Is your pantry so full it's impossible to find that key ingredient for a meal? Do boxes of half-used staples seem to be multiplying within it? Here are five classic signs your pantry is out of control, along with five simple fixes you can implement to save space and your sanity.

Follow These 5 Tips To Organize Your Pantry

1. The Problem: Multiple cans of green beans.

The Solution: If you keep buying the same thing at the store because you can’t remember if you have it or not, you need a way to easily look through your cans with a quick glance. Install tiered shelves or pick up wire stacking racks so that you can avoid knocking cans off the shelf when rummaging for kidney beans for your chili. You can also store spices and canned goods on a lazy Susan and alphabetize them to quickly find what you need.

2. The Problem: Unruly, half-used boxes of pasta.

The Solution: Decant pantry staples like pasta and cereal into clear, air-tight containers so you can see at a glance what you have and how much is left. Create use-case sections within each shelving section by organizing them into categories: a cereal section, pasta section, snack section, bread section and treat section. Within each section, make sure items are grouped and organized. Use small storage bins to corral wrapped items, such as granola bars.

3. The Problem: Bags of baking ingredients piled on top of each other.

The Solution: Use clear plastic bins for ingredients like bags of chocolate chips and small boxes of baking soda. That way, you can easily find what you need. Also, invest in some clear, air-tight storage containers with spouts built in so you can easily pour items such as flour into your mixing bowls. Make sure to label everything with not only the name, but with cooking directions as well, which is especially important for things like rice and quinoa.

4. The Problem: Piles of plasticware teetering precariously at the top of the pantry.

The Solution: Pick up some attractive baskets to store all your reusable plasticware, then place them on the top shelf of the pantry and label clearly. These are items you probably don’t use every day, so putting them out of the way will help contain the clutter. However, easy-to-reach baskets mean you can access them quickly when you do need them.

5. The Problem: Half-eaten bags of chips and half-used loaves of bread everywhere.

The Solution: You need a system for your pantry. Designate each shelf for items based on frequency of use. The simplest formula is this:

  • Upper shelves: Reserve for lightly used items, but keep a small step stool on hand so you can access them easily when needed.
  • Middle shelves/eye level: Designate these for your frequently used items, such as cereals, breads and pasta. Make one shelf a “specialty items” repository and another for “everyday essentials” (such as spices, condiments and olive oil) that you use every time you cook.
  • Bottom shelves/floor: Place larger items here, including large boxes of cereal or extra paper towel rolls. You can also add plastic bins for produce such as potatoes and other root vegetables.

Bonus Tip

Put a small trash can in your pantry. That way, you’re more inclined to ditch expired items or extra packaging, rather than tucking it away and letting it gather dust in a corner.

Clear storage containers, small plastic bins and baskets help you take your pantry from out of control to organized in minutes.

An organized pantry is the key to an organized kitchen and the solution for smooth, easy meal prep. Taking a few minutes to rearrange it and investing in some of these simple storage fixes will make your pantry a pleasing space to work with.

Do you have some easy storage solutions for organizing your pantry? Share them with us in the comments.

Jennifer Tuohy writes from her Charleston, S.C., home, providing tips on how to better organize kitchens, including storage areas. Jennifer’s organizing ideas come in handy for both vacation renters and property owners, in order to provide more enjoyable experiences during vacation home stays. Jennifer writes her storage tips for The Home Depot, which has an extensive selection of products available for review.