June 19

12 Tips to Organize Your Small Pantry


A well-organized pantry is a dream for any kitchen. It saves time, energy, and money when you can find what you need without having to search every inch of the cupboard. Whether your space is large or small, here are some tips to make it easier.

You need to start with sorting through everything in your pantry and throw out anything that has expired or isn’t regularly used. This will give you an idea of how much room you have available for storing new items if needed!

Put like groceries together on shelves so they’re easy to grab. You can also store similar foods in glass jars with tight-fitting lids if there’s not enough shelving space – these are perfect for things like pasta sauce, chips, etc.

If you have a small pantry and need more space, there are things you can do. A small pantry doesn’t equal defeat, it just means you need to come up with some ideas to optimize that small pantry of yours. Look at your small pantry as a challenge. There are so many things you can do to make sure that space is working in your favor. Check out these tips to organize your small pantry.

Use bins when you can

When you’re looking at a pantry and can’t figure out where to put stuff, it’s time to think outside of the box. Think bins! You can easily store items in your pantry with bins. It’s also really easy to be organized whenever you use bins. You can even use Dollar Tree bins to organize the pantry.

Use up all the space

The really crazy thing about a pantry is that there is a lot of space in there. One tip to organizing a small pantry is to use up space. Look in all of the corners and don’t let any amount of space go to waste. I love these 8 smart storage ideas for little pantries.

Redo the pantry shelves

One thing I’ve noticed about a small pantry is every single one is different. If you want to organize the pantry, then maybe it’s time to redo the pantry shelves. There are so many pantry shelving options. In fact, you can check out these pantry shelving options.

Go for an expandable shelf

Think about it. When you have a small pantry, one of the best things you can do is buy expandable shelves. Expandable shelves are really cool because you can custom buy them to your pantry. They add a lot more space! I love these expandable shelves because you actually see the items that are in your pantry.

Use lettering for labeling

There are so many options for labeling pantry items these days. You can buy your own labeler if you’d like. If you have a silhouette, you can use paper to create your own labeling letters. You can also buy blank labeling tags to help you get that small pantry of yours organized.

Invest in swiveling storage

Think about it, if you don’t have a lot of space, sometimes you need to invest in swivel storage. Swivel storage is something that you can buy for your pantry. You can swivel it around to obtain what you need in the pantry. It works great for small pantries because you’re able to see everything you need or want.

Color coordinate your pantry

When you don’t have a lot of choices for organization of a small pantry, sometimes you just need to start small. One way to do this is by color coordinating your pantry. You can use this tip how you’d like. Here are a few tips on how to organize your space by color.

Utilize vertical space where you can

A lot of people don’t think about organizing their small pantry in a vertical manner. If you don’t have a lot of small horizontally, then don’t be afraid to go vertically. There are many vertical shelf options for a pantry that you can buy or even make.

Use the pantry door

If you have a pantry door that closes into the pantry, it’s time to take advantage of it. You can get an over the door organizer to help store some of your pantry items. Sometimes when you have a small pantry, you have to take advantage of weird spaces.

Clear the clutter once a month

Although you’d hate to admit it, sometimes your small pantry just has too much clutter in it. It’s a smart move to make it a point to declutter that space at least once a month. Mark it on your counter. The more you’re able to get rid of in your pantry, the more space you’ll have!

Utilize clear storage containers

What’s the point in using containers if you can’t see what’s in them? You can really organize your small pantry by utilizing clear storage containers. These clear storage containers will help you feel more organized too!

12. Two-tiered stands to the rescue

Really want to get that small pantry organized? Make sure you take advantage of two-tiered stands. These stands can help you get that pantry of yours organized in no time. It’s wonderful to know you have two levels to get everything organized.

If you’re looking for pantry ideas, I’ve collected the best ideas for you. When it comes to a small pantry, you don’t want to miss out on optimal storage space. If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear from you.


Frequently Asked Questions:

  • What are some basic tips to maximize space in a small pantry?

    Maximizing vertical space is key to optimizing a small pantry. Install floor-to-ceiling shelving on as many walls as possible to double or even triple your storage capacity. Prioritize shelving depth in corner areas since corners tend to go unused in shallow pantries. Shelves built up to the ceiling also allow you to store everything from extra paper goods to small appliances on top shelves instead of taking up premium real estate at eye level.

