Looking for simple ways to get organized in 2020? Oh, good. Let’s start in the kitchen. Here are some simple tips and ideas on how to organize a pantry cabinet.

I opened up the doors to this pantry and cleaned it out and moved everything around and now it’s organized and ready for the new year. Ready for some tips? Let’s GO.

how to organize a pantry cabinet

Did you know that my word of the year is AUTHENTIC?

Merriam-Webster defines authentic like this:

1.  not false or imitationREALACTUAL
2. true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character: is sincere with no pretensions

Otherwise known as keeping it real.

You see, being perfect can be EXHAUSTING. Truly. All those i’s to dot and t’s to cross and worrying if your hair is too high and your make-up is too much and your counters aren’t clean. There is literally NO JOY to be found in that.


Instead? Why not celebrate ourselves? Why not be the unique, amazing, creative, slightly disorganized person we were meant to be? And in the spirit of keeping it real, I wrote this post on how to organize a pantry cabinet, starting with mine.

Are you ready to see the before?


Hold up your hand.

Promise we will still be friends before you look.


I think I need a minute before I go all authentic on my pantry cabinet.



Who has 7 boxes of Stove Top Stuffing?

This girl.

This is the completely unfiltered view of the pantry before I got started.

And just in case you are still reading?

Here’s a view of the during.

After I cleared everything out.

how to organize a pantry cabinet inside shelving

How to Organize a Pantry Cabinet

Step 1: Clean

I took everything out of this cabinet (and the one next to it, too) and put it on the counter.

I had a big garbage can next to the pantry and threw a TON of expired and super sugary stuff away leftover from a variety of holiday parties.

And the best part?


I felt like I lost 10 pounds just getting rid of all the sugar and junk and TOTAL NONSENSE that was in that pantry.

how to organize a pantry cabinet shelves

Step 2: Get the shelves ready

Maybe it was the book on tape I was listening to when I did this (James Michener’s Chesapeake).

Maybe it was the symmetrical year that inspired me.

Maybe it was because my jeans already felt looser.



I decided the pantry shelves should be painted.

You could paint your shelves or you could just add some pretty shelf liner and call it a day.

Step 3: Find organizing containers

My best advice? Find an organizing system that works for you.

I cannot recommend this system enough. You can purchase the pieces individually or buy the entire set. There are literally dozens of super-affordable organizers that all work together.

They easily stack on top of each other and they are clear so you can see the food inside.

I used smaller containers like this 4.5 cup one for hot chocolate and dried fruit and nuts.

And larger ones like this 18.6 cup container for cereal and dog food and Bisquick.

And this 16 cup container for pasta and pretzels and sugar.

You can also buy an entire set of them (which is what I did for most of the containers).

They come in round containers, too, but I thought I could fit more in my pantry with the square ones.

The very best part of the container?

Is this flip-tight lid.

It has a rubber seal around the top and this handle that simply clicks into place and keeps everything extra fresh. I LOVE the click of the lid when you close it. That way I know that everything is sealed up tightly and it won’t go stale so quickly.

They feel so solid and so sturdy, too.

You can see how I stacked them here.

They are interchangeable and fit on top of each other.

They are different sizes and I grouped them together. They fit perfectly in the pantry and didn’t take up extra space.

Step 4: Fill containers and organize

Here’s how to organize a pantry cabinet in action.

I just took the items from the pantry and organized them into the containers. I love getting rid of all those plastic bags and other mismatched containers. That way when I’m almost out of something I don’t have two bags—one new one and one almost empty. I can combine them together in one container now.

It was such a relief to get rid of bags that were half-opened. We lose so many things because they go stale so quickly.

how to organize a pantry cabinet in the kitchen

Step 5: organize by zones

I placed my organizers and food into the pantry in zones. Organizing your pantry into zones is one of the easiest ways to find everything. I know where my breakfast stuff is and where my baking stuff is and where to find all the spices. The shelves of my pantry are friends and the ones that are related are now close together.

Here are the zones I used to organize it:

  1. snacks
  2. baking supplies
  3. spices
  4. cereal
  5. non-essentials
  6. quick meals

I placed all the containers in order and added the rest of the food into the zones. And now?

Want to see my pantry after?

how to organize a pantry cabinet



If you came over and saw this pantry, wouldn’t you want to be friends forever?

how to organize a pantry cabinet before

Here’s the before.

how to organize a pantry cabinet after

And here’s how to organize a pantry cabinet–the after.

how to organize a pantry cabinet ideas

Here’s a close-up of how the containers look on the shelves.

Isn’t it the best?

how to organize a pantry cabinet with zones

My family is slowly getting on board with all this organization. But they do seem a little overwhelmed right now. My son opened this up last night and just stared at it in consternation.

He literally had no idea what to do.

No worries.

I pointed to his zone in the pantry.

The one that started with cereal. 🙂

PS You can see even more organizing ideas over on my Pinterest board here.

Affiliate links are also used on this post.

how to organize a pantry cabinet

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    Love it! I ended up having to label each shelf and container for my husband. It makes me feel so good to see it all organized.

