13 Tips to Organize Deep Pantry Shelves

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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!

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!

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.

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?

BINO | Plastic Storage Bins, Large - 2 Pack | The SOHO Collection | Multi-Use Organizer Bins | Built-in Handle | BPA-Free | Pantry Organization | Home Organization | Fridge Organizer | Freezer Org
  • SPACE SAVER: Maximize kitchen space – organize fridge, freezer or pantry shelves for easy access
  • PORTABLE DESIGN: The storage bin has cutout handles for easy lifting, sliding and transportation
  • VISIBLE & ACCESSIBLE: See the bin’s contents without removing it from the refrigerator or high pantry shelves
  • MULTI-PURPOSE: Multi-purpose storage bin great for the bathroom, kitchen, closets, garages and more. Also great for pantry, cabinets, or office storage. Stores ice cream, bagged frozen vegetables,...

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?

DYMO Label Maker, LetraTag 100H Handheld Label Maker, Easy-to-Use, 13 Character LCD Screen, Great for Home & Office Organization
  • Handheld label maker has 2 line printing, 5 font sizes, 7 print styles, 8 box styles. 9 label memory, date stamp, and 3 language options
  • 13 character LCD screen and graphical display on this label printer lets you see messages, and font and effects on screen before printing
  • Prints on Letra Tag LT labels available in plastic, metallic, magnetic and iron on label varieties. Thermal printing needs no ink or toner
  • Automatic off saves power. Easy to navigate, quick access buttons for swift and easy label making

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.

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.

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

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.

Vtopmart Clear Plastic Pantry Organizer Bins, 6 PCS Food Storage Bins with Handle for Refrigerator, Fridge, Cabinet, Kitchen, Countertops, Cupboard, Freezer Organization and Storage, BPA Free, Medium
  • Make Your Life Much Easier ---- You can use these pantry bins for various things throughout your home to organize and make your life easier. They are great for creating a clean and organized...
  • Functional and Versatile ---- With the perfect size, these plastic storage bins are great for cabinets and deep pantry shelves as well as inside the fridge or freezer. You can use them in any room of...
  • Clear and Sturdy ---- Made of premium BPA free durable polyethylene material, these refrigerator organizers are lightweight and sturdy. They are clear, so you can see what you want without having to...
  • Built-in Handles ---- The bins have handle grips on the edge making it easy to carry and access contents. You just take the bins out and get the items you want, then put it back in so simple. Organize...

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.

Utopia Home Set of 8 Pantry Organizers-Includes 8 Organizers (4 Large & 4 Small Drawers)-Organizers for Freezers, Kitchen Countertops and Cabinets-Clear Plastic Pantry Storage Racks
  • SET OF 8 - Set of 8 pantry organizer allows for better grocery management by providing the appropriate space for proper allocation of commodities
  • NOT DISHWASHER SAFE -Clean with hands using a light detergent and water (temperature range -20 degree to 50 degree)
  • GREAT STORAGE CAPACITY - The drawers are big enough to accommodate commodities in good quantity easily; the set incorporates 4 big drawers and 4 smaller ones to ensure better placement of grocery...
  • STRONG CONSTRUCTION, TRANSPARENT DESIGN - Its strong construction makes it strong enough to last for long; the transparent design makes the search process easier as you can find the required product...

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.

Humble Crew, Primary Small Plastic Storage Bins, Set of 4, Colors, 4 Set
  • Great on bookshelves, in the closet or under the bed
  • Perfectly sized as replacement bins for Tot Tutors toy organizers
  • Sturdy plastic construction
  • Dimensions of each bin: 11-3/4-inch L by 8-inch W by 5-1/4-inch H

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.

Better Houseware 1496.6 Beverage Can Dispenser, Chrome
  • Neat and efficient
  • Can be used in refrigerator, cabinets and closets
  • Made of polished chrome

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.

Copco Non-Skid Pantry Cabinet Lazy Susan Turntable, 12-Inch, White/Gray
  • ORGANIZE EVERY SPACE IN YOUR HOME: Organize everything-perfect for organizing your kitchen, your refrigerator, your craft or hobby room or even your bathroom cabinets.
  • NON-SKID SURFACE: Never worry about your items falling off; the non-skid surface on turntables is molded into the platforms for durability-easy to clean.
  • RIMMED EDGE: The outer rim prevents items from falling off, non-skid surface keeps items in place while rotating. Durable, easy-to-clean polypropylene with non-skid beaded surfaces
  • REVOLVING STORAGE: This pantry lazy Susan is glides easily; revolving storage space maximizes cabinet space and keeps the kitchen organized and tidy.

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

Homeries 2-Tier Lazy Susan Turntable - Tiered Rotating Kitchen Spice Organizer for Cabinets, Pantry, Bathroom, Refrigerator - Non-Skid Surface & Rimmed Edge (Pack of 2)
  • ORGANIZE YOUR KITCHEN- Organizing your stuff in the pantry has never been easier! This Lazy Susan turntable ensures that you are able to store all your spices and various other pantry staples easily...
  • REVOLVING STORAGE- This large Lazy Susan turntable is a revolving device which means that you can simply rotate it to get to the item you need. This makes it easy to use in all the areas of your house...
  • 2-TIER CONSTRUCTION- This Lazy Susan turntable organizer comes with two tiers to help you maximize on your limited space. This way you get to save your space and store more in the same small area. You...
  • NO MORE FALLING- This 2-tier turntable comes with a rimmed edge to ensure that your items do not fall off the turntable. This Lazy Susan kitchen accessory makes sure that your items on the turntable...

