How to Organize a Pantry

Hello and Welcome everyone! January is a great time to get organized. Somehow the weight of winter is lightened by the activity, and the results, of organizing the most commonly used spaces in your home. Yes, I am talking about your kitchen! Today we are taking a look at my pantry. I don’t have a large pantry at all, it’s just a closet basically. But I have maximized the space by utilizing bins for storage and a door-mounted shelving unit that I almost tossed during our renovation – but I am so glad I didn’t! Let’s take a look at how to organize a pantry.

how to organize a pantry


Let’s start with the spice rack. Yep, that’s the door-mounted shelving unit that I thought was ugly and nearly tossed during our renovation. But painting it black really helped! And I very quickly realized that I absolutely needed it. it’s low profile, yet it provides a ton of space and its wire frame allows me to easily read the labels.

Let’s start at the top. I organize my spices by type, or purpose rather than alphabetically. Since I rarely bake, I keep the spices most commonly used for baking on the top shelf.

seasonings and spices in an organized pantry

Next, the dried herbs and paprikas go on their own shelf since many of the dried herbs are often used together in recipes.

The next shelf down holds savory spice like Chinese Five Spice, Togarashi and Sumac; as well as whole seeds, like Sesame, Caraway and Mustard seed. These spices are used less often, but if I put them up too high, I will forget I have them, so I do want to keep them within my eyesight.

savory spices in an organized pantry

Then I have all the spicy seasonings: various ground chiles and peppers, red pepper flakes and the like. This is a go-to shelf, so I also keep my flavored salts here. Like keeping the less-used things on a top shelf, this is an organization strategy of use.

organized spice rack

Powders and flavor boosters are next. Store-bought spice blends and meat rubs are together on the next shelf down. Alex does so much grilling that we use these spices often.

spice rack organization

The bottom two shelves have a lot of clearance between them, so this where the bottles of vinegar have landed. With the oil, cooking spray and other tall bottles on the very bottom shelf.

Now, my spice organization system may not make sense for you, and that’s because we all have our own ways of thinking through a recipe. Grouping things by type or frequency of use is what works for me and I find I never have to search around for a spice, because I have organized them in the way my brain works when I am thinking out a recipe.


Let’s move on to the pantry. I have this closet-style pantry and I also have a pantry built-in, outfitted with drawers, instead of shelves. We added it in the renovation. It’s located where the refrigerator originally was and I will show you that next week, when we tackle how to organize your refrigerator.

how to organize a pantry

This closet is where I keep my homemade spice blends, storage containers, bulk items and a few pieces of kitchen equipment. The top shelf contains items I rarely use, for obvious reasons. The next shelf down holds my bulk spices like pepper, salt, and flour – items that I only need every so often, but not everyday. I also keep my bamboo steamer and bread proofing baskets here.

Next, I have my Cambro storage area. This is where I keep all of my empty Cambros. I also keep a few items such as Nori, Corn Husks, Rice Paper Wrappers and unopened Miso packages. Those items are best to stack vertically like books, which allows me to see what they are more easily.

Just below my Cambro shelf, I keep baking supplies, like chocolate, and gelatin. I also keep baking powder and baking soda here. When it makes sense, I put items in clear Cambros. I do this for baking soda, because you know, those boxes don’t seal. I keep my homemade spice blends, whole chile peppers and various dehydrated and fermented items on this shelf, all stored in jars or one-quart Cambros.

jar collection
This is my jar collection. I keep good jars to store homemade sauces and other items in. I keep it relegated to one quarter of this shelf so it’s not too out of control, but I always like to have empty storage jars on hand.

Stack and Label

The shelf below the homemade spice blends Is where I keep all my flours. I store flours and grains in clear 4 or 6-quart Cambros. Storing flours and grains this way keeps everything well organized, clean and it’s easier to measure from a bin, rather than a bag. Use a strip of masking tape to label the side of the bin, and you will always know what you have and how much of it is there.

Shelves in an organized pantry

Below my flour shelf, I keep the box wine. Hahaha! I also keep a clear bin with random and small things like cookie cutters, pastry bags, and other stuff that just doesn’t fit neatly. All of Alex’s lesser used grilling salt rubs and jugs of oil and vinegar are stored here, as well.

Rice bins, large jugs of bulk oil, the dog food bin, and a large stock pot all sit on the floor. I will usually store bags of potatoes here, too. Buying bulk items and keeping the smaller containers in your pantry and the bulk containers tucked away in the garage, or laundry room can make a big difference.

