Skip to Content

Tips to Maximize the Space in Your Pantry

Every mom has probably dreamed about having a large, walk-in pantry that boasts plenty of shelf space and built-in storage solutions. A pantry in which you would never run out of room and organization would be a breeze. That would be amazing!

But if you are like me, and are working with a much smaller space, you have probably encountered plenty of challenges trying to keep your pantry organized and able to hold everything you want it to. 

Tips to Maximize Pantry Space

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see our disclosure.

Let’s go over some simple things you can do to really maximize the space you have in your pantry.

Take everything out and start from scratch. 

I know. The thought of taking everything out of your pantry can be highly unpleasant, but I really encourage you to start with this step for a couple of reasons. First, this allows you to purge. You will probably find some items in your pantry that are well past the expiration date that should be thrown out. These items are just taking up precious space, so get rid of them! 

Second, by taking everything out, you can sort and group like items on your countertop, and that is much easier to do when you have the space to spread everything out. 

Figure out a grouping system. 

It can be based on similar types of food, similar style of packaging (for example, all cans), etc. Use this system when adding things back into your pantry. When you just throw things into your pantry haphazardly, it can be hard to find things, and it also doesn’t allow you to fully maximize your space.

For example, if you group all your cans together, you can then stack same sized cans on top of each other and take advantage of the vertical space between shelves. 

canned food; space in your pantry

Invest in extra shelving. 

Whether your pantry is located off of the kitchen, or just a tall cupboard in your kitchen, it probably has a couple shelves that are spaced pretty far apart. You probably have some unutilized space near the top of each shelving section.

maximize space in your pantry

Consider buying some extra wire rack shelving to set on top of the shelves that are spaced farther apart. This extra wire shelving can be used for storing items that can’t easily be stacked on top of each other. It is amazing how adding one or two more shelves opens up some much storage space. 

How far apart should shelves be in a pantry?

Pantry shelves should be between 16-24 inches apart, depending on what you are storing.  The tricky items like bulk items will need about 18-24 inches apart, while most cereal boxes need about 14-16 inches apart.

This of course depends on the types of items you store in your pantry, and how you have it organized.

Organize your spices.

If you just throw your spices loosely in the pantry, they can take up a lot of space that could be better utilized for other things. If you haven’t already gone through your spices and gotten rid of any duplicates or expired spices, then do that first.

Invest in a spice rack shelf so you are able to easily read the labels. This saves you time by not having to rummage around a bunch to try to find the spice you need. And a shelf also helps you better utilize the vertical space in your cabinet. 

spices; space in your pantry

Get an over-the-door organizer. 

If your pantry is its own separate room with a normal door, then consider investing in an organizer you can attach to the back of the door. You can buy one specifically made for pantries with specific functions (like one to keep spices in.)

Or, you can buy one made for closets, like a shoe organizer that has a bunch of plastic pockets. In these pockets, you can store things like snacks for the kids, seasoning packets, etc. 

Door Hooks can help too!

maximize space in your pantry

If you don’t have enough room to install baskets or shelves on the door, try hooks.  Hooks need less room than a door rack system does.  

You can put them in strategic locations so they won’t hit the pantry shelves when the door is closed.  You can use these hooks to hold mesh bags that can store your seasoning packets, bags of popcorn, or other small items.

Consider using some simple storage solutions. 

You don’t have to spend loads of money and hire someone to come redo your whole pantry. It is amazing how much space you can free up just by using some simple storage solutions. I like to use plastic tubs, some with lids, some without.

Instead of having multiple boxes taking up space in my cupboard, I dump all of my kids’ single size snacks into a plastic tub and store it on a lower shelf. That way it is easily reachable for the kids, and it also allows me to easily see when we are getting low on snacks, rather than looking through all the boxes.

I also like to use clear plastic cereal containers for the same reason. They store easily, I can see when we are running low on cereal, and the cereal stays fresher. Smaller Tupperware containers are great for storing seasoning packets, and smaller items like sprinkles, food coloring, etc. 

You can also use stackable mason jars for items like dried beans, sugars, etc. The key is to find storage solutions that are stackable and also are the appropriate size for whatever you are wanting to store in them. Don’t buy a big plastic tub and then only fill it halfway full. That in itself could be a waste of space. The key is to try to maximize every inch! 

jars; space in your pantry

Be sure to take a look at some of our favorite pantry containers here!

Get rid of the appliances you no longer use. 

How many of us were guilty of registering for random kitchen gadgets on our bridal registry that we didn’t really need? (Raises hand.) After we moved, I got rid of several smaller appliances that we had hardly touched over the years. This freed up a whole shelf in the pantry in our new house! 

When I invested in an Instant Pot, I was also able to donate my rice cooker and slow cooker which freed up even more room in the pantry. Take a hard look at the small appliances you have in your kitchen and figure out if you truly need them. Chances are likely, if you don’t use them frequently, you can live without them! Donate them or sell them for a little extra cash to reinvest in new storage solutions. 

Use a Lazy Susan

maximize space in your pantry

One of the easiest ways to maximize space in your pantry is to add one or more lazy susans.  These wood, metal, or plastic turntables come in a variety of sizes.  Simply sit it on a shelf and load it up.  

A lazy susan makes it easy to see everything in your pantry because it allows you to quickly rotate items from the back to the front with a simple turn.  You can double the amount of space available in your pantry by stacking the items on your lazy susan.  This works especially well for canned goods.

Stack Your Pantry Containers

maximize space in your pantry

For another solution to maximize space in your pantry, use bins and other containers that will easily stack on top of each other.  This will allow you to make better use of the vertical room in your pantry.  

By using clear containers, you will be able to see into them and easily know what each one holds.  And when it comes time to restock your pantry, these containers can be pulled out and refilled without a lot of hassle.  This is a fantastic way to store products that otherwise would not stack, such as pasta or crackers.

Meal plan. 

When you get consistent about meal planning, you can use up some of the stuff that has been sitting in your pantry and only buy what you need for that week’s/month’s meals. Even if you just take a week and try to only eat out of the pantry, you can free up some space. And then during your next shopping experience, don’t buy as much extra food. This will help keep your pantry organization more manageable. 

The pantry is one of the areas in the house that is hard to keep organized.  It is always being used, and many times it is not big enough to hold everything that you need it to hold.  There are some simple ways to maximize space in your pantry by allowing you to take advantage of every available inch of room.  These ideas will help to keep your pantry organized, keep everything in easy reach, and will create more storage space in your pantry.  I hope these ideas will help to maximize space in your pantry.

maximize space in your pantry

Share and join us on social media!