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13 Tips to Organize Deep Pantry Shelves

If you are blessed with a large pantry with deep shelves, you know the storage space feels endless. However, you also know just how messy and disorganized it can get because things can get lost in the corners or right at the back. I have created an easy guide for how to organize your pantry so well that the ladies from The Home Edit will want to hire you!

13 ways to organize deep pantry shelves

1. Don’t Do One Shelf at a Time

You might think organizing one pantry shelf at a time is a good idea; you tackle one or two shelves a day and by the end of the week you have an organized pantry, right? Wrong!

If you pull out the entire contents of your pantry all at once, yes, you might freak out and become overwhelmed, but it is actually the more efficient way to organize the space.

Placing every little thing in front of you, either on your countertop, dining table or even on the floor will allow you to see exactly what you have. You will be able to group similar items together much more easily, such as canned products, breakfast cereals, and pancake mixes, and your baking tools and ingredients.

Once you’ve decided on the various grouping systems, you will find that you can actually fit a lot more on one shelf than before, and everything you need for specific tasks will be conveniently stored together.

2. Group Your Pantry Items for Sustainability

If you just throw your weekly groceries into your pantry when you get home, with the pure goal of making sure everything fits enough to close the door, you are making your life a lot more complicated than it actually needs to be.

If nothing has a set home or where you put it and what you put it with makes no sense, then it is so much harder to keep everything organized and can have disastrous consequences. Not to mention what catastrophes could potentially happen if you keep your flour and washing detergent next to each other!

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Grouping your items together according to functionality (such as all baking ingredients and tools, and all cleaning products) will help you to remain organized and prevent overbuying of groceries as you will know exactly what you have.

3. Use Labels on Shelves, Bins, and Boxes

Once you have grouped your items according to their purpose, or even just by how regularly you use them, you can go one step further on your organizational journey.

You can choose to place your smaller grouped items, such as candy bars, chocolates, and bags of chips into clear plastic storage bins. Not only will this make for easy pulling out when you need to refill the bins, but the transparency allows you to keep an eye on your stock.

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I personally am a firm advocate of the axiom: why store something in a drawer or on a shelf when you can store it in a box in the drawer or on the shelf?

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Last update on 2023-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Labeling your shelves, bins, and boxes using a label maker so that you know exactly where to place your groceries day after day. It is super helpful for getting younger kids to participate in household chores as they will be able to pack away items in the correct spaces without your help. Plus, it’s a legitimate excuse to purchase a label maker—who doesn’t want a label maker?

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Last update on 2023-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

4. Most Used Equals Most Accessible

Let’s be honest, keeping your favorite candy bars packed into the back corner of your pantry really isn’t the greatest idea when it comes to functionality. When you go to reach for one (and we all do—frequently!), you might knock over the items in front of it or shuffle things around in order to reach it.

Rather, keep the items you use most often in the front of the shelves, where they are most accessible to you. You can simply open the door and reach for what you want without having to search the shelves.

Tip: Make sure the pantry door swings out to make items more accessible.

This will save you a ton of precious time when cooking or even grabbing a snack before heading to work.

5. Keep Spares of the Same Items Behind the Item

It is very unlikely that someone would only buy one of a particular item that they need. You won’t only buy one can of beans if you know you incorporate them into most of your meals. Nor will you only buy one bag of laundry detergent for a household of 5 people.

It is more common to stock up on your regular items so that you are not in a tough spot when you run out and can’t make a quick run to the grocery store.

A simple way to organize your duplicated items is to keep them in neat columns and rows on the shelves. Place the item you bought most recently right at the back so that you use up your groceries before they reach their expiry dates.

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Once your stock starts depleting, you will be able to notice right away. You can make that grocery run and replenish your stock before it runs out completely.

6. Taller Items at Back on Middle and High Shelves

A great way to see what you have on your middle-height and upper shelves is to strategically place your taller items at the back, with the shorter items in front of them.

This way, you will be able to see everything you have and nothing will get lost behind each other.

This is not a very helpful tip to use on your lower pantry shelves, though, as you would have to get on the floor to see what is in the back.

Use this technique on the eye-level shelves and above to get the most out of your pantry space.

