How to organize your pantry for Christmas – 8 tips for a stress-free holiday

Turn your pantry into an organized culinary haven for a smooth and enjoyable Christmas

(Image credit: Humphrey Munson / Paul Craig / Annie Sloan / Lanserring)

Christmas can be both a blessing and a curse for food lovers and hosts alike, with so much cooking and baking to be done and food to store, it's often difficult to keep track – however, organizing your pantry for Christmas can reduce all the stress and hassle of seasonal prep.

From ensuring all items have a dedicated and easy-to-access space in your pantry to ensuring no items expire or go forgotten about, having a systematically ordered pantry can really help to get organized for Christmas. This, in turn, can make the whole holiday feel like a breeze, rather than the insurmountable task it can become with a disorganized pantry.

Our experts have shared their top eight tips and ideas for organizing your pantry for Christmas. 

How to organize your pantry for Christmas

Prepping for the holiday season is not just about choosing the perfect ingredients and decorating your home, it's also about getting your kitchen ready for the festivities, and as the cooking and baking hub of any home, your pantry should be the first place to organizing for Christmas, no matter if you are hosting on the day or just wish to stock up on seasonal treats for your family.

1. Declutter and take inventory


(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

'First and foremost, when thinking about pantry organization for the holidays, it's essential to declutter and remove outdated, unused ingredients to make space to stock up on holiday baking and festive meal essentials,' advises Karen Miller, interior designer and owner of the Miller Design Group

This can allow you to take inventory of what you have, helping you plan your Christmas meals and ensuring you don't purchase items you already have.

'Christmas is the perfect time to donate non-perishables to those in need and make space for holiday essentials,' says Muffetta Kruger, founder of Muffetta’s Domestic Assistants

Muffetta Krueger
Muffetta Krueger

Muffetta Krueger is a cleaning expert and founder of Muffetta’s Domestic Assistants with over 16 years of operational management experience in the service industry. Muffetta’s Domestic Assistants provides housekeepers, house cleaners and maids, and is based in New York.

2. Categorize items and create seasonal zones


(Image credit: Humphrey Munson / Paul Craig)

To organize your pantry, dedicate a section of your pantry specifically for Christmas items.

'Arrange items into categories such as baking ingredients, canned goods, snacks, beverages, and festive treats,' recommends Muffetta Kruger. 'This makes it easier to locate items quickly during the holiday rush.'

You can also store your holiday serve ware, seasonal table linens, and Christmas table settings such as crackers and candles in this zone.

Angela Rubin at Hellamaid recommends, 'Designate an area for your baking essentials, such as mixing bowls, measuring cups, and spatulas. Having a dedicated space for these items streamlines holiday baking.' 

'Use spice racks or tiered shelves to organize your spice collection. Alphabetize them or group by cuisine, making it effortless to find the right spices for your holiday recipes.'

You can label shelves based on their function, making it more convenient to access items and ensure other family members store items in the correct place.

Angela Rubin
Angela Rubin

Hellamaid is an award-winning cleaning company in Canada that's been featured on multiple global media brands.

3. Incorporate storage solutions

Chef's kitchen ideas with pantry storage

(Image credit: Tom Howley)

'Opt for airtight containers to preserve the freshness of baking supplies, nuts, and other perishables,' advises Muffetta Kruger. 'Prioritize accessibility by storing frequently used items at eye level and within reach and in manoeuvrable storage options, ensuring easy access while preparing those delightful Christmas recipes.'

Clear storage

Clear storage is the best method to store dry goods items such as Christmas crackers, flour, sugar, grains, or seasonal treats since it means you can locate items at a glance and monitor what you are running low on to avoid needing to run out for last minute ingredients on Christmas eve. This is one item professional organizers always buy for their pantry.

You can opt for stackable containers top maximize the vertical space you have.

Adjustable shelving

Adjustable shelves maximize space utilization, ensuring that you can accommodate taller items. 'Pantry needs can change, especially around the holidays so, if possible, invest in adjustable shelving or expandable shelf risers to accommodate larger items or additional purchases,' Mohammad Ahmed interior Designer and founder of The Home Guidance.

We recommend these KIKIBRO adjustable shelves, from Amazon.

