Did you catch our DIY pantry makeover? I wanted to follow up that post with more specific ideas for organizing a small pantry. All of these tips would work for a larger walk-in pantry too, but they’re especially helpful for a reach-in pantry where every inch counts! If a messy and cluttered pantry is stressing you out, this one is for you. Keep reading for small pantry organization ideas for every budget to help you save space and reduce food waste.

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Small Pantry Organization Ideas That Cost Nothing

Need free small pantry organization ideas? Try these!

1. Toss Expired Items Right Away

small pantry organization ideas, pantry with clear food storage containers and labels

An easy, no cost way to keep your small pantry organized is to toss expired items immediately. In the process of completing our pantry makeover, I realized that some of our canned goods and baking mixes had expired. To avoid this in the future, I am clearly marking my containers with expiration date labels, and setting reminders on my phone to buy new flour or baking essentials.

2. Small Pantry Organization by Category

organized snacks in small pantry

I find that it is easier to keep track of what is in our small pantry if I organize the items by category. This method helps in any type of closet! Assign different “zones” and stick to them. For example, the right side of this shelf is for snacks that we reach for frequently. I created other zones for flour and oats, sugar and chocolate chips, cereal, canned goods and dry pasta, and refills.

Related: Best Pantry Storage Containers + Organizers

3. Make Kids’ Snacks Easily Accessible

organized kids snacks for easy access on the go

I recently decided to organize all of our kids’ snacks in clear, easily accessible containers on the bottom shelf of the pantry. I think the “easy to see” aspect is key! Now my kiddos can find a snack or small treat without rummaging around in the pantry or needing to ask me to reach something. This is a great hack for the bottom shelf of your refrigerator as well!

4. Plan Regular Pantry Audits

small pantry organization ideas, plan regular pantry audits

A final free way to keep a small pantry organized is to do regular pantry audits. In the past, I sometimes purchased or held onto items “just in case.” Doing an audit (of any space in our home) helps me to be more mindful of what we actually use and enjoy. If you find it helpful, you can write down a list of everything in your pantry. Circle the foods that you love and prepare often, and prioritize those items when shopping and organizing.

Related: Organizing Ideas for an Intentional Home

Small Pantry Organization Ideas That Are Worth It

These small pantry organization ideas are worth the investment!

1. Decant Food Into Airtight Containers

small pantry organization with matching containers and aesthetic labels

The majority of my budget for our pantry makeover went towards food storage containers. It was an investment, but I had been wanting to decant our baking essentials and cereal for a while. The containers make our pantry both beautiful and functional. Now it is easy to access everything and see what we have! And, I am more likely to cook if I don’t have to dig around to find ingredients 😉

2. Matching Labels for Small Pantry Organization

flour containers with minimalist labels

If you already have containers or are planning to add them soon, don’t forget about labels. These minimalist adhesive labels are perfect for small pantry organization! The set comes with 180 labels that are easy to read and wipe clean. You can also use them for baskets with clip on tags.

Need expiration date labels? I used these ones on the backs of the containers.

3. Use Large Baskets for Refills and Extras

large baskets for refills and backstock

When planning your small pantry organization, you will want to designate a place for large items and refills. For our space it made since to keep a few large baskets at the bottom of the pantry. We use them for bags of chips that would difficult to decant, as well as cereal backstock. You can recycle the cardboard boxes immediately and just keep the inner plastic bags to save space!

4. Replace Pantry Wire Shelving

how to replace wire pantry shelves

Finally, another great investment for an organized small pantry is to replace wire shelves. I decided to install inexpensive track shelving which has been more practical for us because boxes and containers do not tip over. The wooden shelves also just look nicer, in my opinion! I shared a tutorial for installing pantry shelves if you are interested.

Did I miss any important tips for pantry organizing? Share your ideas in the comments below! XO,

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  1. I love your pantry! How much space do you have between shelves?

    1. Thanks so much Ashley! There are 13 inches between each shelf.

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