How to Create a Functional and Organized Pantry
May 11, 2023

How to Create a Functional and Organized Pantry

A functional and organized pantry maximizes the kitchen space, making it easier to prepare meals by keeping the countertop clutter-free, especially when combined with a Fireclay Farmhouse sink. It's also easier to find items, track when ingredients are running out, and motivate you to cook more. Achieving such a pantry is challenging and requires much effort and planning for ultimate kitchen organization. 

Fortunately, organizing the pantry for better storage space is possible. Here are some helpful pantry organization ideas to create a more functional and usable pantry that works for you and your family with a pantry makeover.

Assess Your Storage Needs

Understanding your storage needs helps determine the storage solutions that will work best for you. Assessing your pantry enables you to determine its purpose and organize it to meet these needs. You can achieve these storage ideas by:

  1. Taking inventory of all the pantry items you have and categorizing the items to eliminate unnecessary duplicate buys and narrow down what you have. 

  2. Measuring the pantry shelves' height and width to maximize space and ensure you have the right organizers, bins, and baskets. 

  3. Analyzing your cooking habits to determine what items should be easily accessible and which ones to store in harder-to-reach areas. 

  4. Deciding on your preferred food storage containers, dividers, and organizers and investing in them.

Once you know your storage needs, you can easily personalize the pantry to meet these needs. 

Pantry Storage Ideas

Optimizing your pantry space helps you make the most efficient use of the available space in a small pantry or a walk-in pantry to store food items, kitchen supplies, and other related items in a way that is organized and easy to access. This can involve different techniques such as:

  1. Use wall space with open shelves, baskets, canisters and clear bins to maximize space: Vertical space is essential for maximizing kitchen storage. You can create it by investing in adjustable shelves that can double the usable space in your pantry by stacking items higher or lower, depending on your specific needs. Baskets and bins are also great for grouping similar items together and keeping them organized.

  2. For extra storage, utilize the back of the pantry door: The back can be a great place to store items like spice racks, snacks, and small kitchen tools on pegboard. Install an over-the-door organizer or hooks to make the most of this space.

  3. Install pull-out drawers or pull out shelves for easy access: Pull-out drawers or shelves are a great way to make it easy to access small items in the back of your pantry. They also help you maximize space by allowing you to stack things vertically.

  4. Group similar items together: When organizing your pantry, group similar items together, such as canned goods, cereal boxes, and condiments, to find them more easily.

Organize, Clean Up and Declutter the Kitchen Pantry

DIY organizing a built-in cluttered pantry can be daunting, but you can create functional and organized storage space when you use these best pantry organization ideas. Use these tips to organize a cluttered pantry:

  1. Remove all items from the pantry to set aside any non-food items that don't belong in the pantry.

  2. Sort the items by grouping them, such as canned goods, cereal boxes, and condiments, so that you can find them more easily. A label maker can help keep things organized.

  3. Discard expired or unused items to free up shelf space and prevent clutter.

  4. Before you put the item back, clean the pantry by sweeping, vacuuming, and washing the floor, walls, and shelves as needed. Consider laying paper or liners to stabilize and protect items.

Practice Proper Storage of Dry Goods

In addition to organizing your pantry storage space, you also want to maintain the quality and safety of your dry goods. You can achieve this by:

Use Airtight Containers

Using airtight containers to avoid exposing dry foods to oxygen prolongs their lifespan. You can choose Tupperware plastic or glass jars for dry foods you cook often and smaller foods like nuts and seeds. The most important thing is to ensure you close the lids properly.  

Keep a Record of Expiration Dates

Keep a handy and readily visible record of the "use by" and "sell by" dates of the foods and their shelf life. This will help you keep track of when to use or discard items and to help with your grocery list. You could use a chalkboard mounted on the inside of the cabinet door to jot down items you need to add to your list.

Store in a Cool, Dry Place

The temperature in your pantry has more to do with how long your well-dried food items last than anything else. Keeping it cool, dry, and well-ventilated is essential, with temperatures between 50°F and 70°F. The cooler, the better. 

Store Canned Goods Properly

Be sure to store your canned foods in a cool, clean, and dry place away from extreme heat or cold to ensure their quality and safety. Extreme temperatures can lead to bacteria growth, affecting the taste and texture of the food.  On the other hand, extremely cold temperatures can cause the metal to contract, leading to problems with the seal. 

Freeze Whole Grain Flour

Keep whole-wheat flour in your fridge or freezer in an airtight container, lasting up to a year. Storing it this way reduces the chemical reactions that cause the natural oils present in the flour to go rancid. This extends the shelf life of the flour by up to one year.

Pantry Organization Ideas

Once you are done assessing, optimizing, and decluttering your pantry, organize it to maximize storage space and make it easier to find and access what you need. Consider using the following ideas:

  • Use color-coded containers to help you easily identify different types of items in your pantry.

  • Group items by frequency of use to help keep the items you use most often within easy reach.

  • Store items in clear containers/storage bins that make it easy to see what's inside and help you avoid buying duplicate items.

  • Add a lazy susan for easy access to items in the back of the pantry without moving everything around. These are a great addition to other kitchen cabinets to reach things in the back.

An organized pantry can make meal planning and preparation more efficient by providing easy access to ingredients and reducing food waste. By using color-coded containers, grouping items by frequency of use, storing items in clear containers, and adding tools like a lazy susan, you can take your pantry to the next level with these organization tips. Start organizing your pantry today and enjoy the many benefits of a more organized and efficient kitchen.

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