6 Tips for Organizing A Pantry With Deep Shelves
Updated: Apr 27
This weekend I joined forces with South of the Boulevard and Nights & Weekends to do the #PopOfPantry Challenge! The timing for this challenge aligned perfectly with the kitchen makeover we've been working on, what's a pretty kitchen with a messy pantry!? So I tackled our pantry, lived to tell the tale and am here to give you all my tips for organizing a pantry with deep shelving.
Our pantry is a pretty small space, but the shelves are actually quite deep (22"), and while I would much rather have a larger pantry with double the shelving that were more shallow, we're working with what we've got! So if you're dealing with a similar space- here are some tips to help you maximize every last inch!
1. Use containers to corral everything and choose a solid color- Using containers is automatically going to help everything feel a lot more organized, you can corral similar items or items used in conjunction with one another. A lot of pantry organization recommends using clear containers, which are so beautiful, but with a deep pantry it will add to the cluttered look and feel since you're going to have space for more than one row of containers. I chose these white containers from Ikea for a more clean and streamlined look. Here's exactly what I used in case you have a similar sized pantry, but before you go out and buy everything make sure you read my next tip!
- (12) Kuggis boxes 10" x 13" (they come with lids but I didn't use them)
2. Measure your pantry before you go shopping (and bring your tape measure with you)! When you go out shopping for containers- be prepared, otherwise you're going to be standing in the organizing aisle not knowing how wide, deep, or tall your containers need to be. Make a quick sketch of your pantry and take a few measurements- width, depth, height, of all your shelves. It doesn't need to take long and your sketch doesn't need to win any awards, as long as you can understand it- that's all that matters! Armed with this information you can confidently head to the organization aisle and be able to figure out an arrangement of containers that is going to work for you! I played around in the store stacking and combining my containers to see what configuration worked and looked good, and then measured it to make sure it was going to fit on my shelves.
3. Move those lesser used items to the back. With a deep pantry one of the most frustrating things can be having to reach past several rows to get to the back. There's no perfect solution for this so just set yourself up for success- put the items you reach for the most often in the front, and the chicken stock that you only reach for once a week in the back.
4. Plan for surplus and have a container for it. I think we all have a few items that we like to stock up on so we never run out, for me it's peanut butter, my favorite Mark's hot salsa (I seriously keep 3-4 extra cans on hand at all times), granola, and a few other odds and ends. These items don't need to go where you pull them from. I like to keep our peanut butter and honey front and center to grab easily to make the kids a sandwich, but I don't need the three extra cans of peanut butter right there with it. That's what my surplus bin is for- located at the bottom of the pantry- when I run out of peanut butter I just restock it with the surplus can and then tell Alexa to add another jar to my shopping list to restock my surplus jar, ensuring I never run out.
5. Set your kids up for success. One quick way to pantry mayhem after spending time organizing is having your kids run through, dig around for what they need, and in the process destroying all that organization you just worked on. Set them up for success- I put all of the items my kids would want right at the bottom, their snack bars, chips, gummy bears, etc. are all right at their level and easily within reach. They aren't going to need to dig through any of my carefully organized bins because what they want is right there for them. Another quick tip here if your kids are like mine and want to eat through all their snacks in one day. I keep a surplus of their snacks in one of our top kitchen cabinets (that they can't reach) and I restock this section of the pantry once a week, they know that once they've run out here they will have to wait until next weekend before I restock everything.
6. Label everything. Something about labeling containers really makes it feel official and like I have my life together. While labels on my canisters are absolutely necessary (I can't tell the difference between regular sugar and my monkfruit sweetener), everywhere else it's really just for consistency. I know where everything is and don't really need the label to tell me. However, labels can help other family members remember what goes where as well as keep you motivated to continue to put things where they go. Even on that late night you have to unload groceries and you just aren't feeling it (been there).
Those are my main tips and I feel like what helped this pantry makeover come together! Here's a glimpse at our pantry before, it functioned pretty similarly to how I have it set up now, but definitely wasn't as pleasing to the eye.
Giving it a fresh coat of paint and swapping out the bins for clean white ones brings me so. much. joy!
Let me know if you have any pantry organization tips to add that work for you and your family!
Want to see our full kitchen makeover?