Pantry with deep shelves

10 ways to organize pantry shelves |

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(Image credit: Studio McGee Design / Lucy Call Photography)

By Tara King


Knowing how to organize deep pantry shelves efficiently will make a huge difference to your pantry. One thing deep pantry shelves don’t lack is space – they can house an awful lot of 'stuff'. While this is great in terms of storage, it does mean they can easily descend into a dumping ground for kitchen clutter if not organized properly. 

When organizing a kitchen, deep pantry shelves require a little extra planning. Packing them full may feel like a good use of space but trust us when we say taking a minimal approach is the best way to maximize their usefulness. 

Having an efficient food storage system in place has its own set of benefits – relaxed cooking and less food waste, for a start – while easy access to other staples (food processors, platters, cake stands, linens, etc) should result in a smoother-running kitchen overall.  

If you are looking for pantry ideas that can help you organize deep pantry shelves, we have plenty of expert tips below.

How to organize deep pantry shelves

We’ve spoken to the experts about organizing a pantry and gathered some of the easiest ways to organize deep pantry shelves, from pantry storage ideas to decluttering tips, to help you keep your pantry staples orderly, organized and always close to hand. They’re tips that will prove useful for laundry room organization and organizing a utility room with deep shelves, too.

1. Make a plan  

(Image credit: Drew Forsyth)

Start with a clear out of pantry shelving. ‘When organizing deep pantry shelves, decluttering is the best place to start. Go through every tin, packet, jar and bottle and get rid of anything past its sell-by date or that you really won’t use at all (ensuring you recycle what you can). Do the same for kitchen items, too. That way you’re only left with what you need to put back, and you can start to assign locations.  

‘I recommend using sticky notes to quickly jot down where you think things might go before you actually replace them, it helps you to get an overall holistic view of your storage situation’, says Heather Hoerzen, design editor at Havenly .

2. Choose pull-out storage 

(Image credit: Life Kitchens)

 ‘If you can upgrade to mounted drawers inside deep pantry shelving, it's a game changer’, says Betsy Moyer, founder of The Estate of Things . ’You'll see so much more of what you store. And we all know the key to succeed in properly utilizing your pantry storage is visibility.’

Or use baskets and bins or transparent containers, including those you’ve set aside as a result of organizing Tupperware – this performs the same function as organizing kitchen drawers, and they have added benefit of being able to pull right out, particularly useful for higher up shelving. 

You can then set them down on a counter and have a proper rifle through – essentially a removable drawer,’ says Ann Lightfoot, co-founder of Done & Done Home . They’re ideal for grouping smaller like-items – think organizing spices – that would otherwise get lost at the back of a cabinet.

When organizing pantry drawers, particularly deep ones, use kitchen organizers such as dividers or bespoke inserts to keep everything neatly categorized.

Pantry door ideas, like the one above, can complement deep pantry shelves, allowing you to store smaller items efficiently.

3. Reserve lower shelves for heavier items

(Image credit: Humphery Munson)

Deep pantry shelves are ideal for storing sizeable items of cookware, organizing pots and pans, and stashing appliances or large bags of overfill foods, as the space between top and bottom allows cooks to reach inside easily and access heavier items, reducing the risk of potential accidents. 

‘If it’s heavy, store it low, says Richard Davonport, managing director at Davonport . ‘It sounds simple, but you really don’t want to be accessing heavy items overhead.’ 

When deciding exactly what goes where, assign the heaviest items to shelves that are reachable without stretching up or bending down – similarly to how you would when organizing kitchen cabinets.  

4. And store seldom-used items up high 

(Image credit: Future)

Higher up deep pantry shelving should be reserved for those items that are rarely used – think cocktail straws for parties, cookie cutters for Christmas, and so on. 

Try to avoid putting delicate items such as glass jars or appliances on high shelves to avoid any unnecessary breakages.

5. Enlist pantry helpers 

(Image credit: Future)

Deep pantry shelves may offer plenty of space, but they need to be organized properly in order to make the best of it. From wire-racks and bins to carousels and risers, investing pantry organizers can make all the difference. Think about exactly what you want to store on the shelf and which would most benefit you.  

‘Tinned food can be placed on a shelf to the back atop risers to allow you to see what you have without digging through several layers of cans, and clear containers stacked underneath are really helpful to easily spot what you need without rummaging’, says Stephanie Nixon, kitchen designer at Neptune .  

6. Stack food in height order

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

It’s tempting to put items at the front as you’ve just used them, but this results in smaller items getting lost and forgotten, particularly when organizing deep pantry shelves. Stacking in height order allows you to see what you’ve got clearly and helps you to avoid knocking things over when you’re reaching all the way back.  

