Utilizing Deep Pantry Shelves

Updated: Aug 17

Pantry organization is extremely popular right now and there are so many gush-worthy photos of perfectly manicured pantries floating around on the internet. In fact, we have a whole Pinterest board of them here.

I’ve come across a large number of clients that have deep pantry shelves that are in need of organization and these spaces pose unique challenges in terms of how to best store items. In all honesty, deep shelves in a pantry are hard to get right (even for the most seasoned organizer) and even harder to get looking perfect because you have to stack non-similar items far into the space.

I am going to take you through an extra deep pantry reorganization that we did recently.

Here is how we approached this deep pantry and how you can do the same in your space.

Remove everything from the space.

You need to be able to see all the items that were contained in the space. The only way to do that is to remove everything and line up the items in an area where you can see everything at once.

Get rid of items that are expired, stale, and that you won't eat.

Everyone has at least an expired food item or two in their pantry. Check all items and dispose of anything that is outdated as well as any items that will just not be eaten.

Get rid of any packaging that is not being useful.

The rule with packaging is that if it isn’t doing a good job of telling you what is contained within or it’s taking up too much space, get rid of it. So many items come with multiple layers of packaging so consider getting rid of at least a layer where possible.

Sort like items with like items.

Since you are working with deep shelves, you will need to stack items in front of others that will be hidden from sight. This is why it’s really important to place items only with other items in similar categories of goods so when you are accessing the space, you know where to look for your items. You will need to determine what categories make sense for your space but some of the ones we use often are as follows: dry goods, canned goods, soups, grains, snacks, beverages, pasta, chips, crackers, cookies, candy, kids snacks, adult snacks, paper goods, baking, and condiments.

Determine what products can be reused or repurposed in your space.

For this pantry, we used plastic bins and dry goods containers that were already in use so that we didn't have to buy all new products. I mention this because you should always look at what you already have in your space before buying new products. Most likely, you will have at least some items you can reuse or repurpose.

Decant dry goods where possible.

Decanting helps save space by getting rid of packaging and allows you to use similarly shaped containers for space efficiency. It also streamlines the look of your items and boosts the aesthetic. We love using 32 oz glass mason jars or something like this for decanting all types of items.

Use deep thin pantry bins.

This step is so beneficial in a deep pantry. We love using these wire bins for their style, size, and durability or these slightly longer and skinnier ones.

Label, label, label.

This is important in any space but doubly so in a deep pantry. The reason being is that you can’t see all your items at a glance. You need to be able to rely on appropriate labels to tell you where to look for your items. If you are using bins that you can't fit label tape directly on (like we are in this space), we suggest adding labels like these: (1) white whiteboard labels (2) black bin clips or (3) wood bin clips. For this pantry, we used these economical black labels and this waterproof labeling pen (a favorite of ours).

I want to reiterate that these spaces are hard to get right. If you are working to reorganize your space, don’t give up if you don’t get it perfect on the first try. You may need to tweak and adjust your system after a week or two of use. And if you would like some professional help getting your space set up, give us a call! We are happy to help in person or virtually.


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