Organizing your pantry seems like a big job but it doesn’t have to be an all-day affair! I’m going to show you how to organize a pantry quickly and efficiently.

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Depending on how stocked your pantry is and how long it’s been since you last purged, this might take you 15 minutes, or it might take you an hour.

If it’s been a while, commit to taking 15 minutes a day for the next few days until it’s done. In that case, just take one shelf at a time.

Organize a Pantry Step 1: Empty + Purge

Get rid of everything that is expired. Throw it out.

I know it’s painful to throw out food and waste what could have been. Acknowledge this, commit to reducing your food waste, and move on.

Anything that isn’t expired, and you know you won’t eat, either throw it out or give it to someone IMMEDIATELY (do not, I repeat, DO NOT hold onto it until next Tuesday when your bestie is coming over).

Give it to a neighbor or friend, or even better, donate it to a local shelter or food pantry.

Step 2: Measure

Measure the pantry while it’s empty, all the areas! Then get some baskets or bins today (or at the very least, order them so they come this week!).

See-through containers are the best option to organize a pantry (especially if you’re organizing a small pantry!). You can see exactly what you have in there, and things won’t get lost as easily.

Step 3: Get Organized

Put like things together. I think the most efficient way to do this is to organize it like the grocery store.

And make sure you write them down as you put them away on an Inventory sheet. You can download my Pantry Organization printable for free and use it for Pantry organization, Freezer organization, or Fridge organization:

Free Kitchen Inventory

Pantry Organization Categories

I recommend organizing by the type of food and not type of container. Like, do not automatically put all cans together or all boxes together. That’s NOT going to help you when you are looking for something!

Make your pantry organization categories like the grocery store.

  • Snacks – cookies, chips, crackers
  • Juice & beverages
  • Canned vegetables & beans
  • Breakfast – cereal, oatmeal, pancake mix
  • Pasta & Rice (+ sauces you would use with those)
  • Condiments, oils & spices
  • Baking items
  • Ethnic food
  • Broth & soup
  • Convenience foods
  • Bread & lunch items

Use your spidey sense when putting like things away – if you always make canned tomatoes with pasta, keep it with the pasta instead of the canned vegetables.

Older items go in the front, just like the grocery store does. As you buy groceries, add them to your Inventory sheet, and then they go in the back so you’re always using the oldest things first. Get into this habit and you won’t have to keep purging the pantry.

Step 4: Make a Rescue Meal basket

What’s a rescue meal, you ask? It’s going to be your best friend in a second.

It’s basically dinner that:

  • requires little to no prep
  • takes 30 minutes or less
  • you always have the ingredients for

I personally think the magic number of Rescue Meal recipes is 5. This gives you a few different options when it comes time to make one of your emergency meals.

Go see exactly how to figure out what dinner ideas should be in your Rescue Meal Plan.

Keeping a separate basket for these ingredients (along with a copy of the recipe!) ensures you’ll always have these ingredients on hand. And as soon as you use them, they go on the grocery shopping list!

Hopefully this step by step guide of how to organize a pantry got you started in the right direction and you can have an organized and efficient kitchen!

Free Kitchen Inventory

Organize your pantry in 15 minutes