7. Pay attention to use-by dates  

Position items according to how soon they’re due to go off. This is the way it’s done in supermarkets to ensure customers buy the stock going out of date first.  Professional organizer Brenda Scott of Tidy My Space refers to this as the ‘FIFO’ method: 

‘Think first in first out… when you purchase an item it goes to the back of the grouping so the item with the nearest expiration date always remains at the front,’ she says.

8. Create eye-pleasing displays  

(Image credit: Olive Barr)

Decorative kitchen storage ideas can make a huge difference to your pantry’s look and feel, so creating a stylish display is vital when organizing deep pantry shelves, particularly if they’re open or have glass doors.  

To keep shelves looking neat, tidy and mindfully arranged, organize them by grouping items into clusters of odd numbers, ideally three items, and add different heights and sizes in each cluster.  

Baskets offer a practical way of storing your unsightly pantry items, while maintaining a neat and tidy aesthetic. Similarly, decanting dried goods in neatly labelled glass jars makes for a stylish display, plus you can see when stocks are running low at a quick glance. There’s also no risk of packets opening and spilling everywhere – never an easy clean-up job, and even less so on deep shelves.

Labels aren’t just practical; they add style and character to your pantry, too. Consider chalkboard labels for jars and luggage tags for baskets. 

9. Store appliances on deep pantry shelves  

When organizing kitchen countertops, minimalism is key, particularly now when dual-purpose kitchen/entertaining spaces are more popular than ever. The fewer appliances you have out on show, the better.  

‘Deep pantry shelves are perfect for housing small appliances such as kettles, toasters and coffee machines, freeing up valuable workspace,’ says Will Lyne, lead designer and owner of Christopher Peters Kitchens & Interiors . 

Emma Cowburn, kitchen designer at Harvey Jones agrees, and adds: ‘Consider having them fitted with sockets at the back so you can plug and use the appliances where they are, then simply close the doors on any clutter.’  

10. Don’t be tempted to overload 

By their very nature, deep pantry shelves can house a lot of 'stuff'. It’s tempting to fill the space – particularly if you’re organizing a small kitchen, but it’s not conducive to effective storage overall. 

‘Deep pantry shelves are handy for hiding away lots of clutter, but that doesn’t necessarily make them user-friendly,’ advises Richard. ‘If your non-stick frying pan is always hiding underneath five other saucepans of various shapes and sizes it will be frustrating every time you need to use it, so try to give each item its own space, particularly ones you use every day. ’ 

How do I organize narrow and deep pantry shelves? 

Reserve narrow and deep pantry shelves for smaller items and use transparent containers or baskets to group them. Be sure to measure the height and width of the shelf before deciding on pull out storage – you ideally want a snug fit, so you’re not left with dead space at the back. Label each container clearly so you can pull one out – like a removable drawer, find what you need, and slide it back in again.

You could also consider installing a tall, slim rack for wine storage.

How do you organize a deep corner pantry?  

Fitting pantry shelves is a brilliant way to make the most of an unused corner in your kitchen – opt for floating styles rather than ones fitted with brackets to utilize space. 

Pantry organizers are your best friend in a deep corner pantry. Stack risers along the shelves and store tinned goods on top, with overflows tucked underneath. As you use the tins, always replace the one on top of the riser so you know where you’re looking next time. Make the most of open corner space with carousel storage – easy access to condiments, spices, oils and other bottled items. 

Get rid of packaging to save on space and decant dried goods into clear, glass jars that sit snugly side by side. Make sure the taller items go towards the back, so you don’t end up knocking things over as you reach in and keep most frequently used items – and those with closer expiry dates – near the front. 

For 10 years, Tara King worked as a Content Editor in the magazine industry, before leaving to become freelance, covering interior design, wellbeing, craft and homemaking. As well as writing for Ideal Home, Style at Home, Country Homes & Interiors, Tara’s keen eye for styling combined with a passion for creating a happy – and functional – family home has led to a series of organization and cleaning features for H&G. 

Best Tips for Deep Pantry Organization

Cleaning and Organization | Homemaking

Our kitchen is the hub of our home, which means the pantry needs to be clean and efficient. I’m sharing the best tips for deep pantry organization, but these tips will also work for any pantry organization.

Do you have an area, or cabinet, of you home that tends to get messier faster than any other area?

The pantry and our laundry room are those target areas for my home.

The laundry room is, mostly, used by me. I try to keep that under wraps by tending to it during my normal laundry routine.

A pantry is a different animal because I am not the only one accessing the space.

