How to Declutter Your Pantry

organized pantry

@melanie_thedreamer / Twenty20

Decluttering your home is a great way to downsize and get rid of all the "stuff" you never actually use. A decluttered home can reduce stress and make it easier to find everything when you actually need it. If you're working your way through decluttering your home, focusing on your pantry is a must.

A clutter-free pantry will not only make it easier for you to find what you need, but it can actually allow you to maximize your storage space. Here are easy steps you can take to declutter your pantry in an afternoon.

  • 01 of 08

    Remove Everything You Have

    The first step is always to remove everything you have in your pantry. Don't try to cut corners by only taking out half of your pantry and moving around the rest. This will only lead to a less effective storage system and more work down the line.

    Instead, take everything you have out and lay it on the floor so you can easily take inventory.

  • 02 of 08

    Take Inventory

    Once you've removed everything from your pantry, it's time to take a cue from Marie Kondo and get rid of anything you aren't going to use. Check expiration dates and toss anything that is long past its best-by date.

    For items that haven't yet expired, either make a plan to use them or decide to toss or donate if it's unlikely you will ever actually find a use.

  • 03 of 08

    Thoroughly Clean

    Before you start to organize, spend some time washing down every shelf or drawer you have in your pantry. Now is the time to get rid of crumbs, old packaging, or anything else that may have fallen on the floor or your shelves.

    If you want to reline your pantry, now is also a great time to do so. Pick a liner that is easy to clean, but will also conceal small stains and spills.

  • 04 of 08

    Create Groups

    Before you begin to put things back into your pantry, lay everything out in sets of like products. Create groups of items such as "baking supplies", "cereals," "snacks for kids," and more, so it's easy to find exactly what you need.

    Which groups you create will naturally depend on what your family's needs are, but be sure to put the groups of foods you use most often upfront, so they're easier to find.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Add Storage Containers

    Large, bulky cardboard boxes take up too much space and add unnecessary clutter to your pantry. Instead, remove food from their original packaging and place it inside clear storage containers instead.

    Not only will this make it easier to create "zones" in your pantry, but you can easily remove a single container to find what you need, instead of sifting through an entire shelf.

  • 06 of 08

    Make a List

    As you start to refill your pantry, do your best to create a running list of everything you have. This is especially helpful in the case of ingredients you may not use very often, such as baking supplies or obscure spices. Creating an inventory of everything you have will reduce the accidental double-purchase and make it easier to know exactly what you need for any given recipe.

    While a digital or written list works, you may also consider adding chalkboard paint to your door so you can easily add and remove items when you need to.

  • 07 of 08

    Use the Door

    Don't forget to take advantage of the inside of your door and your interior walls. To avoid cluttering up your pantry's shelves, think vertically and hang storage units on the inside of your door for spices, or tack up small baskets to the walls for extra storage. Not only will this keep extra stuff off of your shelves, but these compact storage areas are much easier to keep tidy and free of clutter.

  • 08 of 08

    Maximize Your Shelf Space

    While decluttering your pantry typically means getting rid of items you don't need or won't use, it can also be incredibly helpful to ensure you maximize the space you do have. Stacking items is a big no-no, but you can take advantage of unused vertical space with wire shelves or under-shelf baskets.

    This method only works if you pledge to declutter every few months to ensure these additional storage spaces don't get clogged up with more items you'll never touch.