    Categorize like items together on shelves to consolidate them into a smaller footprint. Group all your pastas, grains, canned vegetables, canned fruits, baking items, snacks, etc. together rather than spreading them out. Consolidate everything into clear storage containers to maximize shelf space and instantly see inventory at a glance. Match container sizes to the category – i.e. smaller containers for spice storage versus larger for bulk snacks. This also prevents those loose cereal bags, boxes and packaging materials from eating up valuable space.

    Install multi-tiered racks, hanging shelves or over-the-door storage on the back of pantry doors to essentially create more usable wall space. Door storage is ideal for frequently-used items, small packages, fruit in hanging baskets and portable condiment caddies. Over-the-door shoe organizers with multiple pouches are inexpensive and versatile for everything from juice boxes to granola bars.

    When it comes to inventory, take a “first in, first out” approach to avoid food expiration waste and clutter from overloaded shelves. Keep the older packaged goods pushed to the front and arrange newer purchases in the back. Periodically scan expiration dates as you restock and pull items nearing expiration up front to be used next. A good habit is designating a quota for certain staples – for example, only keeping 2-3 types of pasta sauce on hand at once.

    Follow the mantra “out with the old, in with the new” by donating unopened extras before restocking more of an item you already have. Limit duplicate ingredients unless you know your family will use them quickly. Multi-packs and bulk sizes may strain storage abilities fast in a pint-sized pantry

  • What types of storage containers or organizers help optimize a small pantry?

    Clear plastic storage containers in a variety of sizes are invaluable for optimizing limited pantry space. Standard rectangular containers allow you to neatly stack bags of grains, snack boxes and other food in upright columns on shelves. Containers with snap-on lids keep everything airtight and pest-free. Labeled fronts make identifying contents easy since you can’t rely on spotting packaging when items are stored in containers.

    For narrow spaces between appliances or in corners, turn to slender can organizers that hold cans upright in rows. You can consolidate soup cans, vegetables, beans, tuna, etc. together rather than having loose cans spread out over valuable shelf space. Rotating lazy susan trays are perfect for corner spaces as well – spin the tray to access items rather than reaching around them.

    Tiered shelves, vertical dividers and hanging wall racks all multiply storage real estate in clever ways. Tiered shelves double or triple vertical storage on the same footprint. Hanging corner shelves utilize wasted air space. Wall-mounted vertical divider racks are great for baking sheets, cutting boards and other awkward items that previously leaned against walls.

    Don’t underestimate the organizational power of divided drawer inserts. Customize compartments to corral everything from foil, baggies and plastic wrap boxes to spice packets and loose utensils that clutter drawers. Slide-out trays, hooks and under-shelf wire baskets efficiently use “hidden” spaces under shelves or in cabinet backs.

    The door backs and insides of pantry doors end up wasted square footage if left empty. Solve this by covering both sides with sturdy over-the-door hanging racks or reusable storage pouches. These clear pockets are handy for juice boxes, single-serve snacks, fruit and condiments.

    If certain ingredients like flour only come in large, bulky packages, pour some into covered OXO Pop containers. This frees up space so backup bags can be stored behind or above yet still keeps necessary baking staples accessible below. Investing in some quality food storage containers will make the most of every inch while keeping your pantry contents viewable and organized.

  • Where can I find affordable storage containers for a small pantry?

    Big box stores like Target and Walmart offer a treasure trove of affordable, space-saving storage options for small and awkward pantries. Extensive container collections from made-for-small-spaces brands like OXO and Room Essentials start under $3.00 each. Standard storage sizes, multi-packs with lids, stacking ability and durable builds make these an affordable overhaul to chaotic shelves. Peruse end caps, dollar sections and seasonal aisles for ongoing deals too.

    Hardware and home improvement warehouses have an abundance of hidden organizational gems buried within. Venture into the storage solution aisles in Lowe’s or The Home Depot for parts and pieces that assemble into any custom pantry configuration imaginable. Mix and match wire shelving, corner racks, over-the-door options, Lazy Susans and hooks to boutique your pantry for a fraction of boutique prices. Their in-house brands also sell rectangular storage bins in all sizes for $5-10 apiece.

