How to Organise an Awkward Pantry Space

By Amy Kennedy, Professional Organiser From The Organising Bee

An awkward pantry space can have a profound effect on the way a kitchen operates and for many families, can be the difference between cooking a meal at home, eating out or ordering in a takeaway meal.

A large, walk-in style pantry is everyone’s dream. However, a large space is not essential to create a functioning and organised pantry. Even the smallest and most awkward of spaces can be practical and functional.

When organising any space for myself or my clients, I have the philosophy that you should be able to reach anything within a space with a single hand. Moreover, you shouldn’t have to move anything to find what you are looking for. This is vitally important with pantries, particularly the smallest and most awkward pantry spaces.

So, here are some tips and tricks for tackling awkward pantry spaces and creating an organised pantry:


Deep pantry cupboards are one of the most common pantry issues that professional organisers come across. Further, they can often be an extremely difficult space to use without blocking the visibility of the back of the cupboard.

However, these awkward spaces can be very easily be converted into a highly functioning pantry space with the use of some clever and inexpensive pantry organisers.

  • In a narrow pantry, avoid placing items directly onto the shelf, rather use baskets or other organisers to group like items together. This enables you to move the basket from the pantry to the kitchen bench to help you find the items more easily.

  • Try a combination of expandable pantry shelf helpers, pull-out or undershelf baskets. The objective is to maximise the storage space whilst providing the ability to see and reach everything. Generally, you should be able to remove each basket without having to move any other basket within the pantry.
  • Choose containers with strong handles and that are appropriate for the weight of the items that you wish to store. Mimi organisers are ideal to store heavy items such as oils, vinegars and other liquids or larger items. Marie storage baskets are ideal for smaller items like seasonings.


Just like a narrow pantry, long deep shelves can also become problematic as it can be very easy to overstock the shelves.

  • A quick and easy solution to reduce the depth of the pantry is to install a narrow shelf along the back wall. You could install a permanent shelf or for an easy alternative, a wire shelf helper.
  • Moreover, combining the additional shelf and smaller baskets on all pantry shelves can create a large tiered shelf. This provides a very convenient and practical way to store your groceries. Further, if you label each basket it should be obvious to anybody who opens your pantry door where each item in the pantry lives.
  • Alternatively, rather than adding baskets to the lower shelf, you could add a smaller 3-tiered stepping shelf to store canned foods. It is important to consider the height of your shelves. Be mindful that placing anything tall in the front half of the pantry will block access to the back of the shelf. Lazy Susan’s are also very effective tools within a wide deep pantry. Seems easy to create an organised pantry right?


Shallow pantries have many benefits. They don’t offer much depth to store a variety of items, however, by design, they naturally prevent us from stacking pantry items in front of other items. Moreover, our food can be lined up neatly next to each other, so you can always see what you have in stock.

  • To make the most out of a shallow pantry, I would recommend the use of clear containers or jars to store dry goods, grains, cereals and snacks.
  • You can attach shelving that can hold spices, sauces or tinned food to the inside of the cupboard door. This can maximise the available storage space whilst ensuring that your pantry items are more visible.
  • With a shallow pantry, you need to be ultra-mindful of the amount of food that you are purchasing. Only purchase what you need for the period in between grocery shops.


A kitchen without a designated pantry can be frustrating. However, any cupboard within a kitchen can be efficiently converted into a pantry.

  • Overhead cupboards are ideal for storing lighter foods like our breakfast cereals and tea/coffee supplies. On the other hand, under bench cupboards are better to store heavier items.
  • Large drawers work well to store cans, dry goods and spices.
  • The fridge can be used to store condiments, spreads, sauces and marinades.
  • Space is a real premium in the kitchen. A butcher’s block or another form of little trolley can provide a good amount of storage space.
  • Consider the use of your wall space. Open shelving for dry goods is not only extremely practical but creates a modern, stylish look.

No matter the size of your pantry, with some clever organisation it can be a functioning and beautiful space.  

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Amy Kennedy

Professional Organiser & Decluttering Expert

The Organising Bee

m: 0477 233 800



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About The Organising Bee

Owned and operated by Professional Home Organiser and Declutter, Amy Kennedy, The Organising Bee are all about the family. We support Canberra families and individuals to minimise clutter in the family home and put in place personalised organising solutions to make daily tasks quicker and easier so that you can have time to enjoy your life and have time to create those special memorable family moments.

The Organising Bee has been awarded the Best of Houzz Award for Service for the past 3 years (2017, 2018 & 2019) and is a Professional Member of the Institute of Professional Organisers (IOPO) and the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO).

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