The pantry is essentially the kitchen’s closet, and is filled with items often used on a daily basis. Keep it from becoming a nonsensical catch-all for wayward kitchen items by giving thought to how it’s organized. Pantry efficiency will lead to a much smoother operating kitchen on all counts.
When getting your pantry in tip-top shape, consider the following:
How should you build your shelves? First of all, make them more shallow than your other kitchen cabinet shelves. The ideal pantry shelves are 6 to 9 inches deep; the shallow space keeps all your items visible and each to reach. To avoid stacking jars, add shorter shelves for small jars or spices. Some pantries have such shallow shelving built into the pantry doors, increasing the surface area of your storage space.
How should you organize your pantry items? Make an inventory of the items you stock most; it will help you keep track of what’s available (keep the pen and paper in the pantry so you’ll always remember to update it). Organize them in a fashion that makes sense to you, whether it’s alphabetically, by associated ingredients, brand name and even color (so when you’re looking for tomato sauce, you know to check the red section). Store heavy items on an easy-to-reach shelf to avoid straining your back, and lighter and non-child-safe items near the top. The most commonly used items should go right in the center.
How can you take advantage of all available space? Install adjustable wire racks underneath shelves, and hang an organizer on the back of the door for spices or smaller items. When you have deep shelves, a lazy Susan will help keep things in order in an easily accessible fashion. Add slide-out baskets or drawers for bulky or bagged items, and removable shelves for flexibility and customization.
What’s the best way to light your pantry? If you’re lucky enough to have a walk-in pantry, adequate lighting is crucial, as you’ll be scouring through an assortment of small items with even smaller descriptions in small text. Install a motion-sensor lighting system that immediately lights you way when you open the pantry door. Be wary of adding windows: dark, dry pantries are better for preserving food.
How can you squeeze in a pantry in a small space? Think about installing a pull-out pantry next to your cooking and prep space. This pantry has a tall door attached to shelving that pulls out like a tall, narrow vertical drawer, often near the oven or stove. It’s not intended for bulky items, but will definitely help keep your spices, oils and other favorite ingredients organized and handy. Pull-out pantries like this also can make use of an awkward space between cabinets that may otherwise go unused.
What are some ways to make your kitchen pantry more visually appealing? Store everything in identical jars or baskets for interest. It will make “shopping” in your cupboard more of a delight.
Check out the following items to help you organize your space and create the perfect food pantry.