How to Organise Your Pantry

You want a pantry that’s functional. In this guide, we’ll show you the best ways how you can organise your pantry.

Last updated: 16 May 2024

Forget pantries that are picture-perfect for Instagram. You want a pantry that’s functional, streamlined, and actually simplifies your life. Just imagine — everything you need at your fingertips, neatly organised, and easy to find. Not just during a big clean-up but every single day. Sound good? In this guide, we’ll show you how to organise your pantry to suit you and your lifestyle. 

1. Start with a good clean-out

A clean and empty pantry allows you to rethink your setup. Start by digging into those corners we all ignore — you know, where the cans and spices from last year (or was it the year before?) are hiding. Roll up your sleeves and get everything out, and then grab a cloth, and give those shelves a good wipe. When you’re done, make a pile of food to keep and food to toss.

2. Group your items

With your keep pile, categorise everything into groups, but not by size. Instead, go for more logical clusters that will make life easy when you’re cooking. For example, baking ingredients, snacks, canned goods, breakfast foods, spices, etc.

3. Use clear containers and bins

Clear containers are a simple fix for messy pantries. They keep your pasta, rice, and cereal fresh and at a glance, you can see what’s there and how much is left. This saves you from digging through piles of stuff. Plus, they make your shelves look a bit more Instagram-worthy.

Add clear storage bins for sorting smaller items like packets, cans and jars. They help keep everything grouped by type, so you can find what you need quickly without having to dig through everything.

Browse our range of pantry containers on Trade Me. 

4. Invest in storage solutions

Pantry organisation products make your pantry feel less like a cluttered mess and more like a well-organised supply closet. Here are some of our favourites:

  • Lazy Susans: These are spinning trays that make it easy to reach items tucked away in the back corners. Just give them a whirl and everything comes to the front. They’re perfect for keeping spices and small jars from getting lost.

See all lazy Susan listings.

  • Door-mounted racks: These racks attach to the back of your pantry door and are ideal for stashing taller items like cereal boxes, or small packets and bottles that usually get jumbled up. It’s a great way to free up shelf space and keep those often-used items handy.

Browse our range of door-mounted racks.

  • Pantry shelving: Custom shelves make sure there's a spot for everything. If you're not into DIY, you might need some help to put these up, but they're worth it for a super-organised pantry.

Shop all pantry shelving.

  • Pantry drawers: Installing pull-out drawers can help you utilise deep spaces and make it easier to reach items stored at the back. Again, if you’re not handy, you might need some help to install these, but they’re a real game-changer for deep pantries.

Find the right pantry drawers for your space.

  • Spice Racks: Keep your spices neatly organised and within reach with a dedicated spice rack. You’ll be surprised how much it can speed up your prep time and make cooking less of a hassle.

Shop our range of spice racks.

  • Pantry bag holders: Store grocery bags, rolls of foil, or kitchen wraps neatly with pantry bag holders. This simple addition will keep these essentials handy and your pantry clutter-free.

Shop pantry bag holders.

5. Label everything

Don’t hold back — label all your containers, shelves, and storage bins. You can use a label maker, chalkboard labels, or even simple homemade tags, just try to keep them consistent for a neat look. If done well, they’ll help everyone in your house know where things belong, so everyone can keep the pantry tidy. 

Browse our range of pantry labels.

6. Regular checks

To keep your pantry tidy and useful, it’s a good idea to check it once a month. Pick a day to go through everything, see what you have too much of or what you’re running low on, and adjust as needed. This helps you stay on top of what snacks or supplies you need more space for and keeps your pantry making sense for your family’s current eating habits.

Time to upgrade your pantry?

If organising hasn’t quite cut it, you might want to think about upgrading your pantry. It’s a bit more involved than buying a few storage bins. As in, you might need to roll up your sleeves for some DIY, or even bring in a builder. But it can transform your kitchen into a place where everything has a home. Here are some options:

  • Pantry cabinets: Tall and spacious, a new pantry cabinet can store everything from boxes of cereal to cooking pots. Plus, they look good while doing it, bringing a clean, organised vibe to your kitchen.

Shop all pantry cabinets.

  • Pull-out pantries: These are slim, hidden panels that you can pull out to reveal neatly arranged shelves. One of these means everything from spices to snack packs is easily reachable. They’re perfect if you’re short on space and want to maximise what you’ve got.

Browse pull-out pantries

  • Corner pantries: Got an awkward kitchen corner? Turn it into a storage haven with a corner pantry. These fit perfectly into corner spaces and open up to plenty of shelving, which means you can say goodbye to countertop clutter.

Find a corner pantry.

  • Built-in pantries: These are integrated right into your kitchen walls and look like they were always meant to be there. Behind their doors would be a spacious area that’s all yours to fill. It’s the ultimate way to keep everything neat, with a sleek look that won’t ruin your kitchen’s style.

Pantry perfection

An organised pantry is key to a happy kitchen. It saves time during meal prep, helps in quick clean-up, and reduces food waste by keeping items visible and accessible. With these tips, you’ll find that both cooking and grocery shopping become more streamlined. Good luck and happy organising!

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Written by one of our Trade Me Marketplace experts - providing you with the latest information to help you shop smarter in New Zealand.