Mohammad Ahmed
Mohammad Ahmed

Mohammad Ahmed is an Interior Designer and Home Expert. He did his bachelors degree in Interior Designing at the University of Minnesota in 2013 and since then has worked as an interior designer in various companies, designing functional and beautiful spaces for clients.  In addition to his interior and exterior design skills, Mohammad is also Home expert with a talent for creating bespoke furniture and other accessories. He has been featured in popular publications such as Forbes, Yahoo, Realtor, Real Homes, Bustle, and Living etc. for his exceptional design tips.

Vertical space

Make the most of your pantry's vertical space. 'Don't forget the back of the pantry door or empty wall spaces. Install hooks, racks, or pegboards to hang aprons, measuring spoons, or even hang Christmas stockings filled with treats,' advises Mohamed Ahmed. 

We recommend this KITCHIFYTARQ over the door pantry organizer, from Amazon, perfect for easy to access items such as spices and cling film.

Install pull out shelves and lazy Susans

You can find removable baskets and lazy Susan's for your pantry to keep items in deep spaces accessible, or to make organizing your pantry for Christmas easier, you can install more permanent options in your pantry cabinets.

Angela Rubin recommends, 'Pull-out drawers or baskets help keep smaller items, like spices, condiments, and baking supplies, organized and accessible.'

4. Create a rotation system

Wooden cabinet

(Image credit: Wood Works Brighton)

To prevent items from getting lost in the back of your pantry or letting them expire, implement a rotation system. Place older products in front and new purchases in the back.

Gretchen Boyd, president of NYC House Cleaners recommends, 'Implant a first in first out system in your pantry in which you can arrange your all products according to their expiration date. 

'For example, you can arrange the product that has a close expiry date first and then put the product that has a far expiry date. By this method, you can easily ensure that there is no expiry product remaining in your pantry.'

You can use can label items with their expiry date and keep items that need to be used sooner than new items on hand with can dispensers, such as this 2 tier can dispenser, from Walmart.

5. Efficient lighting

Kitchen storage made from American walnut with LED lighting

(Image credit: Lanserring)

Good lighting can transform the look and feel of your pantry, making locating items and organizing it easier, meaning you won't miss out on any items. Consider adding motion sensor or LED lights to brighten up the space, making it easier to find what you need during those late-night Christmas baking or cooking sessions.

We recommend these ABCidy motion censored lights, from Amazon. You might also want to add some festive string lights to enhance the seasonal atmosphere.

6. Plan for leftovers

Kitchen pantry

(Image credit: Davonport)

'Designate a specific area for storing leftover ingredients and food to minimize waste and encourage creativity in repurposing holiday leftovers,' suggests Muffetta Kruger.

This can mean you store carefully open items such as sugar, biscuits, crackers, raisins or nuts so they are kept in airtight containers and used up quickly, maintaining an organized space.

7. Create a festive shopping list

Green wall, stain glass window, wooden counter

(Image credit: Buchanan Studio/Alicia Waites)

Muffetta Kruger suggests, 'Designate a section of your pantry to create and maintain a shopping list for holiday essentials. This helps streamline your shopping trips and ensures you have all the necessary ingredients for your festive feasts.'

You can also create a designated section for your Christmas recipes and meal plans to help you stay organized and ensure you have all the necessary ingredients.

8. Decorate your pantry

Christmas pantry

(Image credit: Armac Martin)

Now to add some seasonal flair to your organized pantry.

'Embrace the holiday spirit by adding a touch of Christmas décor to your pantry,' recommends Muffetta Kruger. 'Hang festive tea towels, string up lights, or place small ornaments to infuse the space with cheer.' We love this around the world doors Christmas dish towel, from Anthropologie.


What are good eco-friendly disposable serving ware?

'If you’ll be attending parties and bringing a dish to share this Christmas it's a good time to stock up on disposable and eco-friendly servingware. Store these in their own bin and you’ll be ready to make last-minute gifts anytime,' advises professional organizer and founder of Sara Jane Organizing, Sara Bereika.

We love these ECONLY disposable palm leaf plates forks and knives, from Amazon.

Whether you have a large or small pantry, simply putting some thought into how best to arrange and categorize your pantry items can elevate it as well as the flow of your whole kitchen. 

Lola Houlton
News writer

Lola Houlton is a news writer for Homes & Gardens. She has been writing content for Future PLC for the past six years, in particular Homes & Gardens, Real Homes and GardeningEtc. She writes on a broad range of subjects, including practical household advice, recipe articles, and product reviews, working closely with experts in their fields to cover everything from heating to home organization through to house plants. Lola is a graduate, who completed her degree in Psychology at the University of Sussex. She has also spent some time working at the BBC.