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how to organize the pantry Professional Organizer Geralin Thomas

How to Organize the Pantry: Done-in-a-Day Organizing Project

Are you craving a done-in-a-day organizing project that can be completed in small bites? This post,  how to organize the pantry,  is going to help you with that particular challenge.   Why not organize the pantry and create a list of staples that are appropriate for your lifestyle and your budget, especially if you buy in bulk and own an array of cooking and baking appliances which you store in your pantry.


how to organize the pantry Geralin Thomas

Open-shelving creates a hallway leading to the sink. Image used with permission from California Closets


Tips and Suggestions –  How to Organize the Pantry

  • Begin by discarding anything stale, spoiled, or expired. Reminder:  dry goods are susceptible to pest infestations and infestations begin with invisible-to-the-eye eggs. Put dry goods in the freezer for 5 days to sterilize them; it’ll kill eggs and bugs.
  • Vacuum and clean the shelves and walls. Wipe the underside of shelves too.
  • Use either glass or sturdy plastic containers with tight fitting lids to hold dry goods such as flour, sugar, pasta, teabags, coffee beans, and cereal.  Buy square-shaped containers because they are more efficient space-savers. Look for flat lids since they can be stacked.
  • Group like items together:  breakfast items, snacks, baking goods, etc.  Then, create groups within groups (for example separate the tuna from the tomatoes and the soup from the beans in the canned goods section.)
  • Label the shelves (condiments, beverages, etc.) as well as the individual containers (baking chips, whole wheat flour, rice)
  • Don’t forget to save room to store your paper products too: napkins, paper towels, lunch bags, foils, wraps, etc.
  • Divide your pantry into zones with separate areas for the ABCs: Appliances, Boxed goods + Baking essentials, Canned goods and Soft packages.
  • Measure the ABCs ingredients in your pantry; know the basic measurements and add a little bit of “grab room” between shelves.


how to organize the pantry Geralin Thomas

Hooks installed under shelving add extra storage; image used with permission from California Closets


Know Your Space

Suggestions for Approximate Measurements Between Shelves

  • Appliances, large pots + pans, serving trays:  24 inches +
  • Boxed foods: 8 – 16 inches
  • Cans: 3 – 7 inches
  • Soft packages: 4 – 9 inches
  • Install shelves that vary in depth; tiered shelves allow better visibility.

Now, let’s move onto creating a list of staples that are the building blocks of many meals.


how to organize the pantry Geralin Thomas

Doorless cubbies keep things within reach; image used with permission from California Closets

Make it Easier! Getting Techie

Finally, I’m going to conclude by sharing a helpful link regarding pantry + grocery organizing; it’s an app!   More accurately, my favorite food-related app,      Zip List.

I discovered Zip List while traveling with my friend, Margaret Lukens. She and I were exchanging ideas about electronically clipping recipes, techniques for organizing clipped coupons and recipes, methods of keeping various grocery lists organized, cooking, baking, candy making and entertaining. During that conversation, Margaret introduced me to Zip List and from that moment on, life got much easier. (Hey, that’s what friends are for, right?)



how to organize the pantry professional organizer Geralin Thomas


Since I shop at several different stores and buy specific ingredients from each store, this app is especially appealing to me.  I absolutely love having the ability to store all my lists in one place. [File this under, TMI but,  I even keep a “vacation grocery list” for my family trips to the coast since that list is completely from my weekly grocery list ]

Oh, did I mention that Zip List is totally free?  Isn’t that delicious?

If you have a favorite app or a top ten list of staples in your pantry please share in the comment section below.



how to organize the pantry Geralin Thomas


I hope these tips on how to organize the pantry help you get this “done-in-a-day” organizing project completed!   BTW, you know that I love comments – sooooooo,  you know what to do right?  Just leave one in the comment section below.


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    1. I loved your Blog on how to organise your pantry. Did you know that if you have got Weevil Moths and Pantry Moths you can get rid of them by wiping out your panty with vinegar and water and putting fresh bay leaves in there? That does the trick and gets rid of them?

    2. Funny, I was just doing a bit of pantry clean out this morning. Still need to get busy and label the shelves some day… that would certainly make keeping it in order easier. Thanks!

      • Well Damian, they say timing is everything . . . glad this post was posted in time.

        Labeling is especially helpful when there are babysitters, kids and a spouse in the house. Experiment with labeling and let me know if it helps keep things in place. Thanks for reading and commenting!