Open-Shelf Pantry Organizing Tips

Let’s stick with tips on how to organize kitchens again today, shall we? If you are really lucky, you also have a pantry.

In an ideal world, a pantry is a closet inside your kitchen, conveniently located near your fridge. Heck, in an ideal world, your pantry comes with a butler named Jeeves to bring in your groceries. We can’t have it all, right?

Open-Shelf Pantry Organizing

Technically this isn’t a pantry; it’s just some shelves mounted in a laundry nook, which makes it super easy to get to.

True confession: an organized pantry makes me happy. It doesn’t even have to be decorated to make me happy. The emotional appeal of sturdy shelves and stacked dry goods should not be overlooked. Why do you think big companies like Target spend millions of dollars on their store layouts? They know an organized store makes you want to stay longer; organized shelves make it easy for you to grab what you need.

After shopping, it’s easy to toss the groceries in your pantry and make a dash for the next thing on your to-do list. I get it. So let’s keep it simple to go from this before to the frog-approved, organized after.

Pantry Before Organizing:

Open shelf pantry BEFORE organizing


Take a look at the after from top to bottom, and then I’ll give you some tips for maximizing space in your pantry.


Pro Tips for Organizing an Open Pantry

Wall-mounted shelves are fabulous to let you maximize vertical storage space. Adjust them to the right height for what you are storing.

Shelves don’t need to be deep to be useful. Twelve inches deep is ideal. Even six or eight inches can be useful, too.

It’s critical to get rid of package clutter as soon as possible. Keep a recycle bin nearby.

I’ve never met a pantry that didn’t also have bags. Designate storage for paper, plastic, and freezer tote bags. When you have enough, recycle the rest.

Keep things safe by hanging brooms and bags that would otherwise be on the floor. You know I love to hang things up to get them off the floor, but I also like a self-standing broom and dustpan set like this one.

Group rarely-used dishes and trays up on the higher shelves, mostly out of the way.

Store the heavier items, like cases of soda, on the lower shelves, off the floor for safety.

“Shelving” your goods, like books in a library, can make it easier to get to everything.

“Facing” means turning the labels to face you, so you can see what you have at a glance.

Use the 2×2 rule. Only stack items two-deep and two-high so you never have to move more than one thing to get to items in the back.

Don’t have a pantry? All of these same ideas work just as well in your kitchen cabinets.

Pantry After Organizing:

Open shelf pantry organizing AFTER

Getting from this before to the after only took a few minutes. In fact, I organized this little space for fun while I was waiting for my client to get off a phone call before we tackled an entirely different project. If you have a pantry like this, it can take just 15 minutes to organize. And since this is an open pantry with no door, keeping it orderly can make you feel more organized every day.

The look of approval from Kermit the Frog is just icing on the cake.


Click here for more pantry organizing ideas.

Click here for the entire list of January organizing projects, and follow along all month.