Everyone in the home has their hand in the pantry throughout the day, so it can get quite messy very quickly.

Let’s tackle your pantry together, shall we? But first, you can take a look at mine and feel better about your own pantry.

Messy Pantry Frustrations

There are many frustrations that come with unorganized spaces.

Having a simple house cleaning schedule can help with that, but what about unseen spaces, such as a pantry?

You can keep your kitchen spotless and then open the pantry and feel like all is lost… literally, things can get lost in there.

It is especially important to keep things organized if you have a prepared pantry in your kitchen or home.

Sometimes, it is helpful to list the reasons you want to clean something in order to help motivate you to get a job done.

Here are a few frustrations that you might experience from having a messy pantry, I know these ring true for me.

How to Begin to Organize your Kitchen Pantry

Beginning a process can be the hardest step because you know that the mess will get worse before it gets better.

The best place to begin to organize your pantry is with removing everything all of the items from your pantry.

Then, you can clean the pantry and add things back in an orderly fashion.

Steps for Organizing a Pantry with Deep Shelves

  1. Remove everything from your pantry– Take everything out and place it on your counter or kitchen table.
  2. Clean the shelves– Vacuum out the crumbs and wipe the dust with a rag.
  3. Categorize what is in your pantry- Create categories for your items so you can put them back in an organized fashion.
  4. Wipe down your pantry items– Before putting them back in the pantry, wipe down your goods so your pantry feels spotless when you’re done.
  5. Create zones in your pantry for similar items– canned goods, snacks, breakfast items, spices, etc. Zones can be easily established by using organizational tools to keep things in place.
  6. Keep regularly used items where they can be accessed easily– Things that are used on a daily basis need to be in the front of the shelf and at eye level so they are easy to get. Other, less used, items can be positioned in the back of the shelf or where they aren’t as easy to get to since they aren’t used as often.

Tops Tips for Organizing your Pantry

  1. Label things to help other family members to keep things tidy
  2. Put items closer to expiration in the front
  3. Get organizational baskets and containers to help you
  4. If you’re space is limited, optimize it by using hanging shelves on the door
  5. Put heavy items on lower shelves and lighter items on the top shelf
  6. Place tall things in the back and keep shorter items in the front
  7. Make sure your pantry helps you stay efficient in the kitchen

Tools for Organization Deep Pantry Shelves

DIY Tips for Deep Pantry Organization

  1. Repurpose Mason Jars for food storage- beans, rice, cereal, popcorn
  2. Old Wooden Crates– These work great to add levels to your shelving. Turn old wooden boxes or crates on their side and stack small items, such as canned goods or spices, on top to add another level in your pantry.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you maximize deep shelves?

To maximize deep pantry shelves, put tall items in the back and shorter items in the front. Always add newer items to the back of the pantry so your older items get used before they expire. Consider adding shelves to give height to those items in the back, making them more visible.

What is an easy solution for managing deep pantry shelves?

A quick solution for deep shelving is to add deep pantry pull out shelves. These drawers make it easy to access the items in the back of the pantry. You may also get simple storage solutions to help with pantry organization.

How do you organize a deep corner pantry?

The best way to keep a deep corner pantry organized is by adding a lazy susan to the cabinet. This simple organizational tool allows you to easily access anything in your corner pantry.

Free Decluttering Guide

If you are needing inspiration and help decluttering your home, be sure to check out this decluttering guide.

There are checklists, tips for preventing overwhelm, and encouragement to help you get started and feel successful.

FREE Decluttering Guide

Free Cleaning Task Printables

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How to Organize Storage in a Pantry - Storage

A pantry can be an entire separate room, or just a closet, or a niche in the wall, but the order there is fundamental. Firstly, with proper organization, more will fit in the pantry; secondly, it will be more convenient and faster to find what you need; thirdly, no food will be lost or rotten in the bowels of an unorganized pantry.

What is convenient to store in the pantry:

If the pantry is large enough and located next to the bathroom or kitchen, it can become a full-fledged laundry room, where there will be a washing machine and clothes to dry.

Special storage systems

Prefabricated storage systems are sold for pantries, where you can choose the necessary elements (rails, shelves, drawers, containers) in the right quantity and arrange them as convenient. Sometimes such a system looks like a solid rack, where the place of each element is already predetermined by the manufacturer, but in most cases it is still very convenient.

Storage systems available, for example, in IKEA:

Shelving units

The basis of any pantry is a rack. If you have a shallow niche at your disposal, you can simply build ordinary shelves into it. With a large niche or cabinet depth, it is better to place the shelves with the letter P or G along the walls or place items in boxes that are easy to pull out as a whole, or in drawers / drawers. By the same logic, it is better not to choose too deep racks in the pantry-room.

