28 Ways to Organize a Walk-In Pantry for Maximum Storage

Organized pantry

onurdongel / Getty Images

Maximize storage in your walk-in pantry by incorporating a functional system, enlisting the help of different organizational tools, and utilizing a variety of storage containers. The best way to get started is with a good cleanout! Remove everything from your pantry and give the shelves, countertops, and floors a deep clean for a fresh backdrop.

Next, go through all the food items and check expiration dates and discard anything that's expired. Decide on an organizational system that works best for you and sort everything into categories, from baking supplies and small appliances to canned goods and snacks. Use labels and bins or baskets to corral like items together, then organize them on shelves, in drawers, and inside cabinets, prioritizing prime real estate—aka most easily accessible shelves—for those things that you use most frequently.

To give you inspiration as well as tips and tricks to maximize storage space, we've gathered 28 clever organizing ideas to help you transform your pantry.

  • 01 of 28

    Maximize Access with Turntables

    Turntables used to organize pantry staples

    @nycneat_louisa / Instagram

    A turntable, sometimes referred to as a lazy Susan, is an excellent organizational tool when it comes to streamlining your pantry shelves and making items accessible. It rotates 360 degrees, is typically made from wood or plastic, and sometimes has multiple tiers. Instead of having to rummage through a packed cabinet or cluttered shelf, it allows you to see what you have on hand and easily grab it as needed.

  • 02 of 28

    Keep Items Visible With Clear Containers

    Clear containers used to organize pantry

    @nycneat_louisa / Instagram

    Store pantry staples and snacks in clear containers so you can easily identify what's inside. You will have a clear overview of what foods need to be restocked, can immediately see if any products have leaked or spilled, and unlike other types of storage vessels, clear plastic bins are easy to wash with warm soapy water.

  • 03 of 28

    Create Labels

    Cans in wire baskets with labels

    @nycneat_louisa / Instagram

    Create labels for bins, baskets, and containers in your pantry. Visually speaking, it'll give the space a neat and uniform look, and on a practical level, everyone in your household will always know where to find an item and where to unload groceries.

  • 04 of 28

    Transfer Staples Into Airtight Containers

    Labeled airtight containers with pantry staples

    @nycneat_louisa / Instagram

    Store dry pantry items such as flour, sugar, or cereals in airtight storage containers. Not only will the containers prolong their freshness, but they'll also help you gain a significant amount of storage space. Instead of half-empty pasta boxes taking up valuable shelf space, empty the bulky boxes and bags and store everything in airtight containers that can additionally be stacked to save even more space.

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  • 05 of 28

    Organize Items by Category

    Baking sprinkles and supplies organized in a clear container

    @nycneat_louisa / Instagram

    Organizing your pantry starts with cleaning it out and sorting items into categories. Group items together in a way that makes sense to you, whether it's by types—such as baking or taco night supplies—or meals, in which case you can sort them into breakfast, lunch, or dinner categories. This way, you can easily find what you're looking for and add what needs to be repurchased to your shopping list.

  • 06 of 28

    Utilize Risers

    Cans organized on risers in a pantry

    @afreshspace / Instagram

    Give your shelves the professional organizer treatment and position cans, jars, and boxes on risers. Pantry risers have multiple shelves at tiered heights so that all the items are visible, even the ones in the back, and they allow you to use the full depth of your pantry shelves without things getting lost or being forgotten in the back.

  • 07 of 28

    Use Drawer Dividers

    Snacks organized in a drawer with dividers

    @afreshspace / Instagram

    Declutter and organize pantry drawers with extendable dividers. This method is best for shallow drawers that aren't deep enough for storage bins, and where you can store smaller things such as small snacks, granola bars, or spices.

  • 08 of 28

    Add an Over-the-Door Rack

    Over-the-door rack holding extra pantry items

    @afreshspace / Instagram

    Maximize storage in your walk-in pantry by hanging an over-the-door rack. If your pantry shelves are bursting at the seams and you don't have space to add more cabinetry or shelving, utilize the door!

