5 cheap, easy ways to organize your pantry


Glass jars containing assorted food items

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Keeping our homes organized is one of life’s little daily challenges. One area in particular — the pantry — often needs some extra attention. But forking over the money for intricate shelving units just isn’t in the cards for many of us. Try these tips to pull your pantry together in a way that will look “Pinterest-worthy” for just a few bucks.


1. Contain it.

Use containers to hold loose items that are likely to tip if your shelving is made of wire, or to group similar items together. Less expensive containers will likely be shallow plastic bins or wire baskets; more expensive alternatives are canvas or woven baskets. We like these plastic bins from Rubbermaid or Room Essentials, both sold at Target for less than $10.


2. Arrange your items strategically.

Items that aren’t used as often, such as food processors or extra rolls of paper towels, can be stored on the top shelf, whereas everyday items — e.g., cereal, canned vegetables and cooking oils — can be stored on middle shelves for easy access.


3. Keep it fresh.

Glass or plastic containers can be used to store baking supplies, pasta and cereal to keep the items sealed tight and fresh. While attractive and durable, glass containers tend to be a bit pricier. We like plastic containers best, since they’re less expensive, and they can come in bright, fun colors. Try these containers — for less than $15 — from The Container Store.


4. Make a kid-friendly zone.

Fruit snacks, granola bars and other kid favorites can be stored on lower shelves so it’s easier for your little ones to grab them. You can even arrange them in storage containers (see below) with each child’s name, in case there are special dietary concerns. Easy-to-spill items — e.g., olive oil and vinegar — and treats, such as Halloween candy, can be stored on higher shelves so they’re safely out of reach.


5. Get your label maker out.

Labeling your storage containers can make everything in your pantry easier to find at a moment’s notice. One simple way to label them is to attach cardstock with a clothespin, as this blogger at Zucchini Summer did — looks great and it’s economical! Another choice is to use chalkboard signs, which you can change quickly. You can buy small chalkboard signs at many craft stores.