Pantry Storage Mistakes & How to Solve Them


Are you making these mistakes in your pantry? You’ll find more room than ever before if you fix these common things that are wasting time and kitchen space.

Which pantry storage mistakes are you making in your kitchen pantry? Don’t worry, they are all super easy to fix, and soon you’ll have the most organized pantry of your life.

How to solve all of your pantry storage mistakes

Wondering where to begin? Get our FREE guide, The 30-Minute Organizing Secret, and discover easy ways to overcome the chaos of clutter – even with kids at home!

Pantry Storage Mistakes

Everyone makes at least one of these 9 mistakes. Which are you guilty of? Tackling these mistakes will turn your pantry into a beautiful, organized, amazing place. You’ll be able to finally find everything you need. And you won’t waste money throwing away food you never ate.

But I don’t even have a pantry!

Even if you store your food in a kitchen cabinet or a shelf, these mistakes could still apply to you. Most of the things on this list have to do with how you store your food.

Read on – there are even solutions for each blunder too. So even if you don’t struggle with anything on the list, maybe you can learn a few tips and tricks about food storage.

Mistake #1. Keeping Expired Foods

It happens. That food at the back of the pile sits there, unused. Then when you reach for it, you realize the food expired.

Keeping expired foods in your cabinet or pantry not only takes up valuable space, but it costs money.

Did you know even spices expire? Yup! Might be time to get your spice rack organized and see if that one spice you used for that one recipe last year is still any good. Honestly, spices don’t actually “go bad” they just become extremely bland. In fact, Eat By Date has a really thorough post explaining all of this.

Solution: Create A Schedule To Remove Old Food

How often do you go through your pantry and throw out expired foods? Try to do it once a month. Just sort through everything and make sure you are only keeping food that is within its “best by” date.

Then, set yourself up for success next time by keeping an inventory of your pantry. It’s easy to do with the Clutter Keeper Meal Planner. This printable bundle includes a sheet where you can write down what’s in your fridge, freezer, and pantry, along with when it expires!

Kitchen ideas for a perfectly organized pantry

Mistake #2. Not Using Pantry Storage Containers

What are you using to store your rice, beans, cereal, and other dry goods? While just putting the food away in their original packaging might save you time in the moment, there are lots of time-wasters that are happening if you do this.

Paper or plastic packaging can rip, leaving behind bits of food on your shelves. It’s also more difficult to see if you need to restock your food when you can’t see how much is left.

Plus, trying to stack plastic bags on top of each other is just a mess waiting to happen.

Solution: Buy clear containers

It is amazing how much of a difference it makes when you store food in clear plastic or glass containers. Everything is so much more organized. You can see exactly how much of a certain food you have left.

Plus, you can make pretty labels for the containers. Soon, you’ll have a Pinterest-worthy pantry!

A bonus benefit of containers? It keeps pests out of your food. (Not that you have any problems with that – but you never know!)

Food that can be stored in containers include:

  • Cereal
  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Pasta

For visual inspiration, check out the images of beautiful pantries on Country Living.

Mistake #3. Sticky Shelves

There are so many types of foods that spill or leak and leave stickiness behind. And while a sticky shelf really doesn’t have much to do with organization, it can really affect how your shelves look, and how many pests it might attract.

Solution: Wash Out Shelves Once A Month

Set a calendar reminder or put it in your cleaning rotation – wipe down your pantry shelves at least once a month. While you are doing this, clean off the syrup containers and anything else that is sticky.

Not only will this give you a cleaner storage space, but you might find forgotten foods and throw them out.

Pantry storage ideas using containers, baskets, and bins

Mistake #4. Keeping Stuff That’s Not Food in The Pantry

Do you find random boxes of lightbulbs next to your cereal? When you live in a house that doesn’t have very many cabinets, this happens.

Keeping the extra napkins or extra soap in your pantry isn’t the problem. It becomes an issue when everything is haphazardly strewn about. This chaos costs you time and money. You are less likely to find what you need and at that point it’s just easier to buy it again than to find it.

Solution: Find A Place For Everything to Belong

First, answer this: why are non-food things in your pantry? If you have somewhere else you can store them, then do it. Keeping only food in the pantry will speed up food prep time.

If the pantry is the only place you can store your paper towels and extra kitchen things, then try to store all of these things in a labeled bin or basket. Keep them as separate from food as you can.

Mistake #5. Not Having A Pantry Storage System In Place

This is a very common thing in pantries. You get home from grocery shopping and just put the food on the shelves as quickly as possible. So the vinegar is mixed in with the noodles and the canned foods are stacked among the cereal and flour.

Solution: Store Things In Groups

Cut food prep time down by organizing your pantry. Place the canned foods together. Bottles go together.

The goal is to be able to find what you need in under 30 seconds. Plus, having organized food shelves is helpful for anyone that wants to cook for you. If it’s organized, anyone can find the ingredients, not just you.

Mistake #6. Not Rotating Foods

Picture this: a can of lima beans sits in the back of the pantry. Then you buy more lima beans and stack them in front of the older one. You keep grabbing the newest cans first. Eventually, you risk throwing away the old can because it expired.

Solution: Create A Rotating System

Try to use the older cans first. There are lots of DIY ideas out there. In fact, you can make one for just under $100 if you follow this tutorial:

Or you can always just put your new food away behind the food that is already there. Whichever solution you find, you will save time and money if you prevent food waste.

Mistake #7. Buying Food You Don’t Eat

This happens so often. You see a recipe you can’t wait to try and make, but then run out of time. Or you buy food you hope you’ll begin eating…and then don’t.

Not only does buying food you don’t eat waste money, but it takes up valuable pantry space.

Solution: Plan Meals You Know Everyone Will Eat

There are lots of solutions for this problem. Maybe you can save your recipe experimentation for the days when you know you’ll have time to make them.

If you see food sitting unused, search online for recipes that include those ingredients. Make it a goal to either use the food in your pantry or donate the food you won’t eat.

Simple food storage solutions - even if you don't have a pantry

Mistake #8. Buying More Than You’ll Eat

Buying food in bulk and saving money is honestly very smart. But stop and take inventory. How much food are you throwing away because you bought more than you could possibly eat?

Solution: Save Room, Menu Plan

When you go grocery shopping, stick to your weekly menu plan. If you want to shop the sales and buy in bulk, plan meals that use the ingredients you buy.

Buying in bulk is such a great money-saving idea. Maybe go in with a friend or family member and split the food in half after you buy it.

Mistake #9. Haphazardly Piling Things On Top Of Each Other

This is an unfortunate side effect of not having very much storage space. You end up shoving bags of things on top of other boxes and bags.

Then, when you reach for something, you have to either take everything out or risk it all falling on top of you.

Solution: Use Baskets or Plastic Bins

Keep everything in organized baskets or plastic bins. Plastic bins are fantastic if you need to stack things.

Then label them so you can find what you need without pulling it down and sifting through it.

Pantry Organization – Easy!

So – which of these pantry storage organization mistakes are you making? Take some of these ideas and transform your pantry and kitchen into an organized place that saves you time and money.

Struggling to get motivated? Sign up to get our FREE guide, The 30-Minute Organizing Secret, and discover easy ways to overcome the chaos of clutter – even with kids at home!

9 pantry solutions to organize your kitchen

Want more kitchen inspiration? 

Check out these helpful articles!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.