The modern-day kitchen has evolved from being a utilitarian space for cooking meals to becoming a place where people gather. This is especially true in homes with flow-through or open concept floor plans where the living room and kitchen are nearly melded together as one.

Of course, with more people nearby and the size of the modern-day kitchen shrinking, storage can be an issue. This can be particularly frustrating if you have a limited amount of square footage in your pantry, or your pantry is little more than a tall cupboard space

Fortunately, there are a lot of great pantry organization ideas that can help maximize your storage space, and possibly free up some precious square inches on your kitchen countertops.

Pantry Shelf Organization Tips

There are a few different ways to maximize the available storage space on your pantry shelves. This includes making the most out of your vertical and horizontal shelving space with some of the following features.

Adjustable Shelves

Vertical space is one of the most wasted in things in a pantry or canned food cupboard. Adjustable shelves let you reduce the height between each shelf. Depending on the characteristics of your pantry, you might even be able to get an extra shelf or two in it for even more non-perishable food storage.

There are rail systems with shelving clips and dowel systems that are relatively inexpensive. Depending on how handy you are, you might be able to install them yourself.

Shelf Dividers

When you reduce the height between each shelf, you run the risk of losing track of things in the less visible rear of the shelf. This is especially problematic with canned goods that tend to migrate off to the side when new cans are pushed in from the front. By incorporating dividers into each shelf you can concentrate similar items together to keep them from migrating in the back. It also makes it easier to maximize the horizontal storage space on your shelves.

Shelf dividers are relatively inexpensive. Some are little more than repurposed book stops for shallow shelves. Though for a deep pantry shelf, you will want to use longer dividers to keep canned goods and other non-perishable items in the rear from intermingling.

Bins For Loose Items

Here again, when thoughtfully employed bin systems can make it easy to keep similar items together. It’s especially handy for things like storing medium jars of seasonings that are too large for the kitchen spice rack, as well as other small non-perishable items like jars of bouillon cubes and tea bags.

Under The Shelf Baskets

If your pantry has static shelves that are firmly attached in place, adjustable shelves might not be an easy option. Rather than going through a full pantry remodel, you might be able to save a lot of time and money by mounting sliding baskets under the shelves.

These are simple drawer rails that you screw firmly into the bottom of a shelf with a lot of wasted vertical space beneath it. A wire basket then slides onto the rails to hold loose and other lightweight items. The wire basket is better than a traditional drawer as it lets you see what’s in it, and ultimately puts less load on the shelf it’s mounted under.

Pantry Door Storage Ideas

The backside of the pantry door is one of the lesser-used and lesser thought-of storage spaces in a kitchen. If you take out a measuring tape, chances are you will find there is a fair amount of space between the backside of the pantry door and the front edge of the shelves.

Velcro Strips

They are very relatively inexpensive and come with strong adhesive on the back of each side. You simply attach the fuzzy “Hook” side to the pantry or cabinet door and then attach the scratchy “Loop” side to the lightweight item you want to attach. This is a great way to store things like spice containers, and boxes of teabags. When the container gets empty you can simply refill it to keep from replacing the hook side of the Velcro.

Magnetic Strips

This borrows the same concept as the Velcro strips, except for ferrous metallic items and kitchen tools. You can find some relatively strong magnetic strips in your average box hardware store. Then you screw it or attach it with a polymer contact adhesive strip. This is a great way to store away things like seldom used specialty knives, excess cutlery, and small metal kitchen tools to free up space in main kitchen storage.

Overhead Pantry Storage Hooks

If you are blessed with a veritable walk-in pantry, then you shouldn’t underestimate the overhead storage potential. Heavy-duty hooks can be fastened directly into the ceiling studs and rafters. Though this might interfere with the overhead lighting in your pantry. If so, then you can use heavy-duty drywall anchors to distribute the load.

This could give you enough capacity to hang bags of onions and garlic or specialty pans. This might help you get some more space in the kitchen itself cupboards or at least keep lesser-used items off the pantry’s crowded shelves.

You can also attach hooks onto the face or trim of upper shelves for net bags. This is another great place to hang things like onions, garlic, and other loose items. While a hook with a wood screw will be firm, it will also permanently alter the wood.

For a less permanent, and more versatile solution, you might want to try contact adhesive hooks. Some of the stout ones can hold over 20 pounds. When want to change the location they usually disconnect with ease.

Stackable Heavy-Duty Totes For Bulk Storage

Buying non-perishable items and semi-perishable foods in bulk are increasingly popular. This includes things like big bags of rice, beans, and flour, as well as canned soups or boxed dinners. Being able to keep them sealed away, yet still close enough at hand to refill kitchen containers is handy.

Rather than storing them on shelves where they can spill or gather dust, consider storing them in heavy-duty tote bins. They can be sealed for extended freshness on semi-perishable goods, and stacked to minimize their basic footprint. Just make sure you clearly label them on the outside to make it easy to find what you want at a glance.