Learn how to organize your kitchen pantry using our tips and tricks, and find out which IKEA storage system will help keep the pantry neat and tidy!
Sooooo I’ve been just a teensy bit obsessed with our pantry this week. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen little snippets of my excitement!
I love organizing any day of the week, but this project is extra special to me because I’ve been waiting for it for a LONG time.
Our Pantry Before Organizing
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
This house was seriously lacking in pantry storage when we moved in…
This is what I had to work with. Those shelves are only 9.5″ deep and hardly fit anything! Also, a few years after we moved in, the pantry door broke and because it was just easier to grab things without it, we didn’t replace it.
It forced me to keep the pantry relatively organized, which was great, but I also had a dirty little secret…
Ahem. 🙁 Since there was no possible way to fit everything I needed into the teeny tiny pantry, I created another little pantry area in our entry closet. It quickly became a catch-all for anything and everything I could throw in there.
Along with pantry items and coats, we also tossed in some workout equipment and the vacuum for good measure. It was a cluttered mess and was not serving any of its purposes very well.
When we started planning the kitchen reno, then, I was determined to *finally* get the pantry storage I had been dreaming of.
A Kitchen Pantry Fail
I worked a floor-to-ceiling pantry cabinet into the kitchen plan– it was going to be so beautiful and functional! I could hardly contain my excitement when Donnie was putting it together, thinking of alllllllll the things I was going to be able to store in it!
And then we put it up.
And it looked terrible.
We had opened up the space nicely by taking down a weird half-wall that had been there, and this monstrosity just closed everything right back up again, making the kitchen feel even smaller than it had before.
To be honest, I should have known that would be the case, but I had my heart set on that massive amount of pantry storage, so I put it into the plan anyway.
So poor Donnie had to take this ginormous cabinet that he had worked so hard to assemble back to IKEA with all of the many parts that had come with it, and I was again without pantry storage.
But I was not going down that easily. Not without a fight. 😉
I concocted a plan. What if we just took the entire coat closet and made it pantry storage? That would solve my problem, right? (I know some of you are thinking, “But what about your coats?!” I have a plan for that too, I promise. 😉 )
I started dropping little hints and ideas to Donnie, trying to ease my way into suggesting another big change in our kitchen plans and hoping that he would forget all that I had just put him through because of my pantry storage dreams.
Thankfully, he’s the best. And he WENT FOR IT!! Woooo! Husband of the year for that man! 🙂
Creating a New Pantry with IKEA Storage
We had recently revamped our primary bedroom closet with IKEA’s ALGOT system, and thought it might be a perfect solution for our entry closet-turned-pantry as well. So we headed off to IKEA. Again. (Not that I would ever dare to complain about visiting my favorite place ever… 🙂 )
We were armed with closet measurements and picked out the pieces we needed to create my plan B dream pantry.
[FYI… IKEA recently discontinued their ALGOT system and replaced it with BOAXEL, which is very similar.]
Since I have gotten a bunch of questions since we did our first ALGOT closet, I thought I should mention that though you go to the IKEA website and the ALGOT systems look like this:
…in true IKEA fashion, all of those little pieces you see are sold individually at the store; they’re not boxed together in neat little sets. So you have to go in knowing the measurements of your space and what types of storage needs you have so that you can choose the correct number of wall uprights, shelves, brackets, baskets, etc.
Need more details about how to measure for an IKEA ALGOT / BOAXEL closet system? See this post.
4 Things to Do Before Organizing the Pantry
As you can see in our before pantry pictures, we are not a stockpile family. So we did not have a ton of stuff to declutter. However, here are a few tips that we always use before we start an organizing project.
1. Take everything out and declutter.
Before choosing an organizing system, the first step is to take everything out of your pantry and declutter! Toss the items that are expired, stale, or those that are no longer used.
Place like items together. Most pantries contain canned goods, pantry baking staples, snacks, and maybe a few small appliances and paper products. We put the items from each of these categories together so we can see exactly what we’re working with.