Boxes, baskets and trunks

Boxes and baskets for hard contents and trunks for soft items such as home textiles and seasonal clothing, allow better organization of storage in the pantry. For little things, you can use mini chests of drawers with drawers. Boxes not only help to occupy the entire depth of the shelf without losing the convenience of extracting the contents, it is also a guarantee that things of the same type will be collected together and not mixed up. Most importantly, do not forget to sign the boxes for convenience.

It is convenient to place a large box or box on wheels under the rack.

Containers and metal baskets

Such containers can hold a large number of medium-sized items, dedicating each basket to a themed filling. The advantage of containers and baskets is that, unlike boxes, they can not only be placed on the shelves of the rack, but also made retractable or hung on the wall as an independent element.


For storage in the pantry, both shelf organizer modules and hanging pockets can be used. It does not matter for what purpose the organizer was provided by the seller, this may be the ideal format for your task. However, if you can find highly specialized organizers (for example, for cans or garbage bags), it is unlikely that the alternatives will be more convenient.

Roof rails

Rails or rails do not take up much space: they can be attached under any of the shelves of the rack or directly on the wall. On the hooks of the railing, you can hang frequently used equipment (scissors or a scoop) or attach baskets for small things. You can also hang an ordinary hanger with clips on the railing - it is so convenient to store opened packages with bulk products or fragile contents.

Door storage

Don't forget the space on the closet or pantry door - it's a great place to store: hang a horizontal organizer on the door or place small baskets or shelves with sides to keep the contents from falling when the door is moved.

Shelf dividers

Place vertical dividers to ensure that free-standing shelf contents do not get mixed up and each item has its own place.

Horizontal dividers can also be useful: this mini shelf with legs allows you to make the most of the height of the shelving shelf - you can put something both under the divider and on it.

Of course, you can immediately choose a rack with compartments of different sizes and heights, but then you have to adapt to it; dividers will help to adjust the rack to your needs.

Bottle storage

Bottles are easier to put down than to stand; wine bottles are especially important to hold horizontally. For this task, there are special stands or built-in pantries. Read more about how to store alcohol here.

A few last tips:

More perfectly organized pantries in our selection: "26 Pantry Perfectionists".


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Storage, kitchen, pantry

11 ideas for organizing order in the pantry • Intrels

unless kitchen - modern, rustic or somewhere in between. Efficient storage organization goes with everything. And there is no place more prone to clutter and disorganization than a pantry.

Moving away from bulky food packaging in favor of reusable food containers is now considered a big trend. But it's not the only way or the best way to improve your pantry organization.

From hidden drawers to hanging baskets, there are more ways to organize your kitchen utensils than you think. Check out these pantry optimization ideas below and start rethinking your entire kitchen storage system.

  1. Shelf ideas for pantry organization

Open shelves are less hidden than cabinets or cabinets. Get a stylish mess by mixing decorative items with dry foods and spice jars.

Arranging food in the right containers will help keep your shelves organized. Individual trays will help you organize your supplies and make it easier to find what you need.

Floating shelves allow essential items to be stored at any height. If you are installing stationary options in the pantry, distribute them at different heights to accommodate a range of items of various sizes.

Floor-to-ceiling shelving is essential for maximizing storage space, especially in a small space. Keep your least used items on the top shelf and invest in a stool that matches your kitchen décor.

  1. Ideas for organizing a wooden pantry

If you have a carpentry talent or know someone who can build anything, you can easily build your own wood pantry with easy storage. Even if you have to hire an experienced specialist to do the job, we promise that the result will be worth the money spent.

Provide special boxes for the most necessary things in the pantry. If you're going to be storing small kitchen appliances inside, such as a coffee maker, mixer, or blender, consider adding cable management holes to the wooden shelves.

Solid wood shelving requires more care than laminate, metal or plastic. Make sure your pantry shelves are well protected from damage. Protective pads on the shelves will help stop the catastrophic mess in the bud.

When it comes to looks, there's no shortage of ways to design your wood pantry to match your kitchen décor. Let natural wood shine from within, and paint your pantry door for a contemporary aesthetic.

  1. Storage cabinet ideas

Cabinets keep food organized and tidy, whether in the pantry or built-in storage in the kitchen.

Unfortunately, storage behind cupboard doors is also a great way to forget food even exists. Invest in glass or mesh doors that allow you to see everything inside without having to open cabinets.

A large kitchen cabinet is a great way to keep essentials close at hand. Match the exterior finishes to the existing cabinetry in your kitchen. As always, be sure to make the most of your available storage space with shelves or baskets built into the inside of your cabinet doors.