    Dollar Tree deserves a deep dive for quirky containers you won’t spot elsewhere. Beyond rows of standard plastic bins, discover mini milk crates, oversized opaque jars, mesh produce bags, reusable storage pouches and multi-drawer carts begging to be hacked. Spice up your pantry with rainbow or clear acrylic canisters and pitcher sets for $1-5 each. Just confirm any off-brand, inexpensive plastics are food safe before filling them with edibles.

    Hit up local thrift stores in affluent areas for quality discarded pieces. Resale shops like Goodwill, Salvation Army and consignment stores yield secondhand wire shelves, racks and cabinets donors outgrew but pantries can still fit. Even a single new shelf dividing a narrow space multiplies organization. Clean them up nice to look built-in.

    Take cues from space-saving solutions sold for dorm rooms, RVs, boats and campers that transfer smartly to tiny pantries. Specialty stores like The Container Store offer brilliance through merchandise made to contain, compartmentalize and maximize every inch of real estate. Subscribe to organizational retailers’ email lists to receive periodic free shipping and % off offers before restocking your pantry tools.

    With some creative thinking outside the big box, discovering affordable organization for an itty bitty pantry is entirely possible on even the most modest budget.

  • What foods should I prioritize keeping in a small pantry?

    When dealing with limited space, best practice is to reserve your small pantry for versatile ingredients that serve as building blocks for assembling easy meals rather than pre-made or highly-specific items. Simple carbohydrates like pasta, rice, oats and quinoa stretch into leftovers and refrigerate or freeze well. Keep a range of shapes and textures like spaghetti, egg noodles, Arborio rice, quick oats and white quinoa.

    Canned proteins cover you for tacos, salads, casseroles, soups and more when fresh meats run out. Canned tuna, salmon, chicken, beans and lentils are MVP pantry items. They last ages on shelves and donate or discard any older cans before restocking fresh cases.

    Paring down seasonings to a few essentials leaves room for more flexible ingredients. Limit it to 2-3 types of oils, 2-3 vinegars, all-purpose seasonings like sea salt, garlic powder, cumin and a DIY “everything bagel” blend. Soy sauce, sriracha, lemon juice and honey let other flavors change identities. Reducing cornstarch and flour to one bag or container of each saves space too.

    When ingredients like nuts, chocolate chips or coconut leave you choosing between sweet or savory recipes, keep only a small amount of “sometimes foods” on hand. Rarely-used but bulky baking mix boxes and frostings are better left to grocery store trips only when needed. Same for oven-specific items like breads, frozen foods and meal kits taking over icebox space after one use.

    Keep a range of broths and tomato products to whip up everything from rice, quinoa, pastas or simple veggie sides into soups, chili and gravy. Canned or cartoned stocks like chicken, vegetable and beef broth condense into powdered bullion as a backup. Canned diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, paste and salsa jar up versatility.

    While fresh produce generally demands frequent grocery replenishment, prioritize lemons, garlic, onions, potatoes and other long-lasting fruits and vegetables. Hang bananas from pantry hooks to slow ripening. Supplement fresh with frozen fruits, veggies and even shredded cheese stored flat and stackable.

    Readily transforming simple pantry staples into all sorts of cuisine makes the most of each square inch while keeping your family fed with an ever-changing weekly menu.

  • How can I best organize canned and packaged goods in a small space?

    The key to optimizing canned and dry goods in tight quarters is consolidating like with like using vertical storage solutions. The objective is to arrange items compactly while keeping everyday use products readily accessible.

    Start by defining zones devoted to canned goods, baking staples, snacks, pasta/rice/grains, etc. Containers with category-labeled fronts streamline zones for quick ingredient identification without unpacking. Clear plastic bins allow visibility minus packaging. Standardized container sizes foster even stacking and vertical shelf use. Rectangular shapes occupy space efficiently unlike loose bags and boxes.

    Keep the most-used ingredients visible at eye level on middle shelves. Reserve upper shelves for backup supplies, lesser used items or bulk purchases you dip into less routinely. Since bending down is annoying, save bottom shelves for large, heavier cases of canned goods and litter items.