  2. Image for Tess Tess

    I just got this post as i am about to unload my items into the pantry from moving into a new house..Will use this idea..thanks!

  3. Image for Jennifer G Jennifer G

    Looks great! Unfortunately my pantry is also one of the only storage closets I have (older house) so there’s lots of other stuff in there besides food, mine will never look this good!

  4. Image for Carly Dwyer Carly Dwyer

    Lucky you. My family would starve in this pantry ;) Easier to organize the pantry than my family. But, where do you keep your sale items. Those are the item you use weekly or more often that you buy extra where there's a big sale or extra coupons? I have those on the top shelf so as not to temp anyone to have 2 open. That's a mom shelf that one one is ever allow to touch without mom. Looks great!!

  5. Image for Patty Patty

    It looks amazing and I too love to organize. But, can’t we all have that one closet, that one drawer that we just simply shut. For me it’s a closet in our long hall leading to the master bedroom. Shove it in and shut the door. I love that door! And, being new to your blog, what, you have a son?

  6. Image for cindy@countyroad407 cindy@countyroad407

    Your pantry looks like y'all eat way better than we do around here. I'd need 2 bins for bread, 3 bins for pasta and another 3 for the rice. And don't even ask how many for chips. Can you tell we love the carbs?

  7. Image for Elizabeth Hayes Elizabeth Hayes

    I've been accused of being an organizational freak so when I see the after photos I imagine opening the pantry doors and standing back just looking, kind of the way you look at a painting in a museum, with a peaceful on your face. It's beautiful!

  8. Image for PJ PJ

    Oh, how I love an organized pantry! Key to helping keep mine organized is not to buy too much. Sales are tempting, but they come around again, so there is no need to crowd my pantry. That said, I do make sure there is an emergency stash (in California, it was in case of earthquakes; here it is in case of blizzards and closed roads). Happy Monday, KariAnne!

  9. Image for Beth Y Beth Y

    Ahhhhh!!! This makes me so happy!!!! Thanks for the inspiration!!! I have switched a few of my baking things to those pop-seal clear containers. I tried the basket system, but I am totally visual. If I can't see it when I open up my pantry, it doesn't exist, so this would be great for me!! I have my pantry on my to do list!! I will let you know when it is ta-done. Lol!!!!

  10. Image for Paige Cassandra Flamm Paige Cassandra Flamm

    I love how you organized this! We're home shopping right now and a lot of houses we've seen have cabinet pantries like this instead of a traditional pantry! This gives me some good visualization for how I could make that work for us! Paige https://thehappyflammily.com

  11. Image for Sue Sue

    Saturday you gave us a list of good things to look forward to this week, and I sensed that you had been bitten by the January Organization Bug. Me too!! I don't have a pantry, but all those lovely containers will fit nicely in my kitchen cabinets. Just yesterday I was wishing for something see through but not junky, big enough to hold a bag of dry cat food- it goes stale before my fur friends chomp through the big bag, despite the clips I wrestle onto the opening. Making a list for my next Walmart trip. Thank you, and looking forward to tomorrow's episode of Karianne Cleans House.

  12. Image for NormaJean NormaJean

    Wow! My pantry is on open shelving in my kitchen, so I have to at least keep it looking presentable. Those containers would take it over the top! On my way to Walmart.

  13. Image for Barbara Barbara

    Being new to Thirstlewood Farms blog, I am estatic to look/see each day. Upon first look, I saw really pretty blue rugs that I had just ordered and other things I already had. This is definitely my place to be. We're moving into our newly built home in 3 weeks and I have really gotten great ideas ...lots of dark blue, I've never done blues. Thank you so much for the joy you bring. Oh, BTW, why did y'all move from the farm? Barbara

  14. Image for Barbara Barbara

    Just wrote a comment, and Yes? I know how to spell and Thistlewood (no Thirstlewood) UGH. I am electronically challenged.

  15. Image for Sue Sue

    I lOVE to see organized pantries like this! But what did you do with the extra five boxes of Stovetop Stuffing? Because I'm only seeing two boxes in your pantry.

  16. Image for Kris Kris

    Looks great! Our sons must be related .... mine also loves cereal. I have a hard time keeping it in the house! :)

  17. Image for Jenn Jenn

    It looks very nice and fresh now! Happy New Year! We buy everything by the case, so I am a firm believer in cereal bins. That way I don't have 5000 boxes of cereal in the pantry, half of them empty! I know, it's only my children that empty a box and leave it in the pantry! Poor training I suppose! Ha!

  18. Image for Jean from Georgia Jean from Georgia

    OH MY GOODNESS, I am so envious. My previous home had 8 of these cabinets lining one wall and when I moved I missed them sooooo much. No only did I store food items I had years of issues of Southern Living magazines, patterns, and craft items stored there. Makes me want to know out a wall and renovate.

  19. Image for Tiffany Tiffany

    It's so purdy! ;) For the first time in 19 years of marriage, I have a pantry and I'm really struggling to organize it. I'm on the fence about the clear containers ... you can't just dump new food on top when it's almost gone because you'd always have old food on the bottom. What's your method for using food up/refilling containers?

