Pantries are definitely a great place to get organized! The holidays are coming and it will feel pretty great to swing open the door of your pantry to find exactly what you are looking for. It is also gives you an amazing feeling when you have company over during the holidays, and you can feel proud when anyone goes perusing through your pantry for a snack or to help you cook. Having everything in its place sounds like the type of thing that dreams are made of.
Pictured above is a typical pantry. It is stuffed with all the food necessities and favorite foods of a family. Pantries typically have everything from water bottles to medicines, to pantry staples like cereal and flour. There are lots of items families use and consume, but often they are not things that everyone puts away in the right place. Then, over time, it becomes a continuous game of trying not to knock over the front items when reaching for the items in the far dark corners in the back.
This pantry was a little more challenging because all the contents needed to be cleared out and the old shelf paper removed. Then, once the shelves were all wiped down the new gray shelf liner was put on the shelves. This really cleaned up the look of the pantry, and the new shelf liner also made it easier to wipe down the shelves. But believe me, old contact paper likes to stick, and isn’t easily cleaned up without removing the paint and re-painting. In this pantry it was possible to cover up the bumpy residue with the new shelf liner.
Once all the contents were removed from the pantry, the kitchen looked like it was the dumping ground for a year’s worth of food! I barely had any room on any horizontal surface, and I couldn’t believe how much food I had removed from the pantry and that it had actually fit inside the pantry.
After all the shelves were re-lined with the new gray shelf liner, the fun part began. Fitting it all back into the pantry!! I guess that is why I am a nerd, because that was my favorite part. 🤓 The corners seemed like such wasted space in the prior version of this pantry, so I purchased 4 corner shelves. They worked great for storing rarely used items on the 3 corners, and then on the more utilized corner, the corner shelf housed the supply of seasonings.
In the other 2 corners I used large Lazy Susans. One of the lazy susans became the perfect place for sauces and extra ketchups. The other one housed all of the coconut milks. This made it so that each sauce or milk could be easily reached, and it is now easy to see all the contents of the spinning shelves.
My favorite way to corral cans and dressings is with the tiered expandable shelving. It creates height and also lets you see everything you have at one glance. Another option for this pantry, because of the deep shelves is adding shelf riser behind the tiered shelf to hold more cans right behind the shelves. I did this near the medicines, which I’ll show you later in this post. By using this concept, when the amount of food stored increases, the shelf can easily be added to create more usable space.
For smaller items, like spices, I prefer to use the bamboo expandable shelving. These create stable surfaces for organizing spices and extracts. Another trick is to organize your spices alphabetically or group them according to their use. Here the spices are alphabetized, and then the rubs are grouped together in containers that can easily be pulled out for cooking.
The right side side of this pantry is mostly dedicated to kids’ snacks, food storage and family medicines. On the floor is the long-term food storage, along with bags for shopping, and another basket with lots of bagged popcorn. Cereal and baskets with chips and snacks are on the lowest shelf for easy access for the children. The next shelf up has awesome bamboo stackable containers for different types of snacks. The homeowner loved these so much that 3 more are on order and will fill that entire space soon. A cool metal basket houses all the crackers, while the turn-table next to it holds different drink mixes, shake mix-ins, and spoons. The white wire basket holds paper plates, straws, and cups. Behind that basket is extra cutlery and more cups for replenishing the wire basket as needed.
On the medicine shelf, there are just the most frequently used medicines of the family, along with the thermometer so it can be quickly reached. Behind, on the expandable shelf, are medications the family needs organized and in sight, but not necessarily on a daily basis. Next to the shelf of meds is another container with allergy medications, and on the other side is a first aid basket with easy accessibility. On the top shelf, in two baskets, are the cold medications, and headache medications. Behind those is another basket, stacked under a bamboo shelf, filled with cotton balls and q-tips.
Here are the BEFORE and AFTER side by side photos. Creating organization and different zones for all the things in your pantry can create a calm and peace to your home. This helps you find what you are looking for, and the labels help everyone in the family learn where things are supposed to be. Then, as things are put back, the organization will be better maintained, and life will be a little smoother for your family, at least when accessing the pantry.