    Take advantage of vertical air space. Floor-to-ceiling shelving doubles storage capacity compared to waist-high cabinets. Stagger taller and shorter shelves/cabinets to maximize height variations. Install multi-tiered shelving, racks and cabinets that make layers work for you. Most households use only 50-60% of available vertical storage due to inefficient space planning.

    Use door backs creatively with over-the-door storage racks and hanging shoe organizer pouches. Mount corner Lazy Susans inside where shelves meet. Spinning turntables provide effortless access to items tucked away out of sight. Mount vertical divider racks on walls, doors or inside cabinets to stand upright awkwardly shaped packages.

    Eliminate the clutter and chaos of loose, torn bags and packages. Funnel rice, pasta, cereal, etc. from original packaging into large canisters. Anchor dispensers, slim can organizers and racks for canned goods to divvy up categories. Employ slide-out trays, racks and drop-down shelves to effectively use awkward narrow gaps around the perimeter too often left wasted.

    Embracing vertical real estate through shelving, racks and containers tailored to the categories and quantities of what you stock is the blueprint to maximize every inch of coveted pantry space.

  • What should I do if something is expired or I have duplicates in my small pantry?

    The downfall of a tiny pantry is wasted space on duplicate ingredients or expired foods you forgot existed behind newer purchases. These traps contribute to disorganization and failure to rotate stock efficiently. When shelf space is scarce, you must vigilantly purge unused extras before expiration dates creep up.

    Tackle pantry cleaning not as an annual project, but an ongoing process. Set calendar reminders to tackle your pantry every 3 months. Check dates on shelf-stable foods like canned goods, baking ingredients, condiments, sauces and dressings at minimum twice per year. As you put away groceries, get in the routine of scanning for expiry dates coming up in the next 3-6 months. Immediately pull closer to the front anything with less than a year until expiration or best by date.

    Collect all the short-dated foods together in one area like a cart or box. Then plan your menu for the next month around using many of them up. Get creative adapting into multiple meals, incorporating into freezer meals for later or donating. Calculate if realistically your family will polish off duplicates or extras before successor supplies expire. If not, donate any unopened extras to a local food bank.

    Prevent future duplicates by designating limits for staples – only 2 kinds of broth, pasta sauce, salsa, etc. After opening original packaging, only keep enough of certain ingredients for 1-2 months’ use before their quality declines. Powdered goods like flour and sugar can be decanted into airtight storage canisters. Only keep as many backup bags/boxes as will reasonably get used within 6-12 months.

    Make it easy to spot oldest and newest stock with clear storage bins, marking dates on lids in permanent marker or placing newest in the back. First In, First Out (FIFO) rotation is essential so oldest inventory gets selected first for meal prep.

    Build an ongoing process of weeding out soon-to-expire and duplicate supplies. Keeping limited shelf space clear of unwanted extras will ensure nothing gets shoved behind newer goods, forgotten until eventually hitting expiration without ever getting its turn in your kitchen.

  • How often should I take inventory and clean out my small pantry?

    At minimum, set a quarterly reminder to do a floor-to-ceiling pantry cleanout. Beyond just cleaning shelves and scrubbing containers, full inventory management should happen four times per year to avoid a leaning tower of forgotten foods. Take everything out, check expiration dates, identify duplicates and decipher what actually gets used versus taking up space.

    Start by removing everything – and yes, we mean everything – off the shelves and sorting ingredients into categories across your counter and table. As you handle each item, check the printed date codes or expiration dates, even on stored dry goods and canned items. Assess perishables like nuts, baking chips and flours and give them a sniff test. Sort shortest dates to the trash or donation bins and make a list to shop replacement items.

    Group like ingredients to spotlight excess duplicates hiding from even your own notice behind row two. Limiting backup provisions to what reasonably can get used before successor supplies expire saves space while keeping staples stocked. Ask when did I last use this? If it has been over a year toss forgotten impulse buys; hello random risotto mix gathering dust in the back.

    Now scrutinize unpacked groupings with fresh eyes. Which categories occupy the most real estate? Do you really require four kinds of granola? Seven types of broth? Three oils plus spray? Genuinely analyze where overbuying certain categories thwarts fitting other necessities comfortably on shelves.

