Simple Pantry Cabinet Storage and Organization Ideas

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Cabinet pantry organization

All of us run into storage challenges in the kitchen at some point. Maintaining organization can be tricky, especially if you have a large family or even just a couple of hungry teenagers (and friends) in the house. These kitchen pantry cabinet storage and organization ideas will help declutter your kitchen and prevent future storage challenges in any type of pantry.

white kitchen with pantry cabinet storage, organized with clear food containers for snacks and cereal, bowls and mugs on upper shelves, dining room seen in background, honed marble countertops, white subway tile backsplash,  unlacquered brass hardware

Different types of kitchen pantries

This is an area of the home that runs the gamut. Sure, Pinterest is full of gorgeous kitchens with hidden pantry doors made to look like part of the cabinetry.

While this feature isn’t in your typical kitchen, it sure is amazing! I’m going to start by explaining the setup I use and then explore other common pantry styles.

Kitchen cabinets and Drawers

During my kitchen remodel, I focused on details to give my space a high-end look (find out if I still love my honed marble countertops).

I may not have a separate closet, but I do have plenty of custom-look inset cabinets and drawers so I designated the section near the food prep and cooking areas to use for pantry items.

This conveniently keeps everything within reach so I don’t have to go far to grab any last-minute ingredients.

Stefana Silber using a spice organizer in her kitchen, spice drawer organized with glass jars and labels, pantry cabinet has canned goods and spices
Pantry closet

You don’t need a large kitchen to have a pantry closet. This is the most common setup you’ll find in homes these days, large or small.

The closet space is great for accommodating additional things like small appliances and other bulky items. Keep emergency water bottles or paper products on the bottom.

Use 12-inch deep pantry shelves up high so things don’t get lost from view, but you can use deeper ones in the middle.

Freestanding Pantry cabinet

This is an excellent option if you lack a cabinet or closet space. As I mentioned in my post about bathroom vanity storage, cabinets are considered furniture and should be selected to coordinate with the look and style of your home.

I have a wooden cabinet with glass doors to store some overflow items from our bathrooms. This same cabinet can be used for pantry storage too!

light bulb graphic

How to organize pantry cabinets in any kitchen

  • MEASURE – be aware of how much space you have and what you need. Do this before you head out to shop (or hit that add to cart button)!
  • WORK WITH WHAT YOU HAVE – The best system to organize is the one that works for you and your space. You may not have a pantry cupboard (for those of you across the pond) or enough cabinet and drawer space to create the same look you found on Pinterest so do what ultimately works for you.
  • REDUCE VISUAL CLUTTER – I like all the storage areas in my home (primary closet and bathroom vanity) to be functional but also to look aesthetically pleasing. Use matching baskets, bins, or containers to reduce the chaos created by all the colors and graphics on food labels.
  • GET CREATIVE – It’s easier to come up with a system for larger storage spaces. Small pantry organization requires a bigger imagination. Use every inch of your space, even the inside of your pantry cabinet doors!

Here I used clear Command hooks to store measuring spoons on the inside of my pantry cabinet door.

pantry cabinet door open with organized baking goods and supplies, metal measuring spoons hanging on inside of door with command hooks

Spice drawer organization

I’m sure you know by now that I love organized spaces and my spice drawer is no exception! I keep spices close so I can add a little of this and that as I go.

My Rev-a-SheIf trimmable wood spice organizer is a pricier option, but the real wood is completely customizable for your space giving it that high-end look.

However, if you store spices in a kitchen cabinet, use expandable tiered spice racks or pull-out organizers. They come in a variety of sizes and materials making it easy to find the right one for you.

I use one to store a few overflow spices. The pull-out tray keeps the jars in place while you find what you’re looking for!

Food storage tips for your pantry

When setting up my organization system, the goal was to designate cabinets and drawers that provide easy access to our most used items.

Take time to think about where you’ll be using each item so things are easy to find and your kitchen has a good flow.

How to store snacks, cereal, and bread

The snack cabinet has everything organized into air-tight clear plastic containers. These containers are kid-friendly so you don’t have to worry about glass shattering if dropped.

Plus, everything looks neat and we can see what it is and exactly how much of it we have.

open pantry cabinet doors showing organized snacks and cereals in clear plastic containers

When I dump contents into the containers, it all fits perfectly and I don’t ever have anything extra. Just kidding!!!

What do I do if the whole box of Cheerios doesn’t fit into the container, you ask? I have a drawer for that.

It holds all the overflow items and keeps them out of sight. Like most homes, this is a hot spot in the kitchen. You can tell by the heavy patina of the unlacquered brass knobs on that particular cabinet.

If you have little ones independent enough to make their snacks and lunches, keep those items within reach. I use bins and dividers in a bottom drawer to keep these things in place.

pantry cabinet and drawer storage with bottom drawer open, clear plastic bin organizers containing  bread, pasta, and rice
The best way to store dry goods and baking supplies

Baking is an occasional activity for me so I don’t want to keep my baking supplies in high-traffic storage areas.

A corner pantry cabinet that is easy to access houses mixing bowls and air-tight glass storage jars with all my baking ingredients.

woman reaching into organized pantry cabinet for dry baking goods stored in air-tight glass jars, measuring spoons hung on inside of cabinet door to maximize space

Glass jars | Labels | Mixing bowls | Measuring spoons

I prefer glass containers for things that are stored for longer periods, like flour and sugar.

Snack container contents have a much quicker turnover so I don’t worry about the possibility of plastic leaching into my pretzels. No one wants cookies that taste like plastic!

Add pretty labels since many of these ingredients can look the same. If you don’t like the style that came with your jar set, you can purchase those separately. I like the minimalist look of these – classic!

close up views of organized baking supplies in panty cabinet with minimalist labels

What I keep in the cabinets and drawers near the stove

I save the pantry cabinets and drawers next to the stove for oven mitts, kitchen linens, canned goods, and sauces as well as other dry food, like pasta and rice. All the things that make it easier to put dinner together quickly on a hectic weeknight.

Notice how you can see everything stored in each cabinet and drawer. Nothing is crammed in and shoved back out of sight. Being able to see everything helps us keep track of our supply levels so we know exactly what needs to be added to the shopping list…Hey, Alexa!

My #1 pantry organization tip

Keep it simple! After all, that is the point of all this organizing, right? Reduce the amount of unnecessary stuff and establish an order for the things you need.

This creates a sense of tranquility that is not achievable when you are surrounded by clutter. Learn how I keep my countertops clutter-free!

Psst…if you like my kitchen hardware you can read all about it in my unlacquered brass cabinet hardware post!

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