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How To Organize Your Pantry for Less Than $20

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We just moved into a new house almost 3 months ago now. We finally have a pantry, and we’ve actually never had one before in any house we’ve lived in. I had all kinds of ideas on how to make it organized, fun, and cute when we moved in, but it didn’t happen. It was pretty disappointing. My family of 4 would just throw stuff here and there, and make food fit anywhere there was a space. My 7 year old would ask, “Mommy, where does this go?” and I’d reply, “Just put it wherever you can find space.” That’s how our pantry turned out like it did.

For the past couple days I’ve been purging other areas of our home, like our closets, shoes, linen closets, toys, and more. I decided I wanted to live more simple, less cluttered, and more organized. Frankly we just have TOO much stuff, which if you saw my house, you’d see boxes still unpacked from us moving in 3 months ago, but that’s for another post. I recently joined some “cleaning” and “organizing” groups on Facebook. People post before pictures and after pictures, and let me tell you it’s SO motivating. That is how we arrived to this post, Organize Your Pantry for Less Than $20.

I researched a bit here and there for ideas on Pinterest, and I kept coming up with people shopping at the Dollar Tree and Walmart for items to help them organize, so my 3 year old and I headed off to buy some items to help organize the pantry. I also bought some things to help organize our spice/baking cabinet too, but it’s not really messy, just cluttered.

Here’s what I bought for our pantry and spice cabinet:


Here’s the prices of everything in case you were interested, Six Dollar Tree Bins $1 each, 3-Tier Wire Racks at Walmart were $2.88, Two Small Storage Baskets $0.97, Two Canisters $3 each, and 3-Tier Bamboo Shelf $5.97. I realize all of this costs more than $20, but we didn’t use all of it for our pantry makeover.

For our pantry I ended up using:
Four Dollar Tree Bins $4
Two 3-Tier Wire Shelves $6 ($3 each)
Canister $3
It cost me a total of $13!

So let’s get to the pantry, here’s what I started with. Everything was a mess, a complete disaster, items thrown in here and there.

It was really out of hand, I couldn’t find anything at all. In fact when I went to Walmart to pick up some of the items mentioned above, I needed some diced tomatoes for dinner. I didn’t think we had any, so I bought a few cans, but when I went to organize everything, I found that I already had four other cans of it!

First thing is think about what you want to do to your pantry, what you have the most of, what you need baskets for, and more. We don’t eat a lot of “boxed” items, but we do have a lot of canned goods and pasta. You may be the opposite, so just adjust this for what you need. You may do well with an over the door organizer too, which you can pick up for around $10 at Walmart. Do your shopping for your organizational items, and have them ready to go.

Next you’re going to want to empty every single thing out of your pantry. You’ll want to start with an empty canvas so to speak. Now start organizing your canned goods. I put like items together; carrots, peas, green beans, tomato products, soups, Mexican items, tuna, etc. This way you can keep track of what you need next time you go to the store based on it’s empty space. I also made a pile of pasta, boxed items, fruit snacks, drink mixes, etc. I did all of this actually on the floor of my kitchen, and threw things in the dollar tree bins as I went. It was easy to organize everything before I started putting everything into the pantry.

After you have everything in categories, make sure you write the categories down so you can make labels! I’ll get to the labels in a minute, and let you know where I got mine.

Pantry Top
Here’s how I did my pantry, at the top, I did cereal and oatmeal, canister full of single drink mixes, and my Advocare shakes. I’m tall, so having these there in my reach away from the kids was a good spot. Second shelf I did our boxed goods like mac n cheese, Velveeta meals (don’t judge me), rice, etc. The orange container I already had, it has mixes in it like dry packets of ranch dressing, Italian dressing, onion soup mix, etc. Next, chips, and sauces has spaghetti sauce, alfredo sauce, and marinara sauce.

The third shelf is all canned goods, from left to right, in the back is a stack of tuna since we don’t use it as often, then Mexican cans of refried beans, enchilada sauce, and green chilies. Manwich and kidney beans in front of that. To the right of that is tomato products, petite diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, rotel and more. Next to that is large cans of green beans, yams, and baked beans. Then I have a bunch of cans of green beans (they’re our favorite with bacon and onion, yum), on the first 3-tier rack I have soups – Chicken Noodle, Cream of Mushroom, and Cream of Chicken. On the next 3-tier rack I have pumpkin and yams, sliced carrots, and peas. In front of that I have Trader Joe’s O’s, and Chef Boyardee.

Pantry Bottom

The bottom half of the pantry is a bit easier with the dollar tree bins, the fourth shelf consists of Pasta, Snacks and Drink Mixes. We have a lot of pasta – spaghetti, ziti, egg noodles, bowties, and elbows are what I typically buy and always have on hand. Snacks I put where my kids could reach them easily. We live in a 3 story house and there’s nothing worse than a kid being hungry and I’m all the way upstairs. We keep applesauce, granola bars, belvita breakfast bars, and popcorn always ready to go. Next is drink mixes, crystal light, tea bags, strawberry milk mix, lemonade, etc. On the fifth shelf I put 2 drawers that we actually already had. I put our plastic shopping bags in one, which is easy for everyone to grab, and then gummy fruit snacks in another. I put all of our bread products on top of that. Next to all of that was an empty space, and I always have a ton of chicken broth for cooking, plus I put a few extras there that didn’t really fit anywhere else. On the floor is where all of our paper towels go, and then I have empty reusable shopping bags.

Now time for the end result!

Here’s the Before and After next to each other so you can see a comparison shot!


Impressive right? So now about those labels. I just went on Pinterest (Follow Everything Mommyhood on Pinterest) and searched for Pantry Organization Labels and looked for some cute free ones! I downloaded and printed these.


I have to say I absolutely LOVE the look of my pantry now, it has relieved the stress of opening the pantry and being overwhelmed too. It feels nice to be organized and I think it’s an easy plan to keep up with.

Take a look at how nice it looks back from the distance!


Oh and I must tell you about our “EAT” letters, these are actually made from pallet boards, and are distressed and have a hint of blue to them, which you can’t really see from this angle, but you must check out Burlap & Boards on Facebook. They are the ones who made them for me! They make a ton of super cute stuff!!! They even made us an entry way sign with our name and date our house was established.

Anyway, so that’s how we organized our pantry for less than $20! I’d love to see what you come up with!

If you don’t feel like heading to Walmart and would rather shop at Amazon instead, here are some links of items I would suggest to organize your pantry:
3-Tier Shelf
Over the Door Storage Rack
Can Racks
Kitchen Wrap Organizer
Clear Bins

Do you have any pantry or kitchen organizational tips?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.

Edna Williams

Sunday 3rd of January 2016

Great pantry! Most amazing recommendations! Thanks for sharing!

Amber Ludwig

Friday 13th of November 2015

Turned out fantastic!! Great job Mama!!! Now if only I had a pantry so I could be this organized ;)

Linda Manns Linneman

Tuesday 10th of November 2015

This article has been so helpful to me. I didn't know where to begin with organizing from pantry. This got me going so now my pantry looks great and it didn't cost me that much to do it. Thank you so much for sharing

Kara Paintedone

Saturday 10th of October 2015

I love how neat that is. I am an organization freak and this just makes me feel happy. Is that odd? Oh well I'm odd. lol


Saturday 10th of October 2015

Looks great! Thanks for sharing!