    A storage rack such as this one simply hangs over the door and has multiple shelves that are large enough to hold condiment bottles, jars, or small boxes.

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  • 09 of 28

    Empty Boxes Into Containers

    Teabags organized in a clear container

    @afreshspace / Instagram

    Remove bulky boxes that take up unnecessary amounts of room and maximize storage space by emptying their contents into bins and sorting them into categories.

    For example, you may have a bunch of boxes of tea in your pantry that may only have a couple of slim teabags in them, so combine and transfer them all into a storage bin and you'll gain extra space.

  • 10 of 28

    Corral Items in Wicker Baskets

    Pantry organized with wicker baskets

    Britt Design Studio

    Wicker baskets are a great storage vessel for bags of chips, fruit, boxed items, and more. Aesthetically, they add nice texture and maintain a neutral color scheme, and instead of struggling to look through upper shelves, you can simply pull down the whole basket and go through it more comfortably.

  • 11 of 28

    Make Use of Open Shelving

    Open shelves in a pantry

    Britt Design Studio

    Whether it's in your kitchen or walk-in pantry, open shelving helps keep frequently used food storage containers, dishes, and small appliances easily accessible so you can quickly grab them when needed. Open shelves also help break up the visual heaviness that a wall of cabinets can create, giving the pantry a more open feel.

  • 12 of 28

    Add Hanging Hooks on the Door

    Pantry with items hanging on the door

    Design by Emily Henderson / Photography by Kaitlin Green

    If you're out of wall space but have items such as aprons, reusable shopping bags, or cleaning tools that you need to hang up, mount hooks on the back of your pantry door. For a seamless look, use wood knobs and paint them the same color as the door, or go with a metal finish and match the hooks with your cabinet hardware.

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  • 13 of 28

    Hide Small Appliances

    Appliances in a cabinet inside a pantry

    Design by Emily Henderson / Photography by Kaitlin Green

    Keep small appliances out of your kitchen cabinets and off the countertops, and store them in your walk-in pantry. Store appliances that are only used occasionally or during the holiday season on the bottom or higher shelves since you don't need to access them regularly to prioritize easy-access shelves for everyday items.

  • 14 of 28

    Bring in a Freestanding Storage Piece

    White storage piece with wood top

    @estherbschmidt / Instagram

    If your pantry lacks enough built-in storage, bring in a freestanding storage piece such as a shelf, a rolling cart, or a freestanding island that doubles as a meal prep surface.

    Not only is it more budget-friendly than cabinetry, but it's also a good option for renters who aren't able to install permanent pantry fixtures, but need additional storage space.

  • 15 of 28

    Mix Shelves and Drawers for Versatile Storage

    Pantry with black open shelving and wooden drawers

    Kate Marker Interiors

    A mix of closed cabinets, open shelves, and pull-out drawers provides versatile storage to hold a variety of items. Hide bulky boxes or small appliances in cabinets, keep frequently used canisters on shelves, and stash snacks in drawers to get the most out of each of these storage spaces.

  • 16 of 28

    Extend Shelving to the Ceiling

    Pantry with floor to ceiling shelves

    Mindy Gayer Design Co.

    One of the most common mistakes homeowners make is not extending upper cabinets and pantry shelving all the way up to the ceiling. The space between the tops of the cabinets and the ceiling then becomes wasted space, when it could have been utilized for storage purposes.

    Use the upper, hard-to-reach shelves for things that are only used occasionally, and keep a step stool or small ladder in the pantry so you can access the shelves.

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  • 17 of 28

    Make Use of Shelf Tops

    Organized pantry

    @afreshspace / Instagram

    If you are, however, working with a pantry whose shelving or upper cabinets don't extend to the ceiling, make use of their top surfaces. Get large storage baskets and maximize the space that way, or use the shelf tops to house various types of collections, such as cake stands or vases.

