Budget Friendly Snack Pantry Ideas for the Entire Family

Tamara | The Thrifty Apartment
by Tamara | The Thrifty Apartment
Easy to Replicate Snack Pantry Ideas on a Budget

Who doesn’t love a good snack? My family and I love a good quality snack – maybe a bit more than I’d like to admit. And with two younger kids, we decided to dedicate a snack pantry in our own home to be able to grab and go quickly. A dedicated snack pantry with a variety of snacks on hand is a must! Check out our simple but effective snack pantry ideas that you can easily replicate.

Why a Snack Pantry?

Our kitchen pantry started as a place we would store food-related items. Then it eventually took on a new form, and we began storing whatever random things we had in the kitchen that didn’t have a designated home. From dry foods to paper towels and linens, there was no real organization in our own space. Our pantry was an unsightly clutter of mess that was completely unorganized. It was a messy black hole that desperately needed a revamp.

before picture of pantry

Snacks are a great way to help curb hunger between meals and are ideal for grabbing on the go. The idea of creating a snack pantry came to us one day when we searched for kids’ snacks throughout the kitchen, and snacks were nowhere to be found. When we did find the snacks, they were either stale, expired, or it was tucked away in some corner cabinet. We kept snacks in various areas of the home, including the kitchen, office, and even the car.

Ultimately, I decided enough was enough, and we needed a change. Our days were hectic – from getting our children ready for school and daycare to work and running our day’s errands. We knew we needed to do better, and a little pantry organization was what our home needed. So, check out the snack organization ideas for our kitchen pantry.

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How to Revamp and Organize Snack Pantry

Step 1: Purge the Pantry

The first thing we did to organize snacks was taking account of all the items in our pantry. Then we immediately removed all the items from the pantry. Everything had to go. So it was tossed, donated, or placed in another kitchen area. The things in particular that were tossed were either stale or expired. Our pantry was finally going to have a fresh start.

Step 2. Create a Grocery List

Creating a grocery list of all items you plan to store in the pantry is vital. Our snack list included all types of snacks for snack time, from sweet and salty snacks to healthy snacks and everything in between. These are all easy go-to snacks that you can grab and go for the kids after school, the gym after work, or your next road trip.

A grocery list also helps to keep you on track and holds you accountable for keeping a close eye on items before they run out or things that you may buy too much of. This allows us not to overbuy specific snacks that we already have and save the extra cost.

Here’s a grocery list of items we keep stocked.

  • Omega Trek Mix or Trail Mix
  • Fruit Cups
  • Dried Fruit ( Mango or Cranberry )
  • Granola Bars or Protein Bars
  • Organic Applesauce Pouches
  • Fruit and Vegetable Pouches
  • Cheese Crackers
  • Peanut Butter Crackers
  • Roasted & Salted Cashews, Almonds, and Peanuts
  • Pretzels
  • Popcorn
  • Juice
  • Chips
  • Cheese Sticks
snack pantry storage bins with labels

The one thing we don’t keep in our snack closet (or even in the household) is candy. According to my taste buds, I have a slight addiction to candy, so it’s best that both candy and I keep our distance. However, some might argue that some of our snacks might as well be candy, but to each’s own.

Step 3: Figure out Storage Needs for Different Snacks

Now that you have a list, it’s time to figure out your storage needs. We considered all the snacks our family typically consumed and categorized them to determine our storage needs to organize snacks properly.

We wanted our pantry to feel open and easily accessible while maximizing our shelf space to accommodate our snack storage ideas. This required taking accurate measurements of all the pantry shelves. From there, we purchased a combination of containers, bins, and different sized baskets in different colors to best fit our favorite snacks and storage needs.

storage bins with labels
Step 4: Start Decanting for Snack Organization

To decant means to remove pantry staples from their original packaging and place them in a different container. Decanting lets you see exactly what you have in your pantry, making snacks easy to find. Taking items out of their packaging and decanting them into organized and streamlined containers is a great way to create a beautiful pantry space with easy access.

We decanted by removing some items in boxes and placing them in storage bins and jars for easier access. Containers are a more durable and efficient way of holding things in a pantry. They also protect against varying temperatures by reducing moisture and maintaining the freshness of the food items.

Step 5: Labeling is Key for Snack Storage

I wanted to be able to grab and go, and adding labels helps with the snack storage. Labeling is a great snack organization idea that makes everything easier to access in the storage space, and it encourages tidiness. Adding labels can also change the entire appearance and functionality of the pantry. I labeled every bin and container – some labels were generic for items I buy every once in a while, and others were specific to things I buy often. For example, I keep a bin for juices in the pantry’s storage space and place any juice I have on hand that week.

before and after snack pantry

And there you have it, an organized snack pantry closet for my semi large family. It’s not a perfect pantry, but it’s our version of a perfectly organized pantry. It looks good and makes our life so much better and more efficient.

Top Tips for Organizing your Pantry

  • Keep healthy snacks on hand for your next snack break – As much snacking as we do, we still ensure that we maintain a healthy lifestyle by incorporating as many healthy snacks as possible for the babies and us. Organize snacks by keeping a list of what each family member likes to snack on and try to find as many healthy versions readily available. The best snacks taste good and are also good for you.
  • Buy small-sized snacks in bulk – We no longer buy large bags of chips because we either never finish the bag or someone forgets to close the bag, and the chips go stale. With small sizes, we can control portions and increase the snack’s shelf life. Even though it might be a bit more expensive to buy things this way, it is much more convenient. We typically shop at Costco or Walmart for the best prices and stock up on all the snacks we need. If you do buy larger chip bags, you can separate them into little snack packs using ziplock snack bags. Ziplock bags helps to keep them fresh.
  • Be honest with yourself – Organizing the snack pantry does not have to be Instagram-worthy or the Home Edit version, which I, too, am obsessed with. The snack pantry just needs to work for you and your family. What’s the point in having something that looks aesthetically beautiful but isn’t functional?
  • Keep everyday snacks at eye level and less frequently used snacks on the bottom shelf. We kept our daughter’s healthy snacks and granola bars at eye level since it was used daily.
  • Make use of the pantry door – You can add an over-the-door organizer or shoe organizers to your pantry door to help create more space in the pantry. The pantry door is often less used, so utilizing shoe organizers or other over-the-door organizers are great organization ideas to help maximize additional storage.
  • Put things where they immediately belong after grocery shopping – Putting things where they belong is the best way to keep your pantry consistently organized.

I hope you found these snack storage ideas helpful. These pantry organization ideas can be applied to any pantry, big or small, oddly shaped or quirky. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money to reorganize your existing storage space, but it can make a world of difference in your daily life. At some point, I hope to switch out the wire shelves and make them wood shelves. Stay tuned for that project.

For more DIY content, check out these Quick and Easy DIY Kitchen Updates You Can Do in One Day and other Easy Home Makeover Ideas You Can Do on a tight budget.

Feel free also to follow me on my social media pages – Pinterest and Instagram or subscribe to my mailing list for other design inspiration and home decor ideas. Good Luck!

Tamara | The Thrifty Apartment
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