Pocket worthyStories to fuel your mind

8 Pantry Organization DIY Ideas for Every Storage Struggle

Build your dream shelves from scratch.


Read when you’ve got time to spare.

cans organized vertically

Photo courtesy of Ana White

Your pantry might not seem like one of the most personal places, but few spots give quite a window into your daily life. The staples you always have on hand, the treats that you keep tucked away for when the mood strikes, and the tools you collect to maintain order in the rest of your space are reflective of the way you inhabit your home. And that’s why, sometimes, a cookie-cutter system may not work for you—a pantry organization DIY might be necessary.

Whether you have a massive collection of dry goods that you use to keep up your baking habit or you’re struggling to make the most out of an oddly shaped pantry closet, the custom route can help you find the best storage solutions for your space and for all the things you want to keep tidy and in easy reach. These pantry organization DIY ideas will keep your stash sorted.

Make Your Space Out of Nothing

a neatly organized pantry space

Photography by Amy Carroll; Design by Sarah Sherman Samuel

Admittedly, Sarah Sherman Samuel wasn’t working with nothing when she decided to make her dream pantry—she was working with a bathroom. With the help of California Closets, she gutted the room and turned it into a space where she could fit her bulk goods, serveware, and even her fridge. If a custom job isn’t in the cards, never underestimate the power of an IKEA wardrobe system.

Add Shelves That Work for You

a neatly organized pantry space

Courtesy of A Beautiful Mess

Closet pantries pose a particular challenge, especially when their proportions are wonky. So to make the most of her super-narrow, super-deep storage space, Elsie Larson of A Beautiful Mess installed pull-out shelves, which means every single item can be accounted for—not lost at the back of a drawer.

Print Labels

a neatly organized pantry space

Courtesy of Collective Gen

The simplest pantry organization DIY in the book has a pretty major impact—decant all your dried goods into uniform, clear jars and mark them with consistent labels. Geneva Vanderzeil shows how it’s done here—no overthinking it.

Construct Your Perfect Shelves

a neatly organized pantry space

Courtesy of Home on Poplar Creek

Nicole Reid’s pantry originally had wire shelves that just weren’t getting the job done—so she designed her own shelving system. By being extra-diligent with wood filler, caulk, and Behr New House White paint, she made her MDF and pine-board creation look like a professional built-in job.

Go Fuss-Free With Containers

a neatly organized pantry space

Photography by Rosie Birkett

When storage is the name of the game, you want to use bins that actually fit everything you need to contain—which is why Rosie Birkett chose ice cream tubs (labeled neatly with printed stickers) to keep her renovated pantry tidy.

Use a Chalk Pen

a neatly organized pantry space

Photography by AnnaMaria Zunino Noellert

Want an even easier labeling system? Buy a chalk pen and write on jars, painter’s tape—anything. If you end up changing things, you can simply erase and rewrite. Go the extra mile like Ellen Marie Bennett did here and label your turntables. 

File Away Cans

a neatly organized pantry space

Photo by Ana White

Ana White’s wall-mounted can organizer is perfect for big families (or those who simply like to have all the ingredients for their favorite three-bean chili in stock at all times). If you have a spare wall, this DIY project makes good use of otherwise empty space.

Skirt the Issue

a neatly organized pantry space

Photography and Design by Studio Laloc

Unsightly plumbing (or bulk-buy overflow) doesn’t have to mess up the vibe of your beautifully organized pantry, as this scullery renovation by Studio Laloc proves: A simple fabric curtain is both decorative and functional.

How was it? Save stories you love and never lose them.

Logo for Domino

This post originally appeared on Domino and was published July 22, 2020. This article is republished here with permission.

For hands-on renovation advice and before-and-after transformations, sign up for Domino's weekly newsletter.

Get Domino's Reno newsletter