  • 18 of 28

    Keep a Stool on Hand

    Pantry with shelves all the way to the ceiling

    Kate Marker Interiors

    To quickly, safely, and easily reach top shelves, keep a step stool or small ladder in your pantry at all times. Leave the stool out and slide the ladder in between cabinets or lean it behind a door to keep it out of sight, but easy to grab.

  • 19 of 28

    Create a Coffee Station

    Coffee station in a pantry

    @afreshspace / Instagram

    Designate an area of your pantry for a coffee station to free up counter space in your kitchen. Gather all your coffee essentials—the coffee maker, containers with coffee or pods, mugs, and any other accessories—in one area and set them up in a practical way to save both time and space.

  • 20 of 28

    Maximize Space With Stacking Bins

    Snacks in stacking bins

    @afreshspace / Instagram

    Stacked granola bars on their own make a mess, but when placed in stacking containers, you've just maximized your shelf space. These clear containers make good use of vertical space and allow you to see what's inside each of them at the same time.

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  • 21 of 28

    Hang Skirts to Hide Bulky Items

    Pantry with wooden cabinetry

    Kate Marker Interiors

    Create hidden storage in your walk-in pantry with hanging skirts that add vintage charm and soften the utilitarian space. Hang them on tension rods for a less permanent installation and keep the skirt length just above the floor so it doesn't pick up dirt and dust as easily.

  • 22 of 28

    Organize Surfaces With Trays and Baskets

    Pantry with a wooden tray and rattan basket

    Kate Marker Interiors

    If you have a work surface in your pantry, keep it organized by using storage vessels such as trays and baskets. Use ones that are decorative in their appearance and compact enough to leave room for you to meal prep or put down shopping bags on the countertop.

    Corral similar items together—for example, coffee accessories on one tray and kitchen cleaning supplies in a basket.

  • 23 of 28

    Don't Forget the Window

    Wooden shelves in front of a window in a pantry

    Kate Marker Interiors

    If you have a window in your pantry that you wish wasn't taking up space that could have been used for storage, don't be afraid of installing open shelves in front of it! Thin shelves will still allow plenty of light to flood in while giving you extra storage surfaces.

  • 24 of 28

    Install Pull-Out Drawers

    Pantry will pull out drawers

    Tina Ramchandani

    Lower cabinet shelves can make locating what you need tricky, which is why pull-out drawers inside cabinets are an excellent option. They allow you to store pantry goods more efficiently and give you a top view when trying to find what you're looking for.

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  • 25 of 28

    Use Multiple Types of Storage Containers

    Pantry with various bins and baskets

    @afreshspace / Instagram

    To maximize storage space in your pantry and accommodate different shaped and sized pantry goods, from bags and boxes to cans and jars, use multiple types of storage containers.

    This can be wicker or wire baskets, plastic bins, or acrylic boxes, all of which provide a different look and are best suited for certain types of products.

  • 26 of 28

    Keep Snacks Easy to Find

    Snacks in wire bins

    @nycneat_louisa / Instagram

    Keep those items that most household members go and look for—such as snacks!—easy to find and readily available to grab in your pantry. This can mean organizing them in storage containers on a pantry countertop or storing them on easy-to-reach shelves that everyone can access.

  • 27 of 28

    Divide Staples by Meal Type

    Pantry items organized in clear bins

    @nycneat_louisa / Instagram

    A practical alternative to organizing goods by type is by dividing them into meal categories. Designate bins for breakfast, lunch, and dinner items, and not only will it make mealtime simpler, but you'll also be able to see what needs to be replenished when meal planning.

  • 28 of 28

    Leave Frequently Used Items Out

    Pantry with black cabinets and walls and white quartz countertop

    Ashley Webb Interiors

    Leave water bottles, snacks, regularly used cookbooks, a shopping list notepad, and any other frequently needed pantry items out for easy access. To keep them neat, corral them in a container, line bottles up in a row, stack cookbooks, and use a tray to hold notepads and pens.