How to Organize A Pantry With Deep Shelves [6 Easy-to-Follow Tips]

When you first bought your home, you thought having pantries with deep shelves would be incredibly useful. Since then, you’ve realized that the depth of the shelves allows you to push some food items out of sight and out of mind, often until the food is long since expired. You need to organize your pantry stat, but how? We looked at a variety of sources to gather the best ideas for your pantry!

We recommend the following for organizing a pantry with deep shelves:

  • Group similar items in baskets, such as breakfast foods or dinner foods
  • Put cereal in dispensers if the boxes are too big.
  • Use slim storage bins for oils and similar bottles.
  • Put a lazy susan or two in the pantry for spices and small containers.
  • Get a standing can dispenser for cans.
  • Use stackable bins for other items.

Ahead, we’ll elaborate more on the tips above so your pantry can be it’s neatest and most organized yet. We’ll even talk about how to tackle a massive five-pantry shelf. You’re not going to want to miss it!

A pantry filled with spices and jars cooking ingredient inside, How to Organize a Pantry with Deep Shelves [6 Easy-to-follow Tips]

Tips for Organizing a Pantry with Deep Shelves

Use Baskets for Grouping Similar Items

The problem with deep pantry shelves is that you often end up putting food on top of food. Whichever food is on the bottom can be swiftly forgotten about, which ends up wasting your money.

If you can, devote a shelf or drawer each in your pantry for each meal, such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Barring that, baskets work just as well for this job.

Use baskets constructed of a material that lets you see what’s inside, such as mesh or clear plastic.

These basket organizers from mDesign on Amazon are a great pick. You get three large baskets with your order, and, even better, they stack on top of one another. The metal bars of the baskets make seeing the contents of each quick and easy.

Click to see these on Amazon.

Switch Cereal Boxes to Dispensers

Your pantry shelves may be deep, but they’re not necessarily tall. If you often buy family-sized boxes of cereal for the kids and your spouse (and maybe you too on occasion), jamming these boxes into the shelves doesn’t work.

Cereal dispensers like these from Chef’s Path on Amazon will make pantry organization so much easier. Each cereal dispenser is 135.2 ounces and made of a translucent plastic that’s free of BPAs. You also get eight labels for organizing your Froot Loops from your Frosted Flakes.

The cereal dispensers are airtight too, which is a proven way to keep bugs out of the pantry.

Click to see more on Amazon.

Slim Storage Bins Can Hold Bottles and Jars

The cool, dark place that is your pantry is an ideal spot for bottles and jars. However, that won’t matter if you never use what’s in your bottles because they’re in the back of your deep pantry shelves.

Slim storage bins–and make sure they’re translucent­–can be a great way to organize bottles and jars according to homelife YouTuber ">Shirlee Alicia.

Lazy Susans Organize Smaller Pantry Items

Do you have an assortment of small bottles and containers that hold food items such as sprinkles or spices? If so, then you know what a nightmare it is to keep these tiny containers in your deep pantry. The containers can easily get moved and jammed into the corner of the shelf.

A lazy susan in your cabinet can help with that. This Copco organizer from Amazon is non-stick, so you don’t have to worry about the lazy susan getting pushed around in your cabinet by bigger items. With two tiers, you should be able to fit your most essential spices and similar items.

Click to see more on Amazon.

Use Standing Can Dispensers So Cans Hog up Less Room

Canned food makes for a convenient meal or snack, but when you find a good deal at the grocery store and buy a bunch of canned goods, you may not have room for them all in your cabinet.

Enter the standing can dispenser such as this one from mDesign on Amazon. You can order a four-pack for keeping cans like soup, soda, or other canned foods. For standard-sized cans, you can store seven cans per dispenser.

Click to see more on Amazon.

Get Bins That Stack

Stackable bins will also be a major lifesaver when it comes to organizing your deep-shelved pantry. You might want to arrange the containers in such a way, so all the product labels are facing outward. Also, get clear bins, so you and your family members can see the contents easily.

How Deep Should Pantry Shelves Be?

If you’re thinking of remodeling your kitchen for more pantry space, you may wonder what the optimal pantry shelf depth should be. According to a professional closet designer and builder who spoke to home resource Kitchn, the ideal depth for kitchen pantry shelves is between 16 and 20 inches.

As the shelves get higher, you want to reduce the depth, keeping these shelves no deeper than 12 inches. This way, you don’t have to climb on a stepstool and lean into your pantry to find what you’re looking for on the higher shelves. The food items there will be more accessible.

For added information, the measurements from your kitchen floor to the bottom of the lowest pantry shelf should be around 20 inches, even 24 inches, if you can manage it.

How Far Can a Shelf Span Without Support?

Another consideration for your kitchen pantry project is the shelf span. To determine this, you must know the shelf’s span limit. Not sure what a span limit is? Allow us to explain.

The span limit is the amount of space that the shelving supports can reasonably go. When you accurately calculate the span limit, you can be confident that your deep kitchen pantry shelves can support the weight of the items placed on each shelf.

Not all span limits are the same. Depending on the material used to make your shelf, you may find this limit is more or even less than what you expected. For example, solid lumber shelves would have a larger span limit than plywood and particleboard, as well as glass shelves.

Depending on the material in question for your kitchen pantry shelves, the span limit might be 18 inches at the absolute least, to five feet, and sometimes more, at most.

Do you have other questions about designing a pantry? Make sure you check out this post: Does a Pantry Need Ventilation? [3 Times When the Answer is Yes]

How Do You Organize a Five-Shelf Pantry?

What if you have an utterly huge pantry, such as one that’s five shelves? Each shelf is pretty deep, giving you what seems like endless food organizing possibilities. Yet still, after several months, the pantry has become a mess. What can you do to tidy it back up again?

We recommend following these handy tips:

Start Fresh

Begin by removing everything–and we do mean everything–in all five shelves of your kitchen pantry. Put the food into two categories: that which you want to keep and that which is getting tossed (either because it expired or no one eats it). In this rare moment that the pantry is empty, take the time to clean it inside and out.

Utilize Your Storage Options

The storage options we covered earlier, such as a lazy susan, can dispenser, stackable organizers, and the like are all great for your five-shelf kitchen pantry. Use as many of these organization solutions as necessary.

Create a Food Organization Hierarchy

Perhaps you put the food back in such a way where it’s the oldest food at the bottom and newest on top or vice-versa. Maybe you follow the advice we suggested earlier and use one pantry shelf for each meal and then what remains for snacks. Whatever food organization hierarchy works best for you and your family, commit to keeping the shelves that way going forward.

Check the Shelves Every Week

Your five-shelf kitchen pantry looks the neatest it’s ever been, but it won’t stay that way. As you put new foods in the pantry and old ones come out, it’s essential to take time every week to check what’s in there and reorganize as necessary.


A spacious and deep kitchen pantry is something many homeowners wished they had, but without proper organization, your pantries can quickly become overwhelming. Now that you know how to neaten a deep-shelved pantry, your kitchen will be much less chaotic.

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