You walk into a model home, open the pantry door and you can just imagine how orderly your canned goods, snacks and other items would look on the pantry shelves.
And then you go home and see just how crowded your current pantry is — ugh!
There is hope, though. You could — of course — buy a new home with that pristine pantry and all that comes with it. Or you could make a few smart purchases and devote an afternoon to perfecting your pantry. Either way, you’ll be happy you did!
So whether you’re starting with a brand new pantry or taking everything out of the old one and starting fresh, here are some tips to get you going:
After you’ve taken everything out of your pantry and given it a good scrub (unless you’re lucky enough to be moving into a new home in Marvida), sort your items. Your very first criteria is to see if an item is out-of-date, which can be very likely for items stuck way back into a pantry corner. Then put like items together — snacks, baking items, canned goods, vinegars and oils, grains, etc. When you put your food items back into the pantry, put the newest in the back and the oldest up front to make sure you use items before they expire.
Before you can start loading up the pantry shelves, you’ll want to plan out your pantry if you haven’t done that already. Decide which items are likely to be accessed by little hands and which you definitely want to stay away from the kiddos. If you’re a big baker, you’ll want flour, baking soda, sugar, baking powder and other necessities readily available. Bake only during the holidays? Devote that prime pantry real estate to something you use on a more regular basis. Also consider putting little-used appliances on the hard-to-reach top shelves, although you may want to keep the heaviest appliances on the floor — we’re talking to you, KitchenAid stand mixer!
After you have your pantry planned out, consider what kinds of containers you’d like to use. Containers do more than just flavor your pantry with style, they are also functional. Instead of unwieldly boxes, open baskets can store snacks. And unless you use a lot of flour on a regular basis, you don’t want to keep them in their original containers. Why? Two words — flour beetles.
A few tips on containers — make sure the ones for flour and other items you might measure have openings that are wide enough for a measuring spoon. You’ll, of course, want clear containers so you can see what’s inside. And make the containers stackable. Do still consider adding labels, however, if only to put the expiration date on the label.
For the items you aren’t putting in a container, consider purchasing tiered shelves so you can easily see everything you’re storing. Another solution would be to use a pull-out wire shelf or to even turn your shelves into drawers. Nothing will ever get lost in a corner if you use lazy Susans in your pantry — an easy solution for bottles of vinegar, oils and other liquids. And while this isn’t technically a shelf, you can add hanging storage to the back of your pantry door to further expand your storage capabilities.
A Final Pantry Point
If you do happen to be purchasing a new home — hopefully in Marvida! — talk to your builder about customizing your pantry. Storing a large bag of dog food? Perhaps a shelf can be raised to accommodate the bag. Going to place heavy appliances on a shelf? See if it can be reinforced or maybe even extended a little. An advantage to building a home is you can have your pantry constructed exactly the way you want!