If there’s one place in your home that can easily get messy, it’s the pantry. Tucking in those cereal boxes, baking goodies, snack pouches, cartons, and more — it becomes a challenge to figure out an ideal spot for each of these while keeping things presentable.
And then comes the next tricky part: keeping the pantry organized. Especially so if you have little ones frequently sneaking in to grab their favorite snacks, and, well, a messy husband who never puts things back in place.
How can you tackle these issues and make your pantry organized, well-decorated, and presentable? We know it’s a challenge, but fret not, we have you covered! This blog post is your comprehensive guide on how to decorate and organize a pantry, including useful tips and tricks.
So, let’s dive straight in!
How To Organize A Pantry
Keeping your pantry fully organized is one of the tricks to keeping your kitchen counters clutter-free. An organized pantry also translates to quicker operating times in the kitchen — and sometimes even more motivation to cook! Here are our 10 easy yet effective tips on how to organize a pantry:
Begin By Emptying The Pantry
The first step to a pantry organizing project is removing everything from the space. From the food containers and storage bins to any actual food you have in there, take it all out! You can place the items on the kitchen/island counters to have everything displayed right in front of you.
Clean The Nooks and Crannies
Everything’s out — now it’s time to clean the nooks and crannies of the pantry. Dust all the shelves and drawers, followed by wiping them clean with a wet cloth soaked in a mild soapy solution. If you have a separate room allocated for your pantry, be sure to mop it, too.
Skim Through All Food Items
Before placing items back, skim through all their expiry dates. Get rid of spoiled or expired food — and items you no longer use. You may consider donating spare food that’s in good condition.
Next comes grouping all similar items into distinct categories. Generally, you could group items as follows:
- Canned goods
- Bread, rice, grains, and pasta
- Baking goodies
- Healthy snacks
- Kids’ snacks
- Junk food
- Wet ingredients (e.g., vinegars and sauces)
You could, of course, customize these to your needs. For example, you could create a new category for nuts and seeds if you tend to stock up on these.
Use Containers For Frequently-Used Items
Cardboard boxes, plastic bags, and other such packaging can make your pantry feel cluttered. Use air-tight containers to store items of daily use (such as cereals, quinoa, and oats) and dispose of their original packaging. Bonus points if you choose clear options — these are easier to access and create a neater look.
Additional tip: Use a dry erase marker (or chalkboard labels) to write expiry dates on the clear containers as you decant the items.
Tuck Away Odd-Packaging Items
Displaying bags of crisps, coffee pods, and certain vegetables takes away from the sophistication of the space. Tuck away all odd-shaped packages (including loose items) into bins. You can print out labels and stick them onto the bins to keep track of their contents. You could also use fluroescent tape and a marker to create these yourself.
Make Use Of A Pot Rack
Whether you’re a rookie cook or a devoted chef, one thing you’ll always have an excess of is pots. Mount a metallic rack on an empty wall of your pantry using sturdy hooks, and use it to hang your pot collection. This can potentially make for an attention-drawing focal point while freeing up cabinet space, of course.
Utilize Every Bit Of Space
Don’t have enough vacant wall space for your pot rack? Fret not — the door is to the rescue! No matter how small (or big) your pantry is, you can always use some extra space. In that regard, the back of doors always come in handy. Mount organizers onto the rear of door(s); from canned goods and spices to pots and pans, you can use them for quite literally everything.
Incorporate A Spice Rack
Having a presentable spice rack makes it easy to access your favorite condiments while also adding to the aesthetics. Using a wall-mounted rack is a good idea; a little vacant space is all it needs!
Access Deep Corners With Rotating Trays
Placing items in deep corners hinder accessibility. It may also lead to wasted space if you choose to keep the corners empty. Make use of this space by installing rotating trays (also called lazy susans), topping them with jars and small condiments.
How To Decorate A Pantry
Now that you have a thorough idea of how to organize your pantry, let’s delve into the details and discuss pantry decor. After all, the pantry isn’t just a functional space — it should contribute to the aesthetics, too! In that regard, here are the top ways to decorate your pantry and make it look visually appealing:
Use Your Favorite Prints For The Wallpaper
Instantly add a pop of pizzazz and character to your pantry by using wallpaper for the walls. Be sure to choose your favorite pattern — perhaps an interesting animal print or stunning geometric pattern — for the wallpaper. Peel-and-stick wallpapers are easy options to install (and remove) yourself, so opt for them if you’re up to do-it-yourself.
Bonus: Pretty paper installed in the background will keep you more motivated to keep the contents organized.
Opt For Solid-Hued Walls
If printed wallpapers aren’t your thing, consider painting the walls a bold hue. This creates visual interest in the space, and storing dry goods in bright interiors allows for an instantly organized look. Think blue, green, magenta, and pink.
Utilize Vintage Soda Crates For A Farmhouse Feel
Love a touch of vintage? Use soda crates (readily available at thrift stores) instead of other baskets. These add a touch of wood and greatly enhance the aesthetics, contributing to a farmhouse-themed pantry.