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.

Lazy Susan - 2 Pack Clear Spinning Organization & Storage Container Bin 9 inch Round Turntable Plastic Condiments Spice Rack for Cabinet, Pantry, Kitchen, Fridge, Vanity, Bathroom, Countertop, Makeup
  • ◎PREMIUM & FOOD SAFE MATERIAL: Lazy susan is made of durable, freezer safe and and BPA free plastic material, you can organized food with confidence and clean lazy susan cabinet organizer easily...
  • ◎EASY TO ACCESS & ROTATES 360°: With clear plastic materials and stainless steel ball bearings at the bottom, This Spinning Organizer allow you rotate smoothly and access items easily, even when...
  • ◎HUMANIZED DESIGN: Measured in 10.6’’ (Diameter) and 2.5’’ (Height), this turntable lazy susan is spacious enough for your daily storage. With thickened edge, Clear lazy susan organizer is...
  • ◎VERSTILE STORAGE: This Organization & Storage Container Bins fit for storing condiment, spices, snacks, cans, bottles, drinks, coffee, baking supplies, shampoo, bathroom necessities and makeup....

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.

STORi Mod Stackable Pantry Storage Drawers 4-1/2" Tall | set of 2 | Mocha Mist
  • CONVENIENT 2-drawer set proudly made in USA
  • Use individually or stack to SAVE SPACE on countertops or in kitchen cabinets
  • Each 6-inch by 8-inch drawer is JUST RIGHT for coffee pods and tea bags in the pantry
  • Not just for snack bars and spice packets, also PERFECT under the sink to store sponges and gloves

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.

Under Shelf Drawer Pull Out,vacane Under Cabinet Organizer Hanging Storage Baskets Easy to Install,Durable BPA-Free Plastic Storage Organizer for Closet Kitchen Pantry Office,Clear
  • 【Space Saving Solution】Maximum Shelf Thickness 3/5 inch. vacane under shelf drawer add extra storage space by using the underside of your cabinets. After the drawer is pulled out, it can be tilted...
  • 【BPA-Free Meets More Needs】Premium PET food grade material makes this under cabinet drawer more durable and clear. Easy to clean without absorbing stains or smells. NOTE: CANNOT BE USED IN...
  • 【Pull Out/Push In Easily】Built quality stainless steel balls in glide track to make sure the drawer opens and closes easily, even if the organizer bin is full of items.
  • 【Dimensions】11.22 x 11.22 x 4.29 inches. Perfect for storing spices, condiments, cosmetics, bathroom accessory etc. And it can be used in cabinets, upper shelves, cupboards and so on.

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

Whitmor White Wire Shelf Basket
  • Instantly add storage space by using the underside of the shelf
  • Under Shelf Baskets slide onto any shelf 1-inch thick or smaller
  • This basket can store clothing, cleaning supplies, towels, bathroom accessories, etc.
  • Assembled Dimensions: 10 L x 16 W x 7 H inches

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.

Over Door Organizer Large 5-tier Pantry Kitchen Bathroom Black Spice Back Hanging Storage Metal Rack Shelf Basket Closet Shelving Smart Design, 18 inches (W) X 52 inches (H)
  • [ Unique Design for Kitchen , Pantry and Closet] 5 Tier back door basket shelf is easy to install and large storage space
  • [Must-have Pantry Organizer Storage Hanging Rack ] Attach it to the inside pantry door to keep canned food, bagged snacks, bottled condiments and spices ready when you need them. Or place it on an...
  • [ Become your Favourite ] Over Door Pantry Organizer is sturdy. The organizer can be your favourite door rack, pantry door organizer, cabinet door organizer, bathroom door organizer
  • [ Dimension] 6.3"(L) x 17.7"(W) x 53.1"(H) Hook : 1.6 inches. Fits for residential and commercial door with depth

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.

Wall35 Kansas Wall Mounted Metal Wire Baskets for Kitchen Organization and Storage, Varying Sizes Hanging Fruit Basket Set of 3 White
  • Decorative Storage Unit: Wall35 wire basket set will be one of your favorite kitchen pantry organization and storage solution. They provide additional space to store your fruit and vegetables, spices,...
  • Practical Design: If you do not want to hang this storage basket unit on your wall, just put them our countertop, cabinetry, or any surface! Also, you can put a name on each basket to pinpoint...
  • Countless Purposes: They act as organizers and storage units anywhere at home or office! Their design and color allow you to utilize them not only in your kitchen but also in your bathroom, kids room,...
  • Sturdy Construction: Crafted from high-quality materials, these wire shelving units and storage baskets for organizing are built to stay sturdy and solid for years to come.

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.

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