  20. Image for Liz Liz

    It looks so very nice, but I can't believe this is all the space you have for a pantry for a family of your size. You must have to go to the store a lot. Where do you have your canned goods, snacks, bottled stuff, etc.?

  21. Image for Mary Caliendo Mary Caliendo

    KariAnne, this is fantastic. I have old fashioned canister-type organizers. I need to go get some of these! A fantastic look and I love the idea of putting things into a "zone" Thanks for this post!

  22. Image for Carrie Carrie

    I love that you’re an official influencer for Walmart!!! Looking forward to seeing many more of your finds! And, love the pantry!

  23. Image for Sharon Sharon

    Wow, what good ideas. I need to clean out a cupboard and organize it. I do have a tip, which you probably already know. Even though I keep my flour, cornmeal, cereal and other things in containers, it seems I would get those little bugs and I hate bugs. I did find this on the internet but you attach a pack of matches (the ones you open the paper and there are the matches). Since I did this, I have not seen a bug. Anyway, since your containers are sealed so tightly, you might not this hint but thought I would give it anyway. Blessings!

  24. Image for Heather Heather

    It looks awesome!!! So tidy and organized! My pantry is a hot mess right now so I really ought to follow your lead soon! Thanks for the inspiration!

  25. Image for Pastor Suzanne Pastor Suzanne

    Looks great! This type of blog/video always gets me. My pantry is organized, but not with such matching containers. Still... It works for me. Enjoyed this blog a lot.

  26. Image for Lynn W Lynn W

    Lookin’ good 👍👍👍. I need to work on my pantry! I’m sure there is a bunch of editing I can do!! BTW, I had 6 boxes of Stove Top from Costco until we used some during the holidays 😜

  27. Image for Adrienne Adrienne

    Oh man, I NEED to do this. My only issue is that our kitchen's main pantry storage is two large lazy susans. Which is really nice when you want to spin them to get something in the back, but really not nice when you want to line up your containers so you can see everything in them, it's like you need pie-piece shaped containers since the middle is smaller than the outside. I will figure something out, but it's a struggle for sure!

  28. Image for Patti Patti

    I agree with the commenter who said their family would starve with this pantry! Lol! It looks ever so gorgeous but where are the dinner ingredients? And all the oils and vinegars? I must have 10 of each! And 10 types of pasta and rice and canned tomatoes...

  29. Image for maureen maureen

    Boys and cereal! I hope that dogfood didn't get put right next to the cereal! Just kidding. I would be your friend even if you had a messy pantry! This is a great idea and your pantry looks amazing!

  30. Image for Mary H Mary H

    I have used the bins for a couple of years - love them too! When I was reading Marie Kondo's books she mentioned reducing the visual "noise" of the writing on boxes and bags. Obviously, some things have to stay with their labels (soup cans for one..ha, ha!) But I really do love how using the bins makes the shelves prettier and calmer. Nice job on your pantry!!

  31. Image for Mary S Mary S

    When my pantry was completed (the shelves are melamine and can easily wiped off. But I love it. I have one with just baking supplies - flour, sugar, brown sugar, etc and associated spices. I love the containers and there is room for a trash can (plastic) under the last shelf. It's so easy to get the stuff out that I need if I'm going to bake. Isn't it a fun and relief to do this finally?? I say yes!! Your pantry looks amazing! ;)


    KariAnne, your word for the year is definitely YOU because YOU are AUTHENTIC in EVERY WAY! You are admired for the special gal that you are! Nice job with organizing your pantry. I really like those organizational containers and are definitely going to buy some! Have a great week! Blessings!

  33. Image for Jeanine Jeanine

    Authentic! You totally are, friend! I love your pantry reveal before and after! Before, because it lets us know we all have the same struggles, and after because we can do this! It looks so orderly, I too would stand in front of it to just look at how pretty it looks. One of my goals is our pantry. I think my problem is I buy like the world food supply is coming to an end! I need to purge, sort, and zone! Thanks for inspiring!

  34. Image for Carrie Graham Carrie Graham

    I am so jealous!! Your pantry looks awesome. I wish we could buy those containers up here in Canada:o(. Would you consider labeling the containers?

  35. Image for LA Dive LA Dive

    Great pantry ! Love the Better Homes & Gardens storage containers. I was trying to purchase these so clicked on your link to Walmart. I have just spent the last hr. Trying to find this product with no luck. Has anyone found these at Walmart?

    1. Image for Maggie Rowe Maggie Rowe

      After reading KariAnne's post, I ordered 3 of the BH&G container sets from Walmart using the link she included, and they came today!

    2. Image for LA Dove LA Dove

      Name should have read - LA Dove. If anyone has found these containers in a store could you let me know. I would like to purchase them. Thanks. zastova2017@outlook.com

  36. Image for Maggie Rowe Maggie Rowe

    You read my mind, Kari Anne. I have been wanting to reorganize my pantry, and you gave me the inspiration and the tools to do it. I order 3 sets of these containers from Walmart thanks to you.

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