having the pantry organized at all could make life really stressful for you. This is why you need to seek a balance between the two.
Organizing small spaces can be a difficult task and if you are working with a small pantry, you could have your work cut out for you. Hence without further adieu, here is our list of 17 tips to help you make the most out of that small pantry.
1.Clear Out the Clutter
One of the first things that you would have to do when organizing a pantry is clearing out the clutter that is already present. This might mean taking everything out from the pantry and weeding out the expired goods and the goods that you no longer want.
This can be a very time-consuming process, however, it is the first thing that you have to do. Before you make any changes to your pantry and start organizing the goods, you have to empty it out and weed out what you don’t need.
You can clear out your dining room table and use the space that you have to work out exactly what you want to keep and what you are looking to throw out.
You want to check and each and every item for expiration dates and keep the ones with the dates closer to expiry in a separate pile. This is because you want to use the soon expiring stuff first and would ideally store them in the front of the pantry.
It is also a good time to relocate the stuff that you stored in the pantry that doesn’t really belong in the pantry. This is a great decluttering technique for it allows you to regain the space in your already small pantry.
Don’t simply assume everything is still in date. Take the time to check the products one by one and ensure that you don’t have expired stuff. At the end of the day, you don’t have room to waste.
While everything is empty, do a gentle clean of the pantry and vacuum out any crumbs and pieces which may have spilt on the shelves.
2. Sort Through the Stuff
Now that you have taken everything out of the pantry and have weeded out the stuff that you don’t need, it is time to sort through everything and categorize them into piles. This will make it so much easier for you to store everything in your small pantry.
With a small pantry, you don’t have a lot of space to work with. This means that you have to ensure that you aren’t cluttering the space with a can of soup here and a can of soup there.
Keep all similar items in one place; this is a real space saver and an excellent organizational skill.
For instance, if you are looking to categorize your content, you can break them down into categories such as,
- Baking items
- Canned Food
- Breakfast Food
When you are sorting through everything and categorizing them, what is important is that you take your best interest into the equation. What are the types of things that you would benefit from keeping together? Do you eat a lot of chips, in which case you may benefit from having a separate chip pile?
You can even sort and organize your small pantry based on the meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks). This can be a good way to organize your small pantry. Figure out what type of sorting works best for you and your family and go with that. You don’t have to stick to our list of categories we provided; that was just to help guide you.
3. Make a Plan
When you are working with a small pantry, it is important that you have a plan in place to ensure that you are able to store everything you need.
For this, you would need a rough idea of how big the pantry is and how much stuff you can store in it. Take a quick measure of the shelves of the pantry, such as the height, the width and the depth. This will give you a good understanding of how big your small pantry actually is and how much stuff you can store on each shelf.
You would also be doing yourself a favour by measuring the shelf space, for it will enable you to purchase the right size of bins, baskets and organizing containers. Make a note of the measurements when you are shopping for these organizing items to ensure that what you buy actually fits into your pantry.
This is also a good time to work out a plan of action. When looking for inspiration, try to steer clear of pantries that look amazing; looks can be deceiving. What you need to do is think of functionality first. Try to understand what works for you and go with that. Don’t simply try to turn your pantry into a photo of a pantry you saw, because you thought the photo looked cute.
Now is a good time to answer some of those questions that you might have about how you want your small pantry to look. You may ask yourself, what items in the pantry take up the most space, so can award the right shelves for the right stuff. You may also want to ask yourself if you want to use containers and if so clear containers or not. Clear containers will help you see what is held on the inside without you having to dig in and check every time.
Would you like labels on your food or jar? Would you prefer using containers or glass jars to store your grains and pasta? How do you want to decorate your pantry, do you want wallpaper or a colour scheme.
These are all questions you should be asking yourself. Remember, now is the time to plan things out. Hence take the time to understand what you need and ask yourself those questions about how you want the outcome to look.
4. Get Some Storage Bins and Containers
Whether it is bins, containers or baskets that you want to store things in, you need something that will put an end to those bulky boxes and bags. This will tremendously help your decrease the amount of clutter in your small pantry.
These pantry organizational items can be very affordable. Hence you don’t have to go out of your way to spend too much money on them.
These organizational items will make your task of maintaining an organized pantry much easier. It will ensure that you store the right stuff in the right container, which will make it so much easier for you to find what you are looking for.
One of the most annoying things that can happen is not being able to find what you were looking for and having to pull almost everything out of the pantry in search of this one item. Using organization items helps you prevent this completely because everything you store will have a designated container in which you store them.