If you have a large pantry, use one of its walls to display your favorite pieces of artwork. You can opt for one statement piece (such as panoramic textual art) — or several smaller ones to create a gallery wall. If you have a small space, showcase your taste in art through the wallpaper! No matter which option you go for, be sure to choose pieces that speak to who you truly are and reflect your personality.
Focus On The Lighting
Lighting can also serve as a decorative feature in pantries. If you have a separate space/room, consider using a mini, sleek chandelier. If your pantry is a built-in in the kitchen, flank it with wall sconces. Ensure the cabinet fronts are nice and tidy, though, as lighting brings attention to the space.
Additional Tips & Tricks
You know all about organizing and decorating your pantry. Here are a bunch of additional tips and tricks to keep in mind for a successful pantry setup (or re-setup) project:
Decorating A Small Pantry
Small pantries can become difficult to decorate due to their small space. Nothing a little know-how can’t overcome, though! Be sure to utilize wallpaper for the walls, incorporate plenty of storage bins, and label everything along the way. Utilize the space below shelves with pull-out drawers, and don’t forget lazy susans to make the most of every inch of available room! Here are a bunch of useful tips for small pantries:
- Make use of pegboards for heavy-duty items
- Install drawer separators to keep your (plenty of) drawer items organized. These also help prevent items from toppling over. For example, they keep glass bottles from clanking together.
- If you have plenty of cookbooks, display these in the kitchen instead of the pantry.
Decorating A Pantry On A Budget
Working around a budget? The secret is doing everything yourself. From installing the wallpaper to categorizing your kitchen essentials, everything can be done without professional help. Be sure to learn the necessary skill beforehand, though — and remember, the internet is your best friend (and teacher)!
Additionally, you can purchase baskets (or their alternatives, such as soda crates) from thrift stores, and look for cheap options of wallpaper on Amazon.
Keep The Kids Section Easy To Reach
Create a designated spot, preferably one of the bottom shelves, for kids’ items. You can use this to store their juice bottles, healthy snacks, and cereal dispensers. Encourage your little ones to use only their designated spot — so they don’t end up creating a mess while looking for their favorite fruit gummies. Also be sure to use transparent storage containers and labels, so your kids can keep up with the organization.
Keep A List Of Frequently-Used Items
You may want to keep track of frequently-used items so you know exactly what you need when you head to the grocery store — and don’t end up overbuying things you already have! Mount a small whiteboard in a suitable area of your pantry and jot down the items you run out of. A quick glimpse at this board as you walk out the door will help keep your grocery lists organized.
Make Use Of A Glass Cabinet
Don’t have a designated room for your pantry? A glass-front cabinet will do the job! Tuck away items into straw baskets and clear containers, and arrange them behind the glass doors of the cabinet. In addition to serving as a mini DIY pantry, this cabinet will double as decor in your kitchen, too.
That’s about it for our top 20 tips on how to decorate and organize a pantry! But before winding up, here are a few frequently asked questions to clear out famous ambiguities:
How can I store reusable shopping bags and trash bags in my pantry?
You may utilize plastic bag dispensers for smaller bags. These are usually wall-mounted, and readily available on platforms such as Amazon. For larger shopping and trash bags, you may opt for a hamper and place it one corner of your pantry. Yup, hampers can serve more purposes than just laundry!
Are glass doors a good idea for the pantry?
Opt for glass doors only if you’re certain you’ll be able to maintain the organization of the space. For example, if you have little ones around, there’s a good chance you’ll have clutter at the end of the day. For such pantries, it’s recommended you opt for frosted (instead of transparent) glass. This gives a glimpse of the colors of the pantry without showing the clutter.
Is there an innovative way to store trays?
Absolutely! Keep your trays organized with tray dividers. These help leverage the vertical space in cabinets and make room for baking trays and chopping boards while creating a neat and organized look.
Can I protect my pantry shelves from spills?
Yes! There are definitely going to be spills and leaks in the pantry, but they won’t be much of a problem with shelf liners. Such liners make it easier to clean up spills, crumbs, and leaks while protecting the shelf surface underneath.
That’s about it, folks! Our top 20 tips on how to decorate and organize a pantry come to a wrap. Start off by decluttering the pantry, removing everything from the space, and thoroughly cleaning up. Next comes categorizing the food items and carefully displaying them in containers and baskets. Once you have a blueprint of the organization in mind, plan the decor to incorporate (wallpapers, artwork, and more).
Once done, spare a good few moments to admire the fruits of your efforts. You may also want to record a fun before-and-after video as pantry inspiration for your Instagram friends. However, be ready for regular maintenance and tweaks. The organization isn’t going to last forever — you’ll need to take care of spills, dust, expired ingredients, and so on.
Simply check up on the pantry’s cleanliness and organization every few months and you may not need a complete makeover again before a few years.