Overloaded, Cluttered Pantry?


If your pantry is a bit like mine, it is probably slightly overloaded and over crowded with bottles of pasta sauce, boxes of cereal and packets of biscuits!! I was surprised when I began clearing out my pantry, how many items had passed their expiry date! There were jars of peanut butter which had past their ‘use by’ date by more than a year! This got me thinking that it was such a waste to stock up on cheap items. I’d end up tossing them out because having bought in bulk, they were not used quickly enough.

Below are a few simple tips to organise your pantry shelves:


I began by taking everthing out of my pantry, including items such as food products, storage containers and other trash that had accumulated. Next I dusted out all the fallen crumbs and wiped the shelves down with a cleaning spray (or you can just use pure vinegar which also does the trick)

The next step is to sort your items into what you use regularly and what is just taking up space in your pantry. My general rule is to get rid of items you have no use for otherwise they continue to clutter up your pantry.

You can check each item:

  • Has this expired? If yes, throw it out.
  • Will I use this in the coming weeks, if probably not then you could either toss it out or I like to fill a bag and donate it to charity. (EG: Old pots and pans cooking utensils or crockeryI no longer use)

Arranging your Items

I find it better to arrange the items in my pantry by group opposed to size. This way I can easily

reach for the ingredient I am looking for. I like to place my more commonly used ingredients at the front so I have easy access.


This is how my items are generally grouped:

  • Spices
  • Rice, cereal, pasta, stored in containers 
  • Cans of any sort (beans, vegetables and soups)
  • Bags of snack foods (chips, biscuits)
  • Bottles of oils and vinegar
  • Drinks (soft drinks, UHT milk, cordial)

Arrange items at the right height in your pantry:

As previously mentioned, it is important that your ingredients are stored conveniently in your pantry. I like to arrange the smaller items at eye level and the larger items (bags of rice, large containers or an sort) at the bottom on the pantry.

Storing dry goods:

It is a good habit to store your dry goods in containers. This keeps everything neat and tidy, and keeps items fresh. (When my spices and herbs were stored all together but just tied up in packets, I found that they eventually all started smelling the same!) It also stops half open packets tipping over and spilling onto the floor.

jarsMaximise space:

Use extra storage solutions to maximise the space in your pantry.  I recently purchased some storage shelves (only costing me between $3-$8 each) These included baskets, small wire shelves and containers. Having these in my pantry have helped to save a lot of space. I also find using transparent plastic containers for items such as rice, flour, sugar, biscuits, cereals etc are great and you can find what you are looking for in one go! (These can be purchased cheaply from variety stores or you can wait until the supermarket sells them on sale for half price!).

TIP: Keep old jam jars, coffee jars and biscuit tins as these may come in handy for storing items. Be careful NOT to keep too many of these containers as I found this was part of the reason for the clutter in my pantry!

As the space is tight in my pantry, I like to choose square shaped containers over round ones as they sit snugly against each other. Herbs and spices can be stored in small containers like recycled baby food jars. You will find that your products will stay a lot fresher this way.

Using labels

Label your food containers, bottles and jars clearly with the product name and expiry date. This will help you to keep track of the item’s shelf life. 103278_6610

Storing Medicine

Each time one of my children have an ‘owie’ (sore or cut) as they call it, I have to dig deep and spend unnecessary time looking through my ‘medicine box’ to find a band-aid! It is definitely frustrating!

You could try this method to keep your first aid and medicines organised:

Have containers labelled clearly:252695_2415

  • Band aids, bandages etc. 
  • Kids medication
  • Adult medication
  • Medicine measuring cups


Keeping your pantry clean

It is important to keep the items in your pantry, not only tidy, but hygienically clean. Nobody likes to grab a bottle and find their hand covered in sticky BBQ sauce! Wipe down jars, containers and sauce bottles from time to time to avoid a musty smell in your pantry.

TIP: I leave an open box of baking soda on the top shelf of my pantry permanently. I find this helps to absorb any odors that may be present.  

Once you are organised…

Maintaining your pantry should be a weekly routine. In fact, I like to open my cupboard each night and just focus on fixing up two to three areas. This takes less than a minute! For example – top up a cereal container, return a biscuit tin back to its proper shelf and brush off crumbs that have collected during the day. SIMPLE! Just by making this a regular part of your schedule, your cupboard is more likely to stay organised and maintain cleanliness.

Finally, ensure family members understand your simple organisation methods – either verbally or preferably through a label system of the shelves and cabinets. This way everyone helps in keeping it tidy, without excuses!

How do you keep your pantry tidy? Do you have any storage tips or space saving methods?


Filed Under: CleaningHomemakingOrganisation

About the Author: Mother of 6 children. 4 boys and 2 girls. A proud stay-at-home-mum and Co-founder of the website. Jill has a strong Catholic faith. "I believe it's really important to have a support network for mums to connect and learn from each other." She also has a Degree in Primary Teaching from Melbourne University.

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Leave a Reply

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.