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16 Pantry Organization Ideas You’ll Wish You Knew Before

Put your pantry in order (at last!) with these simple tips.

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Divide your pantry into “zones”

Every pantry worth its salt (pun intended) is divvied up into “zones,” or various cooking stations based on your day-to-day needs. Once you settle on the categories—such as weeknight dinners or holiday baking—assign an area in your pantry for each zone and label it. Not only will this trick help with pantry organization, but it also guarantees you’ll find what you need in a pinch. Need some inspiration? These are the zones every organized pantry should have.

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Sort by category

Now that you have mellowed out the mess, take your pantry organization to the next level by sorting the pantry foods within each zone, too. We recommend separating items into basic groups, such as grains, sauces, and canned goods.

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Contain clutter

Clear, labeled containers are a cluttered cook’s best friend. Store bulk cereals, rice, and other dry goods in plastic jars or buckets to effortlessly tidy up your pantry. Better yet, keep a small measuring cup on the side of each container with a command hook for convenient scooping. Don’t make these mistakes that make your kitchen look sloppy.

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Place onions and garlic in mesh laundry bags

Believe it or not, onions, garlic, and other room-temperature produce belong in mesh laundry bags—not your pantry shelves. But this pantry organization hack does more than reduce clutter; you can prevent the dry skins from littering the pantry floor and shelves, too. Plus, the mesh bags also boost air circulation, keeping the produce fresh for much longer.

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Tidy up your Tupperware

Thanks to the various sizes of plastic containers and lids, it’s all too easy for your Tupperware collection to run amok. Try grouping the bottoms on one shelf and stacking the lids vertically with a plate rack on another. You’ll never have another runaway lid again.

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Use zip ties to hang utensils

If you keep any cooking utensils in your pantry, a few extra dollars can save you tons of time down the road. Loop zip ties through the handles’ holes and hang the cookware on a rack or hook. That way, they will be easier to grab the next time you need to whip up a busy weeknight meal.

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Turn shelves into drawers

Deep shelves can often cause food items to disappear. Pull-out drawers, on the other hand, will allow you to stock your pantry to its brim—no frantic searching required. Don’t miss more secrets personal organizers won’t tell you for free.

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Store plastic bags the smart way

Let’s be honest: We all have an ever-multiplying pile of plastic grocery bags, and it can be a serious eyesore in our kitchens. To keep the bags tucked away but still easily accessible, roll them up and stuff them in an empty Clorox container.

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Make your dishes do double duty

Dishes that aren’t used every day, such as cake stands, can double as extra storage for pantry organization. Simply place small bowls and ramekins both on top and underneath them on the pantry shelf.

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Hang a shoe organizer on the door

Instead of letting random snacks, seasoning packs, and Kool-Aid packets clutter up your pantry (and hog valuable shelf space), hang a shoe organizer on the door and fill the slots with those loose items. You’ll want to steal these habits of clutter-free people, too.

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Purchase a pegboard

Home cooks in a hurry might appreciate a pantry pegboard. You can use the hooks to hang everything from heavy pots and pans to random utensils and gadgets. Suddenly, your meal-prepping session just got so much faster (and more organized!). Here are more organization tips for pots and pans.

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Use slim bins to store more

Looking to maximize your shelf space? Look no further. Whether you live in a mansion or studio apartment, keeping dry goods in tall (or flat), skinny containers will help you get more bang for your buck.

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Invest in wire baskets

Just a few wire baskets can clean up a cluttered pantry. Attach them to the back of the door to display small jars and bottles, or place them on a shelf to store canned and dry goods. Voila! You have magically freed up one shelf’s worth of extra storage in seconds.

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Get creative with household items

Magazine holders aren’t just ho-hum accessories for your desk; they can also be nifty fixtures for your pantry. Use them to store your cereal boxes, canned goods, or even tubes of aluminum foil and plastic wrap. If you’re tight on cash, empty soda boxes can do the trick, too. 

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Clip and hang bags of food

You can finally put those pesky clip hangers for clothing to good use. Rather than letting bags of chips and other snacks pile up in your pantry, clip and hang them up on a small curtain rod underneath a shelf. Here are more brilliant uses for ordinary kitchen tools you never thought of.

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Use a shower organizer to store produce

While a regular bowl is probably your go-to for produce storage, a shower organizer might be a better alternative. Hang it on an empty wall and line up your fruits and veggies accordingly. Doing so can clear the shelves for more important items, like your secret stash of cookies. That’s not the only way to tidy up your space, though. Now that you have pantry organization down, try these 50 tips for organizing your entire home.