There are three words in the English language that I love: Puppy, Cubbie and Pantry. I think the first two are universal favorites. I’m just weird about the last one. There’s something about the word that conjures up a place filled with bottles and jars like this…
I bought this book just because of the purdy pics.
But let’s face it, few of us have real, honest to goodness pantries that are worthy of the name. At best, we might have to make due with a cabinet (or cupboard as some like to say…guess that’s a regional thing?) in the kitchen. Maybe, like it was in our recent home of 26 years, you have to store food in different areas. I had some in the ‘laundry room’, some on shallow shelves leading to the utility room, some behind the doors in the laundry room and some rarely used kitchen items in cabinets in the office off the kitchen. I guess it was that not-so-perfect situation that led me to write this post shortly after I started blogging.
Pantries are one of the busiest spots in your house, and if yours makes you cringe every time you look at it, it’s time to take a stand and get things in order. It’s a relatively painless process and one you can tackle in a day or two at most. Here goes.
Start by taking everything out of your pantry and wiping down the shelves. Just doing this one thing will make you feel better. I promise.
Start throwing things away. If you haven’t used it in a year, it’s out. If it’s past its expiration date, it’s out.
Make your space work
The best pantries are ones in which you can see everything at a glance. My favorite ‘pantry’ area in our recent home was the shallow shelves I mentioned. I had Fisherman put up four simple 2×4 shelves around 8′ long. This is where I stored most of our canned goods, pasta, jellies, etc. It was too shallow to store more than one item back to back, which made it super easy to find everything. Riser shelves and Lazy Susan’s situated in the corners will increase your available space and are worthwhile investments.
First in, First Out
You know how when you go to the supermarket the items in the front are usually the oldest? Use that same principle. Make sure when you buy that can of tomato sauce, it goes behind the one already there.
It’s All About You
Our needs aren’t your needs and vice versa. I prefer to organize my pantry by ‘type’, i.e., pasta items together, asian ingredients together, etc. You might prefer to change things up and store items by their purpose or family member. Figure out what works best for your and your family.
Here’s some pics so you can get ‘Pantry Envy’
Recessed closets are always a space saver. Use this idea in your home every chance you get.
Isn’t this a dream?!
If you positively, absolutely don’t have a ‘proper’ pantry, use ready made shelves and install curtains to hide the visual clutter.
For small items, you can purchase shelves like these for behind the door. Another idea which I’m sure you’ve seen is using clear over the door shoe holders. Works great for small items that might otherwise get lost.
Here’s a couple of pics of what we’re using as a pantry these days in our rental. It’s one of those large, white particleboard cabinets you can find at stores like Home Depot. Just look for the cheapest cabinets available, and you’ll be directed right to them .
We use the top shelf (with the help of a riser) to store tupperware. When needed, I’ve used some containers to keep similar items together.
Yup, I love coconut enough to give it a tray of its own .
I can’t say this enough…if you’re not using the back of your door to store things, you’re missing out. When the door is open, which is pretty much all the time, it’s not ‘visual clutter’ and is completely hidden.
Photos Sourced: bhg
Do you have a pantry? Is it big enough for your needs? We’re going to be redoing the pantry at our weekend cabin and I’d love to hear your suggestions and ideas!