    Donate or trash any swollen cans, opened packages attracting pests or greasy, hard-to-recycle packaging from those “I’ll use this someday” ingredients. Recycle exploded freezer-burned food bags so unsalvageable they turned into science projects. Deep clean shelves with a lysol spray before restocking a decluttered, streamlined pantry only filled with current ingredients supporting your family’s eating habits.

    Work from oldest to newest goods when restocking shelves back up. Box up new surplus unable to fit so it waits sealed in a garage stash versus crowding staples you already have open. Implementing this phased cleaning, purging and restocking process each quarter prevents drowning under an endless influx of incoming groceries before using up what already exists in-house. Setting seasonal reminders to table clear, wipe down and analyze everything occupying precious pantry space keeps order not chaos sustaining through the years ahead.

  • What tips do you have for efficiently storing baking ingredients in a small pantry?

    Baking generally requires a wider variety of ingredients than everyday cooking, from various flours, sugars, leaveners and salts to chocolate, nuts, coconut, oats, etc. Stockpiling all these specialty items can quickly overtake shelves in a pint-sized pantry. Getting creative and specific with storage solutions tailored to baking essentials prevents haphazard overflow ruining your organization.

    Start by measuring out staples like flour, sugar and rice from large, cumbersome bags into large quantity OXO POP containers suited for weekly to monthly use. Reserve unopened surplus bags upstairs or tucked out of sight below until needed next. POP containers’ airtight seals retain freshness once unbagged while transparent bodies eliminate guesswork identifying what’s inside.

    For stray smaller bags of nuts, chocolate or loose candy transfers; employ clear, stackable shoeboxes. Use washi tape and labels to define sweet additions versus savory goods in identical containers. Storage consistency de-clutters the chaos.

    Utilize vertical air space to your advantage. Install extra shelving/cabinetry specifically sized for awkward gear like very tall oat containers and wide baking sheets. Place everyday necessities middle shelf while stashing overflow or holiday cookie ingredients above and below. Can’t fit a standing Kitchenaid mixer? Build out a custom drop-down mixing station or slide-out tray storing attachments behind the appliance.

    Mount space-saving Metro shelves to stash miniature bulk bags of chocolate chips, m&ms, sprinkles, coconut and such. Utilize narrow spaces between or beside appliances to park tall skinny spice racks, paper towel holders or cooling racks upright. Hooks hanging from shelves or walls securely hold bulky items like flour sifters and silicone mats to clear counter chaos.

    Embrace stackability and double duty. Clear bins corralling bulk packets of yeast, baking powder and small custom blends slide in drawers or stow underneath larger containers. Repurpose kitchen tools like vintage tins or even planters as canisters. Mix materials – combine opaque, airtight staple holders with pretty glass jars showcasing fancier add-ins. The options for building up versus out are endless.

    With some Etsy-worthy inventiveness, even modest real estate can bootstrap a fully stocked bake shop inside your petite pantry.

  • How can I incorporate some small appliances like a coffee maker into a small pantry?

    When dealing with a tiny pantry, discovering creative ways to multitask storage is key, especially when it comes to squeezing in small appliances without sacrificing food storage. The good news is compact appliances like single-serve coffee makers, toaster ovens and electric kettles now come in slender, vertical builds perfect for tucking into tight spaces.

    Measure the narrowest area of wasted space in your existing pantry layout and shop for a streamlined coffee appliance with the same slim footprint. Contemporary options like Keurig K-Slim coffee makers claim less than 5 inches of width while still holding up to 9 K-cups at once. For tighter squeezes look for single cup models storing pods internally rather than external pod holders claiming additional space.

    Install custom shelving sized to the exact dimensions of the machine you select allowing it to sit snugly flush. Building out surrounding storage to its specific proportions eliminates awkward gaps while taking advantage of every inch. Bonus if you can safely plug it into an existing outlet rather than lose square footage to cord canal.

    Elevate appliances off the ground to continue utilizing their air space. Set units on top of narrow bakers racks, utility carts or directly onto slide-out trays installed just a few inches above floor level. These foundations double the footprint’s purpose. Store coffee accoutrements or drink ware in their base compartments. Retract roll outs or slide appliances back into vacant cubbies when not brewing.

    Overhead storage also makes appliances feel integrated rather than plopped haphazardly on the floor or counters. Construct open shelving above to house boxes of pods, canisters of sugars and beans or bags of grinders. Install corner wall mounts or floating shelves to display mugs rather than taking up premium pantry box space.