3. Make a plan.
Now that the full space is visible and we know exactly what needs to go back in, it’s time to visualize! Are there containers or baskets around the house to use or do these need to be purchased? If the area seems like it’s going to be too crowded, can the odd-ball items be kept in a different space?
What a perfect time to make the pantry nice and sparkly! If a new system isn’t going to be installed, shelf liner can be added for a little pop of pretty.
Now it’s time to put the pantry back together and see the transformation!
Organizing a Pantry Step-by-Step Using IKEA Storage Systems
1. Install the organizational system.
We kept it super simple and just went with a bunch of shelving for the pantry, and since Donnie is an old pro at installing this closet system by now, he had it up in about a half an hour.
2. Choose containers.
Look at all of that space!! I know it is still tiny compared to some pantries, but to me it felt absolutely huge, and I could not WAIT to start organizing it!
I decided to honor the occasion by investing in all matching pantry containers… and when I say investing I mean that I went to IKEA and bought them so they really weren’t that terribly much at all. (Also, I promise that IKEA is in no way sponsoring this post. I just really, really, really love them. 🙂 )
Tips for organizing containers
- Clear pantry containers and spice jars are a great way to make the space look clean and keep up with inventory.
- Racks and risers can help to maximize vertical space and are perfect for deeper shelves.
- Lazy Susans come in handy for extra condiments and sauces.
- Baskets for the best for combing like items, such as snacks.
- Trays are excellent to use in deeper pantries. This way nothing has to be moved, and the tray acts almost like a drawer that can be pulled out.
Because I am ridiculous, I insisted on lining them up on my desk and taking pictures before I got to the really fun part– filling and LABELING!! Yippee!
3. Label the pantry containers.
Yes, yes aqua vinyl. You didn’t actually think I could put together a space without incorporating that color, right?! 😉
4. Restock the pantry.
So, with everything filled and labeled, it was time to put it all together! And just for you guys, because I wanted you to be able to share in the excitement of this moment, I learned how to make a GIF (which, it turns out, is not that hard at all) so that you could see how it all went together! Are you so excited?! 😉
Here we go…
5. Add more bins and organizers as needed.
Yay pretty, organized pantry! It was like the stars were aligning when I was putting all of this stuff together because along with the inexpensive containers and spice jars, I also just so happened to be at Michaels looking for baskets on the day that they were 40% off, so I got 3 matching baskets that fit the space perfectly for an absolute steal! Shall we take a closer look?!
The snack basket is on one of the lower shelves so the boys can grab them on their own when they need to. Baking supplies, spices, and canned goods also made it front and center so that we can access them easily.
I just love how the containers look all lined up and labeled! Adhesive vinyl is great because it is strong enough to go through the dishwasher, but I can also remove it if I decide to change things up a little bit.
I searched far and wide for the best way to organize my spices and was kind of surprised at the limited options in the stores near me. I ended up finding these risers and they were perfect for the job.
These shelves go decently far back, so I was able to sneak in our pastas, more baking items, and some small kitchen appliances like my KitchenAid and CrockPot. And everything fits so neatly too!
Yes, the vacuum got to stay– hopefully I’ll be inspired to use more often it since I can actually reach it now! I’d say that this closet ended up looking pretty different than it did before…
(If you’re looking for an organizing solution for a smaller space, I love the IKEA RASKOG cart for portable storage!)
Free Pantry Organizational Labels
You know I couldn’t just keep all of the pantry organization fun to myself, so I put together some pretty pantry labels for you too!
These were designed to fit the Avery 22818 round labels, so you can print them directly onto the labels or you could just print on card stock and attach them with tape. There are labels for baking/cooking items…
…and another packet of labels for organizing allllllll of your spices:
Each packet includes several pages of pre-printed labels + a blank page where you can write in your own items.
Kitchen Pantry Organization: Frequently Asked Questions
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[Psssttt… We also have a post with our 100 best home organization tips and tricks here!]
Happy organizing, friends!
Have you attempted to organize a kitchen pantry lately? What are your best tips and tricks?
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.