How to organize your pantry in 6 quick steps

Now is a great time to organize your kitchen pantry before the holiday rush.

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As we step away from BBQ season and toward holiday entertaining season, it’s a good time to put a little focus and attention on the pantry. It’s is one of the highest traffic zones in the home because it is used most frequently.

Tidying and organizing your pantry not only helps you maximize space and create function and flow, it also helps you save time, eliminate over-purchasing, make sound nutritional choices, teach children independence and feel less stressed.

Here is a 6-step system anyone can do to organize their pantry.

Purge and declutter

Go through your pantry and pull everything out so you can see what you have. Toss any expired food and set aside any unopened foods that you have no intention of using and donate to a food bank.

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Make sure you are giving yourself an adequate amount of time for this task as it tends to create a mess. If you are strapped for time, start small by only purging one shelf or cupboard at a time.

Ensure you have compost bags by your side while you are purging your pantry. These are great for properly disposing of any expired food that you come across.


Once everything has been removed from your pantry, it is an excellent time to give it a thorough clean. Using an all-purpose eco-sustainable natural spray is critical especially in a space where your food is stored.
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Group and zone

Begin grouping all ‘like with like’ food categories into piles on your kitchen counter and table. This will help you know what you have on the go and eliminate the pesky habit of over-purchasing and under-using.

This also will assist with the next step – you need to know the standard quantity you have in each food category before you purchase containment. Categories you may have include: breakfast, syrups and spreads, salty snacks, sweet snacks, school snacks, pasta and grains, baking, canned goods, condiments & sauces, oils & vinegars, dinner, etc.


Use sticky-notes to assist with categorizing your various grouped piles of food. This will be especially helpful if you are completing this task with a friend or your children. The task can be overwhelming with many piles scattered everywhere, and labeling piles with a sticky will help you stay on track and organized.


Every sticky-note needs to be accompanied by a Sharpie. Use these for writing your labeled grouped items.
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Containing your items is critical, it gives your brain a visual cue that things have a specific spot to live and serves as a great accountability partner. When items are free-floating on shelves it is an open invitation for more items to join and this is how chaos is created!

There are a few wonderful ways to contain pantry items: turntables, bins, individual containers. This truly depends on your space and personal preference of storage.

Clear bins are wonderful for storing items like snacks, pasta and grains, dinner items, etc. Ensuring bins are clear is essential so you can see what you have. Great for storing items you go through quickly (chips, crackers, boxed pasta).


A perfect solution for housing items like: syrups and spreads, oils and vinegars, and condiments. Lazy susans are fantastic for containing items and keeping them tidy while still allowing them to be incredibly accessible. Also, a very versatile product for various uses in the home.
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This 2-tier storage organizer helps maximize space in your pantry while also keeping it neat and tidy. This is perfect for storing canned goods or spices.
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Individual containers are great for storing dry goods, grains and lentils, baking flours, etc. These are airtight, stackable, and dishwasher safe making it easy to keep food fresh and counters clutter-free. Note – there are various sizes available. It is always recommended to buy the sizes you actually need instead of opting for boxed sets which may include sizes you would never use.


Learn to love your labels! The system is not complete without a label attached. Labels help everyone in the entire family know where to find items and where to put them back. They also add a nice aesthetic to the space – like the cherry on top of your dessert. Whether you’re writing the label on the jar yourself or using vinyl labels, they help with the longevity of organization.

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These self-adhesive pantry organization labels are preprinted on water-resistant transparent vinyl that can easily be replaced or removed if needed. These are ideal for large bins or canisters with lids


Easy to read and durable pantry labels with a minimalist design to help you know where everything in the pantry and keeps things uniformed, tidy, and aesthetically pleasing


Backstock zone

If you are a large family, chances are you are shopping in bulk which means you need storage for those excess items. Ensure you create a backstock zone for the extra packages and pantry items. A backstock zone should be a cupboard or shelf or drawer that is separate from your pantry itself. It is where all the ‘extras’ go and where you should source food items first before heading to the grocery store.

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These baskets are great for storing the extra stock and packages of your pantry food. Store these in a cupboard/shelf/storage area in your home


Go through your pantry with this same 6-step system every month to ensure you are keeping up with the organization. Schedule it into your calendar as if you have an important business meeting so you do not leave this as an annual chore.


Use the adhesive chalkboard roll by sticking to a pantry wall or cupboard. This is perfect to record a week’s grocery list, the last time your pantry was purged/edited, and other pantry reminders such as what food items are in the backstock zone.
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