    For a chic built-in look paint backing walls, trim kits and storage additions to match. Continue floor tiling or linoleum into the niche to encase completely. Affix cord hiders or cut holes to embed appliance plugs directly into the wall. Concealing utilities complete sleek, polished integration making small appliances appear custom to the existing footprint rather than temporary squatters.

    With some advanced space planning and creative carpentry, necessary coffee and tea breaks can seamlessly blend into elegant pantry design without bulldozing storage capacity.

  • What creative storage solutions like shelves, racks or hanging have you seen used in tiny pantries?

    When dealing with limited real estate, pantries must employ creative space-saving solutions using every vertical inch from floor to ceiling. Compact homes and tiny kitchens have inspired ingenious storage methods for maximizing every bit of available space.

    Multitiered wire shelving doubles or even triples storage capacity on a single shelf’s footprint. Mix standard shelving with mini shelves stacked above main rows or staggered in opposite directions. Even instilling just a few narrow, upper ledges captures vertical airspace wasted on typical cabinetry.

    Similarly, hanging wall-mounted racks, corner shelves and ceiling-height pole racks utilize air space not storage below. Great for stashing less-used items or equipment like baking pans high up and out of the way. DIY floating shelves made from reclaimed wood add charming rustic appeal too.

    Instead of shelves only running the depth of the pantry box, installing closet organizer style shelving with abbreviated shelves perpendicular to the back wall uses wasted space. The gap behind shallower shelves allows upright storage of baking sheets, cutting boards and other oddly shaped kitchen gear.

    Speaking of alternative solutions for awkward items, slot wall panels or slatwalls usually seen organizing garages adapt wonderfully for unique pantry dimensions. Utilize hooks, baskets and modular accessories to customize. Install just a small slatwall section as an accent rather than fully replacing existing shelving.

    Repurposed commercial wire baker’s racks on casters earn their keep organizing lesser-used gear stored under an appliance or in a tighter corner. The caster mobility makes them easy pull outs.

    Don’t neglect the backsides of doors! Install hanging storage or even recycled metal magazine files great for corralling snack bars, condiment packets and other slapdash items. Adhesive wire racks mount in seconds to adhere inside cabinet doors too. Repurpose over-the-door shoe bags to store canned goods, jars and other heavy items without ripping off doors.

    With some Etsy-worthy inventiveness, even modest real estate can creatively bootstrap a fully stocked pantry inside tight quarters.

  • How do you efficiently store fruits and vegetables with limited space?

    Stockpiling fresh produce generally requires frequent grocery replenishment and rapid usage due to short shelf lives. However, implementing some savvy storage hacks allows even modest spaces to support a rainbow of healthy fruits and veggies.

    First assess your existing refrigerator’s layout and usage. Are bottom drawers being wasted on random condiments versus housing veggies? Are door shelves filled with an impressively organized but rarely touched hot sauce collection? Ruthlessly purge to allot more dedicated space for fresh foods versus shelf hogs that really belong in the pantry.

    Install refrigerator organizational must-haves like clear, divided bins, mesh produce bags with handles and door shelf canisters to neatly corral fruits and veggies. Designate prime real estate like the area under the humidity-controlled crisper drawer for the most perishable items purchased weekly like berries and herbs. Reserve bins and door shelves for heartier staples bought bi-weekly like citrus fruits, broccoli, snap peas and avocados.

    Consider top-freezers offer more fridge capacity for produce than side-by-side models in the same footprint. Or explore modern counter-depth fridges gaining usable space by lacking a full rear clearance gap. Swapping out an older appliance for an interior storage upgrade fuels better buying and eating habits.

    Beyond the icebox, utilize handy refrigerator storage accessories like tabletop herb gardens or banana hooks in spaces nearby like pantries and kitchen corners. Install slim produce caddies providing supplemental air circulation to prevent spoilage. Mount wall-mounted rails or fruit hammocks for potatoes and onions to hang out under upper cabinets.

    Repurpose magazine wall mounts or even wall-mounted bed cradles into vertical garden plans housing a bounty of fresh herbs and lettuce heads. Home improvement stores sell affordable closet organization systems of rails and baskets outfitting into produce displays quite nicely.