7. Don’t Stack Containers/Boxes on Higher Shelves

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It might be tempting to stack your boxes or containers on top of each other to really maximize your pantry storage space. This would be fine on your lower shelves where you can simply lift a box if you need to reach what is underneath, but it is really not a good choice for your higher shelves.

To optimize accessibility, you want one layer of an item that you can pull down when necessary. If you stack items, you will likely have to get a step ladder out every time you want to access the top shelf containers.

If you have a corner pantry and you can keep your step ladder right there in the pantry, then you can consider this as a more viable option.

8. Get an Assortment of Pullout Bins

As I have already mentioned, getting a variety of bins for your pantry is a great way to keep items grouped and organized.

Choosing bins that are clear and have handles for easy pull out would be a great addition to your pantry. You can see what is inside the bins, and you will be able to easily grab them to reach for what you need or to replenish your stock.

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Last update on 2023-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

It is best to not choose extremely large bins that require a lot of effort to lift, making pulling them off the shelf a mission.

9. Clear Bins on the Top Shelves

If you get the organizer bug and decide to use a variety of bins for your pantry storage, go for it! There are great options out there that can transform any messy pantry into an organizer’s dream.

It is best to buy bins that you can see through to use on your higher shelves. Getting something like the Utopia Home Set of 8 Pantry Organizers (see picture below) will provide you with a lot of storage for your items and you will be able to see exactly what is in the bins from where you stand on the floor, without having to get a ladder.

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Last update on 2023-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you have items on your eye level or lower shelves in bins, you can go crazy and really choose whatever type of bin you like best. The bins pictured below are a great choice to add a pop of color to your pantry.

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Last update on 2023-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

10. Invest in Can Dispensers

A great way to keep your cans organized without using up your precious storage bins would be to invest in a couple of can dispensers.

They are a great way to display all your cans so you can easily see your supply, but they are also an efficient tool to retrieve your cans as, as soon as you take one, the dispenser drops another one in its place. No more reaching for the back of the shelf!

Choose a dispenser made of metal, though, as the plastic ones can break easily if you use heavy cans.

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Last update on 2023-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

11. Utilize Lazy Susans

Lazy Susans are an incredible tool for organizing your pantry. They can be a great way to display your condiments in your pantry as you can simply swivel the plate and you can see exactly what you have, and you will never knock over the glass ketchup bottle trying to reach the mustard!

The Copco Non-Skid Pantry Cabinet Lazy Susan Turntable (see picture below) is especially useful as it can slot nicely into the corner of your pantry, and the non-skid material means your spices or jars won’t slip off as you turn the plate. It comes in a variety of colors.

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Last update on 2023-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

There is also a two-tiered option to make the most of your vertical space.

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Last update on 2023-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Another type of Lazy Susan that I would recommend is one that has raised sides to stop the less stable bottles and jars from toppling over during rotation.

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Last update on 2023-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

12. Drawers for the Lower Shelves

A great way to organize your smaller items on the lower pantry shelves is to get a few storage drawers. There are some excellent affordable and effective options for storing your assortment of tea bags, or even as a handy kitchen first aid kit.

Last update on 2023-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Another way to truly maximize the vertical space of your lower shelves is to buy an under-the-shelf drawer pull out. These clip on neatly onto the overhead shelf, which allows you to make use of the empty space of the top half of your lower shelves.

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Last update on 2023-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

You can also opt for basket shelves that do not pull out, but these would be more suited for eye-level shelves.

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Last update on 2023-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

13. Door-Hanging Shelves

You can really optimize the storage potential of your pantry if you invest in door-hanging shelves. These are installed on the inside of your pantry door and provide you with additional storage where you can easily the items you have.

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Last update on 2023-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The door-hanging shelf shown above is a great choice as it comes with both shallow and deep shelves so you are not limited to what you can store in them. However, it only works if your pantry door does not close flush with the edge of the shelves.

If this design would interfere with the closing of your pantry door, you can rather look for smaller screw-in or suction-cup options.

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Last update on 2023-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is a trick you can only really use with lighter items, however, as heavy items can put pressure on the shelves and they might not hold up as long as they should.

Once you have followed these tips, you will not just have a more organized pantry, but you will also probably find that you have a ton more space on the shelves. You can then properly store some of the overflow items that have ended up being stored on top of the refrigerator.

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