Wardrobes are great, but don't underestimate how useful one or two drawers in your pantry can be. Drawers are the perfect place to store cooking utensils, snack bags, and other hard-to-stow items.

  1. Pantry storage ideas

Our number one tip for organizing is to mix and match storage options as often as possible. If you rely only on cabinets, shelves or drawers, then the space is more likely to work against you than for you.

Most people understand the importance and convenience of spice racks. You can use a similar concept to store your canned food collection. By placing smaller items on miniature tiered shelves, it's easier to see everything in your pantry.

While some ideas for pantry organization are thought-provoking, common pantry fixtures can do double duty. Of course, don't fight the urge to store non-food items in it, but solutions like a shoe rack or a plastic grocery bag holder will make your pantry look great.

Try to get things off the pantry floor, even if it means just putting them in a storage basket. This will keep things like cans and paper towels free of dust and moisture. Plus, the items will be easier to move when it's time to sweep or mop the closet.

  1. Organizing ideas for a pull-out pantry

It's easy to overlook comfort when coming up with storage ideas. But you can combine the best of both worlds with pull-out pantries.

Drawer pantries come in a variety of shapes, styles and sizes. The most popular variation of this trend is sliding shelves.

You can add pull-out shelves to almost any pantry, kitchen or otherwise. Pull-out shelves are especially useful in deep spaces and for low-to-the-ground storage.

If you're looking for ultra-compact storage that can fit in even the most awkward of spaces, you might be interested in the entire pull-out system. It can be built into the wall or into kitchen cabinets.

  1. Storage cabinet replacement ideas

If your kitchen does not have a pantry, then the nearest closet is the best option. The larger the closet, the more space you have at your disposal. But a tiny unused kitchen cabinet has more potential than you might think.

You can get by with a set of wire shelves - you probably already have them in your kitchen cabinet. However, wooden shelves are also worth the investment. Solid pantry shelves are easier to clean, won't snag on small items, and keep spills under control.

When everything inside the pantry is in order, pay attention to the door. Replacing an existing door is a great way to spice up your kitchen decor without creating a visual clutter.

No cabinet? No problem. A cupboard is also a great alternative. In free-standing cabinets, you can organize all the features of a full-size pantry cabinet. Look for a cabinet that matches your kitchen decor and has lots of shelves and drawers.

  1. Small pantry storage ideas

Organization is important at any scale. Just because your pantry is in a small space or closet doesn't mean you don't deserve a well-organized space.

Hanging shelves are a great way to get more use. For efficiency, double the number of shelves you have so you can expand a small pantry space.

Hanging objects free up space on the shelves. Add hooks to the bottom of shelves or cabinets to store items like measuring cups or mugs.

  1. Corner pantry storage ideas

If your kitchen lacks storage space and has an empty corner, the solution is obvious. Install a built-in corner cabinet or invest in a freestanding one that doubles as an organizer instead of a pantry.

Avoid deep shelves in corner storage. You may feel like you're sacrificing extra storage space. However, in most cases it will be better if you have easy access to all the main products.

Consider adding rotating shelves to your corner pantry. This little detail will make jars, spice jars and other small items much easier to find than regular ones.

Don't let your corner pantry sit idle. Attach additional storage to the door and install shelves on each surface inside. Even small shelves can come in handy for storing things like baking soda or peanut butter jars.

  1. Storage containers

Even if you don't want to move all the staples in your pantry to new containers, it's good to have them on hand. Storage containers are often better at preserving food than the original packaging. Plus, investing in floating containers can save valuable shelf space.

Glass storage containers are more durable but also more expensive. Luckily, an old glass jar can easily be turned into a high-quality storage container. Dissimilar old cans are an affordable solution. Replace the original jar lids with new plastic or wooden ones.

A transparent container will also almost always be more comfortable than an opaque one. The only exception is when direct sunlight enters your pantry during the day.

This is another area where the form and function of your pantry can come into conflict. If you intend to use only one type of storage container in your pantry, look for a set that includes containers of different shapes and sizes.

  1. Butler pantry ideas

Many homeowners dream of having a butler's pantry. But this multifunctional room has its own collection of storage challenges.

Everything has its place in the butler's pantry, including kitchen appliances on the countertop. A decorative tray or dish rack is a great way to organize space in a butler's pantry.

Don't skimp on cabinets. You may decide that you don't need closed cabinets in a separate pantry. However, relying on open shelves can make things look chaotic and cluttered.

Take the time to treat your mobile pantry as an extension of your kitchen.

Learn more