An organized pantry is a lifesaver for any chef. As you know, the pantry is prone to become a receptacle for half-empty containers, spare plastic bags, and more unnecessary clutter.
Fortunately, there are many ways to organize shelves and cabinets, no matter how small…the trick is to make the most of the space you have.
It doesn’t matter if you have a small corner or an entire kitchen closet to dedicate, make sure there is a place to store canned goods, baking ingredients, and speciality kitchen appliances.
With these pantry organization ideas, you can organize your shelves so that cooking weeknight dinners, putting away groceries, and packing school lunches will be as easy as opening the pantry door.
1. Use “zone” storage
With this method of organizing you can see what food you have, what you need to restock, and where groceries belong.
When you divide your pantry into zones it’s easier to keep food organized and you’ll reduce meal preparation time.
Here’s how to split your pantry into zones.:
- ⬥ Identify food and cooking categories that fit into your lifestyle (such as weeknight dinners, portable lunches, and baking).
- ⬥ Organize each zone separately, with the most frequently used ones in easy reach.
- ⬥ Label each zone to keep it organized. For example, a pantry door organizer might be a great place to store kids’ after-school snacks.
2. Use baskets up high and down low
Whether your pantry is open or closed off, take advantage of vertical space by scattering baskets on high and low shelves.
The baskets should include seasonal items up top (Christmas cookie cutters, for instance) and kid-friendly goodies below.
You can also apply many of these ideas to the rest of your kitchen, so that the organized flow will continue throughout.
3. Switch out shelves for drawers
You can keep your pantry full of food if you use pull-out drawers. No more worries about putting your favorite pasta sauce in the back corner you can’t reach. Just pull out the drawer and it’s dinner in no time!
Organize your drawers by type for more cohesive storage.
4. Put In Drawer Separators
To save bottles, cans, and other pantry things from falling over, invest in drawer organizers. You may need a flexible divider for liquor bottles to keep them from clanking together, but separators are useful for organizing everything in your pantry, really.
5. Label everything
When you organize your space, use containers with leak-proof lids and label them so you know exactly what’s inside. You can stack items on top of each other without worrying that they’ll fall over when you reach for something, and they won’t spill.
5 More Quick Steps for Organizing your Pantry
1. Start with a clean slate
The pantry shouldn’t be a dumping ground for things you don’t know what to do with.
If your pantry is out of order, start by taking everything out. Then, once the shelves have been cleared, take time to clean them.
2. Take an inventory, grouping similar products together
Be on the lookout for expired items, or items you no longer use, and throw them away. Most of us put the newest products in the front of the pantry, which pushes everything else to the back, where it may remain for years.
As you pull everything out, look for items that belong together. Group them into categories such as baking, dinner, and snacks.
When restocking the pantry, keep items that are used together in proximity – pasta and tomato sauce, chips and salsa, flour and sugar – so you will rarely have to go looking for them.
3. Free up space
If your pantry is overstuffed, and you know you won’t be able to fit everything back in, look for things that can be moved elsewhere.
Snacks, coffee and tea should be moved to another cabinet, and pots and pans should be moved out of the pantry, too.
Also, think of adding a feature such as a pot rack to save a lot of space in a cabinet.
4. Adjust the shelves
Although many kitchen cabinets have adjustable shelves, few people rearrange them.
In a new space, shelves are often spaced about a foot apart, which can lead to wasted vertical space. When canned goods are all on the same shelf, there only needs to be six inches between them.
By adjusting the space between shelves you can really maximize the space you have.
There might even be room for an additional shelf or two. Or you can add a wire cabinet shelf that has legs so you can elevate an existing shelf to create an additional level.
If possible, you should avoid stacking products on top of one another. Once you start stacking stuff, things become difficult to access and teeter on top of each other.
5. Place everyday products at eye level.
Keep the items you use most for everyday cooking at eye level when rearranging the pantry.
This is prime real estate and is perfect for things like oils and vinegar. By contrast baking items can live up high because most people don’t bake every day.
If you have children, place their snacks at the bottom of the pantry for them to help themselves.
Often grains, pasta, and rice come in bags that are difficult to stand on their own. Bins can keep such items upright while also preventing them from spilling out when the pantry doors open.
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