If you’ve been scratching your head wondering how to organize a pantry with wire shelves, I hear you.
It wasn’t until we moved into our current home, which has a pretty standard closet pantry, that I realized just how annoying those little rows of wire could be.
Food items constantly fall over, small items fall straight through the cracks. and spills go everywhere.
While it’s great to have the storage space, I now understand why people would opt for wooden shelves instead.
Maybe in our next house if we’re so lucky, but in this one we’ve decided making the swap just isn’t worth the time and energy.
So I challenged myself to revamp my pantry space without changing the pantry wire shelving. And, to my surprise and delight, it turned out great! It’s more organized, functional, and super pretty (if I may say so myself). I mean look at this…
Shop my pantry organizers here:
Now I’m here to tell you what I learned from the process.
If you dream of having a well-organized pantry, and you’re on team wire shelf, scroll down for my wire pantry organization tips.
Below I’ve not only outlined how to organize a pantry with wire shelves, I’ve also linked some great wire pantry storage solutions!
How to Organize a Pantry With Wire Shelves – A Step by Step Process
Whether you have a small pantry or large walk-in pantry, this process will help you to create a fresh, functional space!
Get rid of those seldom-used items as well as those that are beyond their expiration date.
Pantry items can really stack up, but don’t hold on to something unless you truly intend on using it. You have to be honest with yourself. That weird ingredient you bought for that one recipe you ended up hating – yeah, it’s got to go.
Donate what you can and toss what you can’t. Doing so will allow extra storage for the items you and your family actually want and need.
Remove everything from your pantry shelves, grouping similar items together as you transfer them to a table or counter.
When I reorganized my kitchen pantry, I started with 6 category groupings:
- canned goods
- liquid foods (sauces, oils, dressings, condiments)
- dry foods (rice, pasta, seeds, and other grains)
- baking supplies
From there, I recognized and created a few sub-categories (ex. canned soups vs. canned veggies).
However, this could look different for you, and that’s okay. Just make sure you group things in a way that makes sense for you and your family.
Categorizing is key to your pantry makeover because you’re eventually going to designate space for each grouping to live. Every item in. you pantry will end up having a home.
This will help the entire space flow better, feel less chaotic, be easier to keep clean, and function in a manner that saves you time.
You’ll be able to find things easily, put things away faster, and create grocery lists without having to dig.
Now that everything’s out of your food pantry, this is a great opportunity to give it a quick clean.
Wipe down those wire shelves and vacuum the floor.
If you use shelf liners, you can clean or replace those, too.
Personally, I’m not huge on liners. I don’t like the way they look, and I feel like they just slide around. But do what works for you!
Whether you plan to use clear bins, woven baskets, or a combination of the two, you have to make sure they’re going to fit!
That said, you’re going to have to measure each shelf in your pantry closet – the length, the depth, and how much space you have in between (whether there’s a shelf or ceiling above the one you’re measuring).
Take a look at everything you took out of your pantry. Is there anything more you’d like to store in there? Could you afford to store less?
Figure out how you’d like to use your own space, and come up with a game plan.
How do you want the space to feel? Modern? Simple? Peaceful?
What storage solutions do you want to use? Baskets? Clear bins? A combination of the two? (More on this below.)
Where do you want each grouping to live? Do your canned goods need an entire shelf like mine do? Do you want the kids to be able to reach the cereal boxes so they can help themselves?
There’s no “one size fits all” solution here.
However, I do recommend is keeping the items you use most often easily accessible (like on the middle shelf). I’d also consider putting taller items, items you want to keep away from children, or items you use less frequently up on the top shelf.
Now the fun really begins! Go ahead and purchase the pantry organizers you have in mind. IF you have the budget for them.
Some great places to look include:
Personally, I like to use a mix of clear storage containers and woven baskets.
I like to use the clear acrylic bins for snack items because they tend to disappear quickly in our house. It’s nice to be able to see what we’re running low on at quick glance when I’m making a grocery list!
I like to use baskets for dry goods and ingredients that can just look random and messy. It’s an easy way to hide the disarray. Plus, I have deep shelves, so baskets make it easier to access items that are pushed towards the back.
If your budget is tight, you can use boxes. Check your local thrift shop, too! They might have some affordable bins and baskets you can use.
PRO TIP: Don’t hesitate to buy a few extra organizers in case you need to adjust your game plan. It can take a bit of trial and error to find the right place, and the right organizer, for everything. Just remember to save your receipts!
Note: If you plan to order your organizers online, and you don’t want all of the contents of your pantry sitting out while you wait for them to arrive, you might want to measure/order BEFORE you empty your pantry.
The reason I recommend taking everything out first is because I think it’s easier to measure, plan, and pick organizers once you take inventory of all your pantry items. It can be hard to tell what you have, and what you need, until everything is grouped in front of you.
Before you take the tags off of your storage bins and other organizational tools, it’s a good idea to test them out.