5. Get Yourself a Can Organizer
If you are looking to store a lot of cans in your pantry, you should really get your hands on a can organizer. This can go on the bottom shelf of your pantry and can hold all your canned goods in one place.
A can organizer can be a great way to keep cans organized, making it easier to find the can that you are looking for. Again, when you are looking to purchase a can organizer, you want to keep your pantry measurements in mind and purchase something that fits in your pantry.
A can organizer can really help you save space on the shelves for other items. It also makes it easy for you to keep track of your inventory, for you would be able to clearly see what you have in stock and what you need to restock on.
6. Throw Away Large Boxes
When you are looking to store chips and snacks that usually come in large boxes, you would be losing a whole lot of space if you look to store the whole box in the pantry.
Simply storing everything in the boxes they come in can be easy, however, you would find yourself wasting so much space.
It is best to simply take the stuff out of the boxes and store them in containers. That way, when you are running out of stock, firstly you would be able to see that you are. Secondly, you don’t have a whole box taking up space in your pantry when the box only contains one bag of chips.
This is a great way to free up space in the pantry and can give you a need lease on life. It will work to make your pantry look nicer and more organized.
7. Find a Space for the Spices
When it comes to organizing your pantry, you don’t want to forget your spices. If you store your spices in your pantry, you might know how inconvenient it can be when you can’t find the spice that you are looking for.
Hence keep the spices separate. That way, you won’t spend precious minutes while cooking, looking for that one seasoning in the pantry that you knew was in there somewhere.
The best thing that you can consider when looking to organize and store spices are lazy susans. It can work to make life so much easier for you. You would be able to quickly see all the seasonings that you have and give it a quick spin to search for what you are looking for.
Lazy susans come in tiers, so again, check your measurements and pick the size that works best for you. You can store all your spices, salt, pepper and condiments. You can even store taller seasoning, jars and cooking sprays in deep lazy susans.
8. Leave the Extra Space
You don’t have to clutter the whole space and fill everything up. In fact, you should leave some room for growth and changes that may come about. This little extra space could mean the difference between you shoving everything here and there and finding a small space for a new item in the pantry.
We know, when you are dealing with a small pantry, extra space almost doesn’t exist. However, if you have done things right, you should have made effective use of the space and should be able to source out a few empty corners if not anything else.
9. Try a Pegboard
When you are working with a small space, you should make use of every square inch that you can find. This means trying your hands on a pegboard. Now you may be thinking, how can you hang food on a pegboard?
Well, there are two ways of thinking about this. Firstly, the pantry and the cleaning closet can be one and the same thing for many people. For those who store cleaning items and rags in your pantry, get your hands on a pegboard. You could even try installing a pegboard on the door of your pantry if it appears feasible. Otherwise, a few hooks might serve the purpose too. This will allow you to hang the cleaning items on the pegboard or hooks to help you save pantry space.
Another way in which pegboards can be used is bags. You can bag the stuff like chips and fruits and nuts and hang them on a pegboard. Though you have to go the extra length of having to go through the bag and doesn’t sound as fancy as pulling something out of the pantry, it can be a real space saver. So long as you break everything into workable categories, this should be an organized means to store more stuff.
10. Label Everything
When you are using clear containers and are storing things in bins, you want to go the added length and label everything that you have at hand. This will make it so much easier for you to find what you were looking for.
Imagine not being able to find the container that you are looking for and having to go through each and every container. Labelling the containers can be a real time saver.
A well-organized pantry is always well labelled. Hence go the extra length, make use of that handy label maker and make some nice labels that will make it easier for you to find what you are looking for.
Sure, using clear containers may make it easier for you to spot what you are looking for. However, adding labels to the containers really doesn’t hurt. Trust us when we say this, it is a real time saver.
11. Use Airtight Containers
You can use airtight containers for your cereal, biscuits and even sugar. It works well to prevent things like cereal from going stale and ensure that they are maintained fresh.
They also prevent things from leaking, which can easily attract pests. For instance, if you store sugars in a bag, it can be easy to spill inside the pantry, making a mess.
Hence opt for airtight containers. It will make storing things in your pantry so much better. Think about it, the less spilt in the pantry, the less you have to clean, the more likely you would have a cleaner pantry and the more organized it will remain.
12. Keep Your Kids Stuff Separate
This may be a useful thing to do with a small pantry. If you have kids and they tend to go snooping through the pantry for snacks and treats, the best thing that you can do is add a separate container for the kids.