    Getting creative and specific with storage solutions tailored to fresh fruits and vegetables can help even modest spaces support healthy eating habits across seasons. With some Etsy-worthy inventiveness, it’s easy to foster a bountiful indoor garden.

  • How do I avoid wasting food that I can’t find or forget about in my small pantry?

    The downfall of a tiny, disorganized pantry is wasted money on perfectly good food getting shoved behind newer purchases and eventually expiring before ever seeing a meal. Prevent forgotten staples and impulse buys from turning into trash by instilling visibility and accessibility into every inch of storage space.

    Start by evaluating typical ingredients used weekly versus specialty purchases sitting unused for long stretches. Limit specialty dried goods and baking extras to a single designated shelf. Rotate in backup supplies only when you bake regularly, otherwise keep just enough for 2-3 impromptu recipes on hand in neatly labeled clear containers.

    Uniform clear storage bins easily spot when things are low since loose packaging doesn’t disguise dwindling levels. Keep everyday use ingredients on middle shelves at eye level to notice when nearly out. Categorize likes together and periodically shift older existing stock up front. First In, First Out rotation ensures the oldest purchases get used first before digging into successors.

    Affix removable chalkboard labels to fronts of matching storage bins clearly defining contents of each. Jot purchase dates as helpful reminders for periodic rotating without requiring unpacking to check every expiry. Apply bright washi tape bands around ancient specialty flours and sugars that rarely get tapped. Vibrant visual cues prevent foods from getting buried unseen and unremembered.

    Attach a small whiteboard inside the pantry’s door listing soon-to-expire items and leftover produce needing use next. Refer to the list when meal planning or prepping shopping lists. Set calendar reminders on your phone quarterly as a friendly nudge for taking inventory by pulling everything off shelves. Trash swollen cans, crystallized baking goods and science experiment freezer bags during deep clean purges.

    Prevent future duplicate staples crowding space by designating limits – only 2 broths, oils, vinegars etc. Funnel family-sized bags of rice or flour into large OXO POP canisters for daily use. Excess backup bags tuck neatly out of sight until ready to refill containers. Out of sight but accessible prevents waste.

    Vigilantly maintaining visibility, portability and purposefulPurchase tracking makes forgotten food woes a thing of the past in your petite but practical pantry.

  • What habits or processes help you stay on top of a small, organized pantry?

    The key to maintaining long-term order in a tiny pantry is establishing habitual behaviors around ongoing organization and efficiency rather than just relying on an annual deep clean reboot. Implementing mini habits over time prevents gradually sliding back into cluttered chaos.

    Set a reminder on your calendar every Sunday when meal planning to take a quick visual inventory of staples. Note any ingredients running low or requiring use soon. Build menus around whipping up those pantry leftovers and mentally flag needed replacements. Transfer inventory needs directly into your grocery list on the fridge or phone app.

    Get into the practice of scanning for expiration dates when putting away grocery hauls. Immediately pull any short-dated items forward to be used in upcoming weeks. Don’t just place new items in back blindly. First In, First Out rotation is essential to prevent food waste.

    Similarly, limit having more than 2-3 backup packages of anything already open and in frequent rotation. Following a “one in, one out” guidelines prevents overcrowding space with unwanted duplicates before existing supplies get used up. Donate unopened extras.

    Set quarterly reminders to purge everything out of your pantry. Toss anything expired or swollen. Re-consolidate categories like snacks, baking goods, pastas back together neatly into zones. Wipe down all shelves and storage bins eliminating crumbs, drips and dust buildup over time.

    Analyze if certain ingredients purchased long ago still align with current dietary preferences or get regular use? For example canned cream soups once useful for casseroles may no longer suit low-fat cooking methods. Outdated purchases wasting space represent needs changed over time. Repurpose their real estate accordingly.

    Designate low shelves or a rolling cart for “use me first” odds and ends needing to get finished up soon like-opened dried fruits, half-filled bags of chocolate chips or freezer burned remnants. Gathering high priority foods in one spot eliminates forgetting their existence behind closed doors until eventual expiration.

    Incorporating ongoing maintenance around visibility, purposeful purchase tracking and periodic purging makes staying freshly organized a sustainable habit in your petite pantry.



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