Place them in your pantry to ensure they fit and can function the way you had hoped.
You should be able to pull every organizer in and out of the pantry with ease.
Pro Tip: If you can manage, refrain from removing the tags from your containers until you fill them, even better. You might find that you need to rethink your original plan for an area once you start putting things back. Which brings use to the next step…
Now you can start filling up those bins, baskets, boxes…whatever you’re going to contain your pantry items in.
Remember to keep all of your categories intact within your space. Here’s a picture of my pantry and the categories within it to illustrate what I mean…
Adjust as needed until you reach your version of pantry perfection!
Ask yourself: Are the items you reach for regularly (like those cereal boxes and peanut butter tubs) easily accessible? Can you pull those baskets out without an issue? Can heavier items be accessed safely? Does the space still look like it’s beyond its storage capacity (Hint: It shouldn’t.)
10. Label (Optional)
Labeling the organizers in your pantry isn’t 100% necessary, but I do think it’s helpful for quickly find items and putting them away. Not just for you, but for your family.
Congrats! You no longer have a messy pantry. At least I hope so. 😉
Enjoy the fruits of you labor, and if you can post a picture on Instagram and tag me (@itsmemeach). I’d love to see what you came up with!
How to Organize a Pantry With Wire Shelves – A “Click to Shop” List of Storage Solutions
Since we all have different needs, below I’ve listed a few different pantry storage solutions available to you. I’ve also provided my personal thoughts and opinions on each, just to give you some things to consider. You can take my 2 cents or leave it, lol. I just like go give pros and cons so you can decide how to spend your hard-earned money.
To shop these items, simply click on the product pictures.
Clear bins are my choice organizers for snacks! I like that they’re easy to clean, and that you can see what’s in them. It makes creating a grocery list so much easier. If I notice that our clear containers are on empty, I know we need more snack bars, popcorn, and so on.
I strongly prefer clear acrylic bins to clear plastic bins. They are more durable, and most of the clear plastic bins I’ve seen are not exactly clear – they’re opaque. Acrylic is as clear as glass, but thankfully not as delicate.
Dry Food Storage Containers
Dry food storage containers – like oxo containers – do look super pretty sitting in a pantry. And while you’re more than welcome to use them, I prefer not to in my home.
I’ve tried, but what I’ve found is that you often have more dry ingredients than the container can fit. So you’re stuck housing both items – the original in it’s packaging and the contents in the storage container. You can end up wasting a lot of space, and all for aesthetics. That’s just not my jam.
Also, think about cereal. You often buy more when you’re running low. So what do you do with the new stuff until the old stuff is gone? Pour it on top? Keep the extra box? I just don’t think it makes the most sense.
I’ve said it once, though, and I’ll say it again – you do you! I’m not here to judge. 🙂
Instead of food storage containers, I prefer to house my dry ingredients in wicker baskets.
They’re great for deep shelves because you can access what’s in the back simply by pulling out the basket.
Plus, they cover the chaos (like all those random baking ingredients I’ve shoved into ziplock bags).
I like to keep baskets on the bottom shelf (or bottom shelves if you’re using them on multiple levels). When they’re lower, it’s faster and easier to pull them out.
A big part of pantry optimization is making sure you have easy access to everything, so keep that in mind as you choose what you buy and where you put it. If it feels even a little bit awkward or inconvenient, there’s probably a better way.
If you want to know how to organize a pantry with wire shelves on a budget, this could be a solid solution for you. Plastic baskets can be more cost effective than woven baskets. And they can look just as Pinterest-perfect, too!
Lazy Susans are great for sauces, oils, and other condiments. However, they’re not ideal for every storage area.
In our pantry, a lazy Susan wastes precious shelf space. So if you’re going to go this route, just make sure you’re not sacrificing valuable space to do so.
There are so many types of stackable bins, and they’re really not a bad idea!
In fact, we have a small set in our pantry for our snacks.
If you decide to use them, too, just make sure that you can access whatever is in the lower bin(s) quickly and easily. Organizers should make your life easier, not harder.
Again, labeling is optional. But if you choose to do so, you can DIY with a bluetooth label maker or chalkboard stickers.
If you have a Cricut machine or something similar, you can also create pantry labels using that.
And if you’re dead set on your labels looking super pretty, and you don’t trust yourself to get the job done, you can order custom labels on Etsy.
Now that you have a solid idea as to how to organize a pantry with wire shelves – what questions do you have?
The best way to create organizational tutorials is to speak from my own experiences, but I know there are so many variables – pantry size, pantry shape, etc.
That said, if you let me know what you’re struggling with, I can help you come up with pantry organization ideas that are unique to your situation.
Just drop your questions in the comments below so I can get back to you!
Also, be sure to connect with me on social media. I share lots of home and life hacks to make your life more manageable. That way you have more time, money, and energy for the people and passions that are most important to you.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading.
Do your best today!