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Things To Know: Small Pantry Organization

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There are several things to know when it comes to a small pantry organization project. Today I am sharing a closet that I turned into a small pantry with wood shelves, the clear food storage containers and baskets. The tiny closet located near the kitchen was a catchall and used for storing pots, dishes, dog food and whatever random kitchen items happened to land there.

The new organized kitchen pantry closet is functional, easy to access and simple to keep organized. The pantry design consists of glass jars, pantry baskets, pantry organization bins and storage containers from our Amazon Storefront. For under $200, I gained a stunning pantry closet and that included the wood to make the shelves. See my DIY floating shelves tutorial if you are feeling crafty!

kitchen pantry closet with plastic food storage containers, airtight containers, white wood shelves, cereal containers, over the door wire storage rack with snack storage

How to Organize a Pantry

Some things I wish I had known before I started this small pantry organization project:

The importance of making sure you have enough room for larger pantry items like bottles and taller items is critical! If I had planned a little better, I would have made my wooden DIY shelves adjustable to I could accommodate taller items.

Jessica Bruno

Step 1: Start fresh by emptying out your closet

As you can see below, the closet was a catchall for all things “that didn’t have a home” and was cluttered, messy and not functional.

messy kitchen closet turned organized pantry before and after

My goal was to use this closet above to store all of the pantry items that were being kept in a pantry kitchen cabinet below.

The cereal boxes and snacks were consistently a mess, half opened (and stale!) and I could never manage to keep it organized.

messy kitchen cabinet pantry before and after

Step 2: Paint the walls and add shelving

I started by removing everything from the closet and adding a fresh coat of white paint to the existing shelves and walls. 

kitchen pantry closet with plastic food storage containers, airtight containers, white wood shelves, over the door wire storage rack

Pantry Shelving Ideas

Pantry shelving can consist of wire shelving or wood shelving regardless of whether your have a small or large pantry.

Personally, I prefer wood shelving (I made mine) but if you find wire shelving (like this) easier to install consider these plastic shelf liners, they are amazing and we use them at our lake house.

amazon wire shelving for pantry closet

Wire Shelving

Shop Wire Shelving ↗

Plastic Shelf Liner

Shop Plastic Shelf Liner ↗

Pantry Organization Containers

I did make an investment in plastic food storage containers (I love these (with chalk labels) and  these cereal containers here from Amazon – I picked the red containers) which honestly, has made a world of difference in keeping this pantry closet organized.

The lazy susan above works out perfectly for our baking sprinkles and toppings. They were always buried under piles of food or tipped over in the back of the cabinet.

kitchen pantry with over the door wire storage rack with snacks in containers

I added a simple Closetmaid over the door rack to hold smaller plastic containers which worked out perfectly for granola, breakfast bars and other smaller food items.

kitchen pantry with over the door wire storage rack with snacks in containers

The plastic storage food bins without the cover on the door rack are perfect for granola bars, puddings, nuts and any small snack items.

I love that they come in a variety of sizes too. This type of granola bar storage bin is also a good idea too for a shelf.

Kitchen Pantry-5
kitchen pantry over the door storage rack

I paired woven seagrass baskets on the bottom shelf to store individual bags of chips and snacks. These woven baskets are a little more slim lined and would also be perfect depending on your pantry.

It’s amazing how food storage containers can change a pantry in minutes for the better!

kitchen pantry closet with plastic food storage containers, airtight containers, white wood shelves, cereal plastic containers, dog food container, over the door storage rack full of snacks

The dog food storage bin on wheels is the best thing I ever bought! You can find it here on Amazon. So much easier than a bag ripped open and spilled dog food everywhere.

Our new kitchen pantry now stores our snacks, baking supplies, cereal and dog food. Whether you have a small kitchen pantry closet like mine or a full elaborate walk in pantry, all of these storage containers will keep you organized.

I may end up moving the tall dog food container on wheels to another spot but for now, this is the only place it fits. 

kitchen pantry closet with plastic food storage containers, airtight containers, white wood shelves, cereal plastic containers

I ended up adding two additional shelves using the same method we used when we installed our floating shelves in our laundry room.

These airtight food storage containers are the perfect size for baking products, candy or cookies that you want to remove from the packaging. 

The clear lazy susan is small but it works perfectly for baking sprinkles ect. If you are looking for a bigger one, I also have this lazy susan that is amazing! 

You can find all of these items on our Amazon Storefront here.

kitchen pantry closet with plastic food storage containers, airtight containers, white wood shelves

A fun before and after for sure!

