How to Maintain the Best Pantry Organization

Best Pantry Organization Tips to Transform your space

Best tips for pantry organization. Organizing tools, strategies & ideas to keep it organized. Easy DIY to add beauty to your organized pantry.

white cereal organizing containers in pantry

A few years ago, I completed an awesome pantry organization project. To say that my new organized pantry changed my life isn’t even an exaggeration. It certainly changed how my family and I were able to function in our kitchen space on a daily basis. For this reason, I knew that it would be the perfect post to update and share with you again. I received so much positive feedback, as well as many questions over the past year.

Questions like:

  • How does your family like it?
  • It’s pretty, but is it functional?
  • Have you been able to keep it organized?

My pantry organization has passed the test of time.

It’s the perfect time to answer these questions and give you an update. I will share what worked and what I might do differently.

I am also going to show you an easy DIY that added style and beauty to my organized pantry.

Hint: It involves inexpensive contact paper. Notice the difference between the photo above and then the photo of the shelve below.

(This post contains affiliate shopping links.)

organized food containers sitting on shelf in pantry

My Pantry Organization One Year Ago

Here is what the pantry looked like last year.

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organized pantry shelves with containers

My Pantry Organization One Year Later

Here’s what the pantry looks like this morning, exactly one year later:

organized pantry with grey containers and organized shelves


Adding a Functional Utility Table

We recently added a small utility table which functions as a small island in the middle of the pantry. It was the best decision ever.

The one problem we had was when we brought down a bin, we didn’t have any place to put it to look inside. We often ended up putting it on the floor.

The answer to our problem is our new utility table. Now we can take down a bin and place in on our new island. It’s the perfect workspace. For example, every morning my husband Bill makes his oatmeal. He brings his bowl in and places it on the island and then gathers all the glass jars containing dried cranberries, sliced almonds and shredded coconut from the shelf. He sprinkles his oatmeal with all his goodies right there in the pantry using the new island without having to bring everything into the kitchen. 

For me, I’m always bringing down the baking bins to grab the baking soda, baking powder, etc. Now it’s so easy to place the bin on the island, grab what I need, and then place the bin back up on the shelf. 

To answer the questions that most of you asked me over the past year . . . 

The Family Loved the Pantry Organization Project

Granted, no one loves having to clean up and organize. But everyone loves to live in a space that is clean and organized. Once I got the pantry organized and all the bins labeled, I had to help the family through a short learning period over the first few weeks. I took them each on a mini tour of the pantry, pointing out all the tags, reading all of the labels and explaining what they all meant. After a couple of weeks, I got fewer and fewer, “Mom, where is __________” and lots more, “Mom, I love our new pantry!”


organized kitchen pantry shelves with see through food containers

Our Pantry Organization is So Functional

Once everyone saw how much work the organizing took and how beautiful the new pantry was, I got the whole family on board. Now it was easy to put things back in their place because everything HAD a place.

Putting away groceries was easy and so was finding what you wanted. As you can see from the above photo one year later, the pantry hardly looks any different. And I promise, this is how it looks every day. I didn’t have to run in there and clean things up.

I literally walked in, turned on the light, and took the picture.

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Organized Pantry Tip:  Buy extra bins, containers, materials to prepare for change.

Keeping it Organized

As with life, things change. As new storage needs have presented themselves, I have had to add and change some of the bins. At the beginning of the year, I had a few empty bins and had a few extra labels left over. Over the course of the first few months, I slowly designated the remaining bins and filled out the new labels as needed.

Some of the bins tend to get disorganized and filled to overflowing. These are usually the ones that my boys use a lot. They are typically filled with snacks and lunch box items. Every so often I find I have to go in and throw away empty boxes the boys have left and just tidy up these bins.

Organized Pantry Tip: Schedule regular “clean-up” sessions. Like anything, your pantry organization needs upkeep. 

grey and white canvas organizing bin in white walk-in pantry

A Family Affair

The pantry is a huge part of how our family functions in the kitchen. My boys are in middle school, and I have empowered them with a lot of hands-on responsibilities when it comes to cooking and making their own food. For example, they have been making their own lunches since about the 2nd grade. Now my older son cooks most of our meals. 

