Whether it’s a spacious, dedicated room or just a couple of cabinets, a well-organized pantry makes any kitchen work better. We asked Luisa Lauriola and Jen Rowe, professional organizers at
Neat Method, about creating and maintaining great-looking, functional pantries. Scroll down!
H&H: What’s most important for an organized pantry?
Jen Rowe: Creating categories for your items and deciding where they will go are the keys. This helps in a few ways: it gives a defined spot for things to be stored and returned to, and it prevents overbuying because you can see what you have. Additionally, labelling your containers will help you find things, and it will encourage the maintenance of the space.
Photographer: Maxime Desbiens
Source: House & Home January 2020
Designer: Ashley Shaanan
H&H: What mistakes do people make?
Luisa Lauriola: I think the biggest mistake people make in their pantry is not creating defined zones. Without them, items tend to gradually creep from where you originally position them. It can be very daunting to look in a cupboard and see shelves and shelves. If you can visualize how to break up those shelves, with organizational products like canisters and baskets, any space can function well.
Photographer: Alison Mazurek
Source: House & Home September 2020
Designer: Alison Mazurek
H&H: How do I get started?
JR: Our first step in organizing any space is to take out absolutely everything. As you do this, edit out items that have expired or that you know you’ll never use again. Start grouping similar items in categories, and when you’re done, you’ll get a sense of how much space each category will need.
Photographer: Courtesy of deVOL Kitchens
Designer: Chris Graves, Clarence & Graves
H&H: Can any storage space — cabinets, closets, drawers — act as a pantry?
JR: Absolutely. Every home is unique. In an urban setting, a pantry might only be the size of a small cupboard. In that case, try to limit what you store to items used on a daily basis and look at freeing up space elsewhere for “backstock” supplies that you can use to replenish those. The size of the space may also dictate just how niche you get with your categories. In a larger space, you might have room to store pastas separately from rice and other grains but, in a smaller home, you might only be able to accommodate one bin categorized as “dinner prep.”
Photographer: Angus Fergusson
Source: House & Home October 2017
Designer: Alison Milne
H&H: What are your tips for maintaining an organized pantry?
LL: Consult your pantry before you make your grocery list to prevent overbuying. Set limits on how much of a given ingredient you keep on hand — limit it to the size of the container you’ve allocated for storing that ingredient. Use labels to ensure that everyone returns items to their correct spot.
Photographer: Kim Jeffery
Source: House & Home May 2019
Designer: Cameron MacNeil
H&H: What are the products that help keep a pantry looking neat and functional?
LL: Anything you can do to reduce visual clutter is going to keep a pantry looking good and working well. Consider decanting some items out of their busy-looking packages into matching canisters or concealing items in their original packages within opaque bins. Additionally, storing items on turntables or tiered risers will make it easier to find items that are further back on a shelf — no more shuffling things around.
Photographer: Janet Kimber
Source: House & Home May 2021
Designer: Jonathan Legate
A two-tiered lazy Susan allows you to access ingredients in a tight space.
Source: Canadian Tire
2-Tier Turntable by The Home Edit by iDesign, $25,
Labels mean you’ll never confuse salt and sugar, plus it helps your family know where things belong.
Source: Neat Method
Pantry Label Set, $57,
Decanting pantry basics into clear canisters creates a unified look.
Source: Neat Method
Canisters, from $15 each,
The open weave of this metal basket means you can see what it’s holding.
Source: Crate and Barrel
Dual-Handle Storage Basket in Tosca White by Yamazaki, $55,
Adding steps to your shelves lets you see everything in your pantry.
Source: Canadian Tire
3-Tier Expandable Shelf by The Home Edit by iDesign, $30,