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10 Ideas for Organizing a Small Kitchen Pantry

If your kitchen pantry is a mess, you'll spend more time hunting for ingredients to make that big family dinner. It's even tougher when you're faced with a less than ideal-sized space. Fortunately, combining a few key accessories and a dash of DIY tips is all that's needed!

Here are 10 cool ideas for organizing your small kitchen pantry:

  • Use storage bins and canisters to your advantage
  • Remove food from its original packaging
  • Follow the "first in, first out" rule
  • Invest in pull-out drawers for cabinets
  • Install modular racks
  • Utilize the pantry or cabinet door
  • Repurpose magazine racks to store canned goods
  • Establish an easy-to-access snack station
  • Better organize your spices
  • Add a bar cart to free up pantry space

Further dive into the 10 best ideas for organizing your small kitchen pantry below!

Use Storage Bins and Canisters to Your Advantage

Adding storage bins and canisters of various sizes and shapes will allow you to better maximize your small space. Storage bins can include anything from repurposed crates to wicker baskets. Bonus points for bins that are stackable!

Likewise, utilizing clear canisters to store goods such as flour and sugar will help you stay organized. Just make sure to keep everything labeled, otherwise, you might add flour to a dish when you meant to add sugar.

Remove Food from Packaging

Similar to the tip above, removing your food items from their original packaging can also help to free up space. For example, chip bags are notoriously difficult to keep organized, which is especially true once they've been opened. Consider transferring your chips to an air-tight container to free up space. The same can be applied to other food items, including cereal, cookies, crackers, rice, grain, etc. Doing this can also help cut down on pests invading your pantry.

Follow The "First In, First Out" Rule

Like any good supermarket, adopting the "first in, first out" rule will help you use up your food before it expires. Basically, after making a trip to the grocery store, rotate the older items in your pantry to the front and store the items you just purchased in the back. This is especially true for canned goods, but it also applies to perishables too, such as produce.

Invest in Pull-Out Drawers for Cabinets

A staple of any modern kitchen pantry, pull-out drawers in cabinets not only look nice, but they also double your storage space, as The Pioneer Woman points out. Inside of straining your eyes and neck to see in the back of a cabinet, pull-out drawers allow you to see everything stored in one place. The beauty of these drawers is that you can either hire someone to install them or do it yourself.

Install Modular Racks

Don't have a proper pantry? No problem! Your best bet is to install modular racks. These racks are designed to fit in tight spaces and are customizable to your situation. Need more space on the bottom shelf? Simply adjust the rack to suit your needs.

Utilize The Pantry or Cabinet Door

Does your pantry have a door? If so, hanging a door rack on the back of it can open up a lot more room for storage. Store frequently used items on the rack for added convenience. Or, if you're feeling creative, paint the back side with chalkboard paint to keep track of recipes and groceries. If you don't have a pantry door, you can apply this same concept to the back of cabinet doors as well. You'll just need a much smaller hanging rack.

Repurpose Magazine Racks to Store Canned Goods

Canned goods are fairly easy to stack, however, once you reach the third level, they're prone to falling over. You can avoid this by repurposing magazine racks to store canned goods and other items, according to HGTV. Simply place as many racks as you need in your pantry and stack away. It's probably best if you designate similar items for each rack, such as a rack for beans, soups, and vegetables.

Establish an Easy-to-Access Snack Station

This is a great tip for households with notorious snackers. Establishing an easy-to-access snack station will help prevent snackers from rifling through your well-organized pantry, destroying it in the process. Utilize a bin on a specific shelf or a rack outside of your pantry to create this station. Use it to store a variety of snacks, including chips, cookies, nuts, etc. This station will also help you keep better track of when you're running low on certain items.

Better Organize Your Spices

Spices are easily the first thing to clutter up a pantry. Avoid this by investing in a spice rack to keep them organized. Or, you can get a little creative and make your own spice organizer. One such DIY organizer may include designating a drawer that houses all of your spices. Before you start organizing, Delish.com recommends cleaning out and discarding any duplicate or expired spices.

Add a Bar Cart to Free up Pantry Space

Adding a bar cart to your pantry can help you free up shelf space and create a mobile area for storage. Remember, bar carts don't solely store alcohol. You can use these versatile carts to store various food items. Plus, they can double as an additional serving space when hosting guests.


Even if you have a small kitchen pantry, keeping it organized with the tips above will help you double the available space. Utilize storage bins and canisters to your advantage by removing food from its original packaging. Invest in pull-out drawers, modular racks, and doors racks.

Repurposing magazine racks can help keep your canned goods organized, while spice racks will keep your spices in order. Also, consider adding a bar cart for extra storage space. Above all, make sure to employ the "first in, first out," rule to avoid wasting food.


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