  • I knew it was important that they be able to create bins that worked for them.
  • They have bins for their lunch items and one for the snacks they like (separate from family snacks). And Roan has created a bin where he likes to keep all of the spices he uses for cooking.
  • This way they take ownership of the entire process.
  • They put things away so they know exactly where they are.
  • They are also the ones that benefit from having what they need all together in one place.

Organized Pantry Tip: Get your family involved.

grey and white canvas organizing bin in white walk-in pantry

Making My Pantry Organization Even Prettier

After I completed the organization, I was so in love with the space that I wanted to make it even prettier.

I wanted to add a patterned peel and stick wallpaper to the wall behind the shelves. I found a very inexpensive contact paper that I thought would be fun to try. 

But I knew I had one problem: Textured walls. I had a feeling it wouldn’t stick very well to my textured walls. I was discussing the project with my great blogging friend Janine from Happy Happy Nester. She had a fabulous creative solution.

Foam Core Board

Foam core board is the greatest stuff ever invented. It has so many creative uses. I always try to keep a few foam core boards on hand, just in case. For this project I was going to attach the contact paper directly to the foam core board, cut to size, and stick up behind the shelves. The idea is that it would look exactly the same as if I had attached the contact paper to the wall. But there would be two bonuses:

1.  The contact paper would stick perfectly to the smooth foam core board rather than peeling off my textured walls.

2.  If I didn’t like it or wanted to change it up all I had to do would be to remove the foam core board. It was a brilliant plan.

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clear food containers with pasta in walk-in pantry

Here’s How I Beautified My Pantry Organization:

grey and white zig-zag contact paper with scissors and measuring tools


  • 6 large foam core boards – It’s a big pantry but notice I only did the shelves that you could see, not the ones that were totally hidden behind large bins.
  • Several rolls of contact paper – Buy more then you need. It’s cheap and you can take back the unused rolls.
  • measuring tape
  • X-acto knife
  • scissors
  • ruler or level, optional cutting guide

person cutting a foam core board

DIY Project How-to:

  1. Cut contact paper to the size of the foam core board.
  2. Attached the contact paper to one of the foam core boards.
  3. Measure your first shelf and measure the foam core board to match.
  4. Using the X-ACTO knife cut the foam core board to size.
  5. Press the cut foam core board into the back of the shelf. It just fit snug enough so that it stays up easily on its own.
  6. Repeat.

organized kitchen pantry shelves with clear food containers with labels


  • Don’t get discouraged when you are sticking the contact paper to the foam core board. This is really the hardest part. Getting the contact paper on without bubbles just takes a bit of practice. You’ll get better at it, I promise.
  • Measure wall and write it down. I kept skipping that part and thinking I would remember the numbers. I never did. Trust me, it’s easier to just write it down.
  • I used the hard edge of a small level as a guide when cutting with the X-ACTO knife. This helped me cut a straight line.
  • Don’t worry if you mess up. Most of the shelves were hidden so when my measurements were slightly off you couldn’t see it at all.

In general, this project is quite easy and is very forgiving. Maintaining pantry organization is about more than staying tidy. 

It’s about creating beauty and staying committed.

What do you think?  I love it!

Why Beauty is Important for the Best Pantry Organization

Why take the time, energy and effort to add beauty to your pantry? Besides pure enjoyment, I wholeheartedly believe that making your pantry a beautiful space will encourage you and your family to work harder to maintain the beauty, function and organization.

Make it beautiful and keep it beautiful. That’s my motto, and it works.

jodie & julie 

organized food bins on pantry shelves

organized pantry shelves with glass containers and labeled bins
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How to Maintain the Best Pantry Organization
Article Name
How to Maintain the Best Pantry Organization
Want an organized pantry? It's not enough to just create the organization. The most important thing is that it works & stays organized.
Publisher Name
The Design Twins
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  1. Sandra Knowles says:

    This really inspired me! I have a spinal cord injury and standing-up doing a wallpapered area is out of the question for me. This however is something I can sit at a table and do. I will just need a little help with measuring and then a little help setting them in the back of my shelves. This opens a lot of ideas for me for other areas. Thank you!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      That is amazing to hear! So sorry to hear about your spinal cord injury. Hope you recover soon. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post, it means the world to us!
      Lots of love,
      Jodie & Julie

  2. Susan Wenzel says:

    Excellent article. Am saving this for me new home currently being built. Thank you!

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