How to Organize a Pantry

A well-organized kitchen is a functional kitchen. If you make the most of your storage areas, a small pantry becomes more functional and therefore, more enjoyable to use. As you can see from this tour of my pantry, Cambros are my lifesaver when it comes to organizing my space. They’re uniform and stackable, which alone makes a big difference in overall organization. I hope you all have enjoyed this look at my Pantry, and my tips for how to organize a pantry. My goal is that you found a takeaway you can apply to your own space. Let me know your organization tips and tricks in the comments here, or on facebook and Instagram.

If you missed having a recipe today, check out one of my recent Sunday Suppers. I will see you all here again tomorrow, with an all new Pizza and a Movie. Take care and be well, everyone. xo Kelly

You Might Also Like

  • Judi Hume
    January 7, 2021 at 10:34 am

    That’s one beautifully organized pantry! I love the idea of separating the spices by category. Thanks, Kelly!

    • Kelly Djalali
      January 7, 2021 at 11:42 am

      H Judi! It definitely helps me not have to think about what I need to grab. Thanks so much for stopping by today, have a great day, Judi! xo Kelly

  • Jill
    January 7, 2021 at 10:47 am

    Did the same thing this week! I ended up buying some heavyweight pull out racks to make better use of my bottom shelf. I could never see what was two feet back in the dark! I also have a couple of very high cabinets that have to store those little-used things. Plus my Dad made me a fab spice rack that doubles as art, so I feel better after everything has been sorted out for 2021.

    • Kelly Djalali
      January 7, 2021 at 11:45 am

      Hello Jill, Pull out racks is such a good idea! And how nice to have a bespoke, custom spice rack – that’s so cool! It’s funny how just being able to see makes a huge difference in how we can utilize the space in cabinets and pantries! Have a wonderful day, xo Kelly

  • Deanna
    January 7, 2021 at 11:26 am

    Kelly – I really enjoyed this post! Last March, when COVID lock down first started, one of the first organizing projects I tackled was the pantry. I wish I had know about the Cambro Containers then before I invested in OXO containers. The lids on OXO are tough to clean, dry and put back together. I can’t justify the cost of totally replacing them, but as I need more containers, I will definitely start my Cambro collection. I also love how your saved glass jars are in the pantry on easy display for when you need one. Thank you for your meticulous attention to detail and the great photos.

    • Kelly Djalali
      January 7, 2021 at 11:49 am

      Hi Deanna, I love OXO products, but agree that their containers aren’t the most user friendly. I really struggle with not hoarding jars, but I do use use them all the time. They are so much better for storing liquid leftovers, homemade dressings and the like, in the fridge. I am excited for you to start a Cambro collection! You will be so happy with them. Thanks for writing in today, I love to hear about y’alls organization strategies. Have a great day! xo Kelly

  • Roberta
    January 7, 2021 at 1:48 pm

    Hi, Kelly, So fortuitous that organizing pantry was your subject. That’s on my agenda for today. I have a pantry that looks similar to yours. Where did you get the door spice rack? I have my spices on 2-tier racks that turn. Putting them on the door, along with the bottled items, would free up space on the shelves. I have several organizing things on my agenda for the month of January. It’s like cleaning house – you always feel so good when it’s finished!

    • Kelly Djalali
      January 7, 2021 at 2:23 pm

      Hello Roberta! The door rack came with our house, but I have seen them online at the Container Store, Wayfair or Lowe’s. It’s so handy. I always feel so much better after after I’ve cleaned house, or re-organized and cleaned out the pantry and the fridge! Thanks for writing in today, it’s great to hear your plans for organization too! Have fun! xo Kelly

  • Nelda M Pattillo
    January 7, 2021 at 5:34 pm

    What a GREAT post! I have saved it on my tablet to use. My pantry looks about the same size!!

    • Kelly Djalali
      January 7, 2021 at 5:42 pm

      Wonderful Nelda! Let me know how the project goes for you! It’s the perfect time of year to start with a reorganization project. Thanks for writing in today! xo kelly

  • Holly
    January 7, 2021 at 6:15 pm

    This was a delightful post! It’s always fun and interesting to see how others organize things and if you’re maybe missing something haha. Looking forward to your fridge post too! PS I noticed in some of your previous post photos your Cambros, found them on Amazon and ordered a few. Now I’ll order some more that are 4 qts. Thanks Kelly your posts are so informative!

    • Kelly Djalali
      January 7, 2021 at 6:35 pm

      Thank you Holly! My love for Cambros is real! They’re just so prefect for anything; leftovers and dry goods in the pantry. I like them instead of Tupperware-type storage for leftovers because they fit and stack so well in the fridge. I am happy you ordered some, I am sure you’ll come to love them! Thanks so much for writing in today, I enjoy hearing from you. xo Kelly