Pantry Organizing

Whether you have a walk-in pantry or just a couple of shelves in your kitchen, organizing it is crucial to efficient meal preparation. It must work for you.

  • 1. Put the least-used items on the top shelf.
  • 2. Keep like with like (baking supplies, measuring cup).
  • 3. Use glass containers for storing bulk goods such as flour, sugar, rice, quinoa, etc.
  • 4. Keep heavier items on lower shelves.

5. Arrange spices in alphabetical order as in grocery stores. This makes it easier to find the one you need. Never store these above the stove because heat will decrease their quality.

6. Keep only a minimum quantity of each spice. Their shelf life is about six months before they lose their potency.

7. Employ the “first in first out” rule so nothing becomes outdated because it was lost in the back.

8. Containerize as much as possible and label each container.

9. Keep only one extra of anything especially if your storage space is limited.

10. Store extras in another place if you can, but don’t forget you have them.

11. Attach a notepad to the inside of the pantry door along with a pen or pencil to keep a running grocery list and take it with you when you go shopping. Make a family rule that whoever finishes something (ketchup, mayo, cereal) write that on the grocery list.

Organizing tools:

1. Lazy Susans or turntables allow you to access the back of the cabinet easily so nothing gets lost. These are useful for spices and bottled vinegars and oils. For shorter items, use a two-tier Lazy Susan to make the best use of available space.

2. Glass storage containers are healthier than plastic because there is no off-gassing of chemicals. Use for dry goods like flour, sugar, rice etc. Often these can store more compactly than the bags or boxes they come in.

3. Small open bins will hold all kinds of smaller items from potatoes to packages of pasta.

What does your pantry look like? Is it in need of attention? Why not implement some of these tips to bring it into shape and then tell us how it went? We always enjoy hearing from our readers.


© Moreen Torpy

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Moreen Torpy is the De-Clutter Coach, a Trained Professional Organizer, Author, and Speaker. Her new book is Going Forward: Downsizing, Moving and Settling In. See for more about the book including where to purchase it, and to learn about her organizing services.





  1. I don’t have room for a spice rack in my kitchen, so I store my spices in two plastic bins – one is A-G and the other is H-Z (there seem to be a lot of spices at the beginning of the alphabet). This system allows me to keep spices in assorted shapes and sizes of packages (jars, tins, and resealable bags) organized as well.

    • Good idea Janet. Thanks for sharing it with us. As you know, organizing is about what works for you and implementing that solution. I’m sure your spices are happy in their bins!

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