It's Time to Make "Pantry Chaos" a Thing of the Past

a white shelving unit with various kitchen items
How to Organize Your Walk-In PantryAubrie Pick

For family homes across the country, walk-in pantries and butler's pantries have become increasingly common. But all of that valuable storage space can be difficult to keep organized. Sure, having a designated shelf for small appliances is easy to maintain, but when you're managing a household's worth of food, chaos can ensue pretty quickly.

The best walk-in pantry organization ideas still allow you to function normally in your kitchen and pantry while also helping to streamline your daily routine. Think about keeping your children's snacks at their level and seasonal items up high. The most visibility and space should be allotted to items you reach for every day, which will look different for everyone. Remember, a great organizational method is only as good as its ability to be maintained. There's nothing beneficial about a system you have to reboot every six weeks. Whether you're focused on better storing your bakeware and dishes or your dry goods and snack foods, we have you covered.

To spark your organization inspiration, we've gathered the 14 best walk-in pantry organization ideas. From open shelving and like-item sorting to installing cabinet fronts on appliances and utilizing baskets instead of plastic containers, keep reading for the best walk-in pantry organization ideas.

Keep clutter in check with these organization tips:

Repurpose Antiques

A walk-in pantry doesn't have to be full of expensive built-ins or secondary full-size appliances. Take a note from designer Christina Salway, founder of ElevenTwoEleven Design, and use an antique cabinet instead. This one houses everything that Salway can't fit in her kitchen, from extra serving pieces to overflow produce.

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Erin Little

Make Use of a Small Island

Whether you need to test out table setting designs or place food in their serving containers, a small island within your walk-in pantry can change the way you work. This can also help you stay organized if you choose an option with extra drawers or cabinets for those overflowing shelves.

Related: Are Kitchen Islands Over?

what is a butlers pantry
Jose Picayo

Opt for Lower-Level Baskets

Open shelving is great for knowing what you have, but little items like napkins, snack bags, and bottle stoppers can be difficult to store neatly without a container. Instead, use storage baskets to keep all those miscellaneous belongings in check. Plus, keeping them down low allows your prime shelves to remain open for more everyday necessities.

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a kitchen with shelves full of dishes
Joe Schmelzer

Keep Essentials Accessible

There aren't any rules when it comes to organization as long as it works for you. And if closed storage makes it difficult for you to know what you have, remove the doors. This pantry foregoes lower cabinet doors in favor of more visible serving buckets.

Related: The Best Kitchen Cabinet Ideas

John Merkl

Leave Room for Discovery

In House Beautiful's 2022 Whole Home, the sprawling scullery and pantry features a designated wine room—all designed by Whittney Parkinson. Two wine fridges ensure every type gets their own shelf, while ample glassware, and a brass backsplash create a chic hideaway to discover your new favorite blend.

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wine room inspired by an original may morris design, this morris co wallpaper showcases birds and flower heads in a fruit tree, adding whimsy to a very adult space two signature kitchen suite wine columns complete with two drawers to store cocktail plates and napkins, offset the fran co brass serving area paint hague blue, farrow ball
Rustic White Photography

Keep Favorites Close By

The pantry in House Beautiful's 2022 Whole Home is expansive, but when making your morning cup of coffee or bowl of cereal, you don't want to rummage through cabinets for those dishes. Instead, take inspiration from designer Whittney Parkinson and opt to store your favorite mugs and even Moscow Mule cups prominently on display.

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stocked shelves across from the scullery, a walk in pantry keeps small appliances and kitchenware from wayfair within reach fixed lower shelves are paneled with caesarstone, while upper shelves are adjustable
Rustic White Photography

Group Like Items

Sure, even the biggest baking enthusiast may not have 12 cake tins, but this pantry demonstrates the importance of grouping like items together. In the same way you store your shoes in pairs, your pantry should function similarly. Keep baking tools in one corner, small appliances in the other, and ensure all dry goods are in the same area. This ensures you'll be able to find exactly what you need with ease.

Related: The Gifts to Buy the Baking Enthusiast in Your Life

a white shelving unit with various kitchen items
Aubrie Pick

Streamline Your Countertops

The saying “clear surface, clear mind” can also apply to your pantries. If you're walking into a cluttered room, you can quickly become distracted and forget why you even walked in there in the first place. Instead, keep counters clear and use them as a home for your most-used appliances or essentials only.

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house beautiful whole home 2023 1906 hinsdale\, illinois house

Use Clear Canisters

Decanting foods and ingredients into more aesthetically pleasing containers is all the rage on organization social media, but we have a tip: use clear containers. This way, you'll know exactly what you're grabbing, and you can see when you're running low and need to add all-purpose flour or coffee grounds back to your grocery list.

Related: The Best Food Storage Containers

house beautiful whole home 2023 1906 hinsdale\, illinois house

Install Lower Cabinets

Oftentimes, pantries only feature shelving for storage. But for those using their walk-in space as more of a prep zone or butler's pantry, simple shelving isn't going to cut it. Take a note from House Beautiful's 2021 Whole Home and install full cabinetry as well.

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dirty pantry situated behind the main kitchen, this space houses a second dishwasher, undercounter microwave, wall oven, and countertop to ceiling custom shelving wood countertop and shelves grothouse appliances signature kitchen suite fixtures elkay lighting circa lighting paint farrow ball wallpaper stroheim floors acme brick storage containers and tableware walmart
Stephen Karlisch

Use Every Square Inch

Rather than fill in the sides of this drawer built-in, Lynn Kloythanomsup of Landed Interiors & Homes opted to further maximize the space by turning the bite-sized area into wine shelving. Even the smallest of walk-in pantries can be functional if you're clever about storage.

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walk in pantry spices, dishware, and even a selection of wines are on display just steps from the main kitchen
Haris Kenjar

Label Everything

Baskets and storage containers are only beneficial if you can remember what's stored in them. In this pantry by designer Meta Coleman, chic labels are used on everything to take the guesswork away. And if the basket needs a new use, simply swap the label.

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california kitchen designed by meta coleman
Chaunte Vaughn - Hearst Owned

Don't Overfill

If you have the space, the best organization tip is to have a designated zone for every type of thing. On a smaller scale, that could mean a silverware drawer, a shelf for mugs, and a basket for granola bars. But designer Tina Ramchandani chose to go big instead. This under-the-stairs bar pantry sorts its contents by type of alcohol, and the shelves are only one layer deep to keep everything visible.

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georgetown\, washington\, dc home designed by tina ramchandani creative wine cellar
Jacob Snavely

Sort by Occasion

If you're big into entertaining, organize your walk-in pantry by occasion or event. A cabinet with picnic essentials, dinner party garb, or even birthday party fare can mean a one-stop shop for you when it comes time to set up and prep.

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painter elizabeth stern's nashville ranch home designed by liz bonesio interiors butler pantry

Keep Everyday Items at Eye Level

The quickest way to find something you need is to keep it within your sight line. This means you should store your most often-used pantry items (like this home's KitchenAid mixer and favorite cookbooks) at eye level.

Related: Our 55 Favorite Colors to Paint Your Kitchen

pantry shelves
Stephen Karlisch

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