Here is another before shot of the closet.

messy coat closet turned kitchen pantry before and after
before and after pantry closet turned food pantry with clear storage containers, baskets, over the door wire storage rack, snacks, baking supplies and dog food bin

Organization Tips & Tricks

  • Use adjustable shelves so you can accommodate changing items like bottles of soda or water bottles.
  • If you using fixed wooden shelves like I did, be sure to map out exactly what you will be storing in the pantry to ensure you shelves are the correct height
  • Use stackable bins or large baskets on the floor to corral large bags of chips ect. like I did

Shopping Tip

Did you know that Walmart Home Online is just like Wayfair now? You can buy everything on Walmart and the many times the delivery and sales are better!

If you do not have a spare closet to turn into a pantry, this freestanding style storage cabinet from Walmart is amazing! We have it at our Lake House for linens and game storage but it would be perfect as a kitchen pantry as well. You can find it here.

white farmhouse storage cabinet
Walmart farmhouse white storage cabinet full of games, lines and beach towels

Our lake house is used as an Airbnb part of the time and this storage cabinet is perfect for storing so many things!

Looking to get organized or create a pantry space? Be sure to click our “shop pantry button” below to head to our Amazon Storefront.

Shop My Pantry Items

Not convinced that turning a closet into a small pantry is a good idea? See how I helped my neighbor make a pantry closet in 2 hours and under $100!

I cannot even begin to tell you how happy this little organized kitchen pantry closet makes me. Another fun project we did a while back is add double sliding barn doors to create a “pantry door” on an open shelving bookcase that was part of our previous homes kitchen design. That was a fun project!

I would love it if you would share some of your small pantry organization ideas below in the comment section!

About The Author

What started as a hobby, Jessica’s blog now has millions of people visit yearly and while many of the projects and posts look and sound perfect, life hasn’t always been easy. Read Jessica’s story and how overcoming death, divorce and dementia was one of her biggest life lessons to date.

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25 Comments

  1. Stephanie baumann says:

    Love it! I wish you made house calls…I have so many closets and storage areas that I abuse -I bet you could work some magic in my house!!!

  2. It looks great and gives me inspiration to redo my pantry again. Your kitchen can never be too organized!

  3. Ok, gotta get a move on, your “before” pictures look like my cabinets….to the Container Store!

  4. Where did you get the pet food bin on wheels? I need 2 of those!

    1. Those food bins on wheels are at Target and Walmart ๐Ÿ™‚ Ours is over 4 years old and I think Walmart might be where I picked it up. I see them all the time though at both stores. In fact, The Container Store also has a variety of sizes on wheels as well. Good luck in your search, they are perfect for pets! We even use them for the “pet” rocksalt near our back door ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. And I thought I was organized….. Haha!! Wish I had time for that job. I think you should start making house calls!! Could be profitable!!

  6. And where did the items which you stored before in the pantry go?

  7. Great use of space! I need to add some storage containing system to my doors! Wish we had a container store nearby.

  8. It looks fabulous Jess! Will you come organize mine now. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Heather

  9. Another home run! Seriously, you continue to knock it out of the park with these organizing posts! Jaw on the floor drooling. So good! Those over the door racks are seriously the best thing since sliced bread.

  10. Sue Burrell says:

    Jessica,
    Love your blog! You give me such great ideas! I’m on an organizing kick, so it was perfect timing! Can you tell me the name of the clear bins you purchased at the Container Store? I already have a wire rack for the back of my door, but need containers that fit inside and those you bought look perfect! I just can’t figure out which ones they are on The Container Store’s website. Thanks!
    Sue

  11. Looks amazing! Where did you get the door rack? Is it the kind that goes over the top of the door?

  12. I did a similar organization re-do in my freezer. I found some cute labels on Amazon (link below) that are used in the deli trade. They are mark-off so you can change the type of “sandwich” each day. They are made for the frig/freezer and are laminated. I punched a whole on each top corner and tied them to my freezer baskets with cute ribbon. I found the wipe-off didn’t work for me because every time we bumped one, it wiped off. I plan on using a permanent magic marker on them. I labeled my freezer shelves from bottom to top: meats, vegetables, prepared (homemade meals), use now. The use now is on the top. It’s that 1/2 container of chicken soup stock, 1/4 lb hamburger when I only needed a pound, bits of this and that I save for soups, etc.

  13. I just moved into a new home and am really struggling with my new pantry. It hose very deep shelves so if you put something in the back you can’t see it. Bright now it is total chaos. Any ideas on how to organize it?