Is there anything more satisfying than an organized pantry? When it comes to meal times, knowing exactly where to find all your ingredients really makes life easier. However, if your pantry has particularly deep shelves, organizing your groceries will require a little extra pre-planning.
Deep pantry shelves are both a curse and a blessing. Yes, they offer more storage space for your durable goods and all those kitchen essentials you want to hide out of sight, but the seemingly endless abyss at the back of your pantry can make it difficult to reach the things you need. And trust us, you’re not the only one finding obsolete cans you didn’t even know existed there…
When it comes to organizing a kitchen, we all know that an efficient food storage system helps the rest of the functional space run smoothly. Not only does it make it easier to find what you need to prepare meals, but it also limits food waste and helps your weekly grocery shopping go that little bit further.
That being said, knowing where to start with an organizational task can be overwhelming. And no, tackling your pantry is more than a five-minute task — you’ll need to invest some time if you want the job done right. Luckily, these organizing experts are on hand to share their top tips on how to organize a deep-shelf pantry for the efficient kitchen of your dreams.
Lilith is an expert in following news and trends in the interior design world. She firmly believes that a tidy home is a happy home and is committed to helping readers organize their spaces by sharing practical tips and guides. For this piece, she asked professional organizers for advice on how to organize a pantry with deep shelves.
1. Set the shelves
Rule number one of any organizational task: make room for the things you need. This kitchen storage idea will make it a lot easier to find what you’re looking for when it comes to busy mealtimes.
When thinking about how to organize a pantry, consider organizing by food occasion. “My breakfast items are all on a deep shelf, including the toaster and an open basket for the bread,” says Sue Spencer, who offers a professional clearing service at A Life More Organized (opens in new tab). “The main meal ingredients are on the next shelf — pasta, rice, canned, etc. — then a shelf for sweets and treats above that.”
While this approach is obviously intuitive, it’s important to consider what makes the most sense for you before allocating the shelves. Would keeping appliances like a toaster oven work best for you and your family in your pantry, or do you use them so often that they would be better suited to the countertop? Do you prefer to have your tea and coffee tins within reach of the kettle or do you want to hide them out of sight? Set up your zones to suit your individual needs (especially if you usually cook the meals!)
2. Put things you use least in hard-to-reach places
We shouldn’t need to dwell too much on this sensible pantry idea, but follow your instinct – don’t store items or groceries that you depend on daily on deep shelves in the back!
“Keep things you don’t use regularly in hard-to-reach places like the back corner. That way they don’t get in the way of everyday things,” says Sue.
If you’re struggling to reach the top shelf of your pantry, use it for things you rarely use—this could be baking ingredients or extra linens. The same applies to the lower shelves. Spare your knees the strain and use this area for heavier items that you rarely use, such as B. Casserole dishes.
Making sure you have room for baking stock can also help reduce your food waste. “Placing more of the same products behind what you’re using is always a great way to organize deep-shelf pantries,” says Holly Bly, organizer and blogger at Organize With Holly (opens in new tab).
3. Use storage containers and baskets
If organizers swear by one thing, it’s storage containers. Placing similar foods like pasta and rice in designated containers not only helps you find what you need, but makes the interior of your pantry more aesthetic thanks to the stylish storage ideas now available.
“Baskets or plastic tubs are great for storing individual packets like condiments and snacks together on the shelves,” explains Sue. We love this set of four seagrass storage baskets on Amazon (opens in new tab) for a rustic farmhouse kitchen idea.
These are especially handy if you also have deep shelves. Sue adds, “Having the baskets take up the full depth of the shelf is perfect because it lets you take full advantage of the space.”
For the same reason, Holly suggests measuring containers before you buy them. ‘Your investment is guaranteed to serve its purpose.’
4. Decant your food
Speaking of containers, a nifty storage hack for your pantry is to transfer certain foods into different containers. Clear ones, like these glass mason jars from Amazon (opens in new tab)are great as you can see exactly what’s inside without the need for labels.
“Transferring when you come home from the grocery store can save space, preserve freshness, and create a less cluttered appearance,” explains Holly. “Another benefit of using clear containers is that you can assess how much you have at a quick glance, which can simplify pre-shopping and prevent over-buying.”
You might think decanting is a faff, but as Holly points out, making those last-minute grocery lists can really make your life easier later on. And then the aesthetic benefit of being presented with a beautiful matching set of containers every time you open your pantry. “Decanting makes the packaging visually clearer so you can see what you have and it can look pretty at the same time.’
5. Buy a shelf riser
Although they offer more storage space, the main problem with deep shelves is that you can hardly see what’s hidden at the back. If this is a common problem in your pantry, consider purchasing a shelf riser for stacking cans and packets at the back of your deep shelves.
“Kitchen organizers like shelf risers make it easy to see what’s at the back of the pantry, and I always keep spare items under the riser so they don’t clutter up the front of the shelf,” explains Sue. “To make life easier, I put the things I don’t use as often on the back and the things I use more often on the front.”
There are a number of different shelf riser options available online, but we think this expandable shelf organizer is Amazon’s (opens in new tab) is the best option as you can adjust it to fit the size of your pantry. The bronze details also give it a modern look.
6. Install pull out shelves or glides
If you’re able to, it might be worth installing rolling shelves or glides in your pantry. Modern storage solutions like these give you easy access to what you need.
“Deep pantries are particularly tricky because it’s difficult to see and keep track of what’s behind them,” Holly reminds us. “Installing extendable shelves or glides is one of the best solutions to solve this common problem.”
If installing a pantry idea like a glider isn’t possible or seems like it would be costly, you can make a similar storage solution on a budget. “The use of carousels in pantries has become popular because it gives easy access to items that are stored farther back,” says Sue.
However, she warns us that they can often take up more space than the storage space they offer. “The only place carousels are useful are in tight corner cabinets, as they really help you get to hard-to-reach items.”
If you have the space, a tiered storage carousel like this one is available on Amazon (opens in new tab) could be worth the investment. Otherwise, try a smaller, single-tiered lazy susan like this one, also from Amazon (opens in new tab).