This way, they don’t pull this and that out from the whole pantry and make a mess. You can restock this container every so often and the kids can simply reach into this specific container and get what they are looking for.
Less of a mess, the more organized the pantry shall remain and everyone is happy. It is a win-win situation.
13. Hang Things
If you aren’t using the hanging spaces you aren’t using all of your small pantry. Install small hanging baskets and you can store your nuts and snacks in them.
If you have the option to hang stuff in your small pantry, you should. This can be a good space saver and can work to add additional space to your pantry.
You can use hanging clips to hang open bags of chips and pretzels. The snacks would then hang and dangle freely where you have ease of access to them.
14. Use the Back Door
One of the more overlooked things, when you are organizing a small pantry, can be the back door. The back door often has room for you to store more things in but usually doesn’t come with holders.
Install some holders to the back of the door and you will have even more room in your small pantry. This can be a great way to expand on the amount of shelf space that you have and can provide plenty of room to store things.
You can store some of the things that are most accessed on the back of the door for ease of access. This way, every time you reach for something you frequently use, it is found easily behind the door and not somewhere inside where you might have to dig and search.
Use the back of the door, it can be a great space saver and an excellent way to add more space to a small pantry.
15. Use Properly Sized Containers
When you are looking to use containers, you may want to pick up the biggest container. This would mean one of two things. Either you find yourself with not enough stuff to fill the big container which means you are wasting space. Or, you would pile things that don’t belong together in one container which will increase the clutter.
When picking containers, size really does matter. You want to pick something that is the right size for what you are looking to store in them. Don’t go out of your way to purchase something big. At the same time, you don’t want to purchase something that is too small and cannot fit everything that needs to go inside.
Take some time to understand what you will be stored in the container. Take yourself back to the plan that you made for yourself. You would have the measurements of the pantry and you should also have a good idea of how much stuff you would be storing. Go with the direction you have and pick a container size that works for each category on this list.
16. Move Stuff To the Kitchen
If you are cluttered on space, you can think about moving some of the stuff out of the pantry into the kitchen.
Your kitchen may have space for a shelf on the wall or a hanging basket from the ceiling. This would provide you with more storage opportunities for you to store some of the stuff that you normally would in the pantry, in the kitchen.
If you don’t have a lot of space in your pantry and are having trouble with making enough room for everything that you need to store, get creative and think outside the box. A hanging basket for instance can store your grains and pasta, even your fruits and snacks. A shelf can be a great way to store your breakfast items. Albeit, you won’t be able to store everything in the kitchen, what you store in the kitchen would mean less space needed in the pantry.
Hence, move whatever you can to the kitchen and leave room in the pantry for the essentials that you are looking to store.
17. Don’t Over-Organize and Stay Committed
When you are working with a small pantry space, you don’t want to overcomplicate things and you don’t want to organize the pantry to such an extent that it becomes difficult to live with. By that we mean, over time, you are more likely to clutter the space due to the fact that things are over-organized.
Don’t overcomplicate things and try to do too much. Keep it simple and you should be fine. What is more important is that you commit to the bit and don’t let the clutter build up. The more you allow yourself to slip, the more likely you would have to reorganize your pantry again.
Hence keep in mind to keep the pantry as clean as possible and keep things organized the way you intend to. Stick to the plan and you should be fine. Take some time to show the whole family what goes where. This way, everyone is informed. It is less likely that someone would shove something in the pantry or shove snacks and stuff here and there. They would have a better idea of where everything goes.
Stay committed to the pantry and you should be fine. One of the biggest mistakes that people make is not being committed to the organized pantry. Since you have done the task of organizing the pantry, do everything you can do to keep it organized.
How to Organize My Small Pantry?
Categorize, sort, plan and implement. These are the steps that you would have to take to ensure that you have an organized small pantry that is both functional and nice to look at.
Get your hands on some containers, bins or baskets and label them appropriately. Then make separate spaces for everything that you are looking to store. If you can find a way to transfer things from the pantry and bring them into the kitchen, do that. This might mean, storing pasta and grains in a hanging basket in the kitchen, or storing spices in a spice rack.
Do what you can to save space in the pantry and add additional elements to your pantry to make it more spacious (this include adding holders to the back of your pantry door.)
With everything said and done, if you follow the tips that we have set out for you, you should be able to effectively organize your small pantry. It can be a lot of work, however, the perks of having an organized pantry are worth the effort.
We hope that you take our tips into account and make this happen for yourself. You deserve an organized space. Thanks for reading this word to word and we hope that we were able to inform and direct you to attain the results you are looking to achieve.