Creative pantry tricks can help you improve your cooking and storage areas' functionality and style, without inflating your budget. Organization is the key element of these useful tips, and many will cost you next to nothing and can be done over a weekend as a DIY project. Take a deep breath and dive into these ways you can level up your cooking game by turning your pantry into a useful ally instead of a speed bump.
Storage containers can help organize your pantry, making it easy to find foods and ensure things are used up while they're still good. They can be sturdier than the original packaging, keep out bug and rodent pests who can chew through paper and plastic bags, and usually be stacked for better use of space — all while giving your pantry an appealing look.
Available in various shapes and sizes, containers can hold items from spices, to fruits and vegetables, to cereals.
Pantries with glass containers have a distinct look and will better preserve your food. Glass is available in almost every size and shape and makes it easy to see the contents without taking things off high shelves and cracking them open. The material does not contain harmful contaminates like some plastics, nor does it take on the food’s smell or color.
While glass may cost more upfront, its long life and decorative look provide viable options for future uses. These might be something to skip until your children are older, however, as glass containers are often heavier and can cause injury if dropped.
Although lightweight and unbreakable, plastic containers also preserve food in your pantry, which makes them safer for younger children to handle. They're cheaper than glass and come in a variety of colors, which can help younger cooks identify foods.
Following recommended use and cleaning guidelines can help prevent plastic containers from breaking down, losing their structure, and taking on the smell or colors of the foods. Replacement costs could equal or exceed initial costs for glass containers, however, over an extended period.
The use of portable shelves in your pantry is a cost-effective way to add space without big renovations. Their flexibility enables you to move from the pantry to the kitchen, making them handy during food prep.
Available in a variety of sizes to fit any pantry size, these shelves can hold your spices, baking necessities, or even small appliances like stand mixers. When you're ready to start cooking, pull out the shelf with all the spices and set it next to the stove for easy access and quick clean-up.
Placing labels on containers and shelves allows you to quickly find needed ingredients in a well-stocked pantry. Whether you sort by categories or food types, this simple method can organize your pantry and create an at-a-glance view to find your ingredients.
Using colors that match the food categories can be helpful for younger children learning to identify foods and spices when helping in the kitchen. Labels also help identify which foods are running out and need to be replenished.
For homeowners on a budget who need additional pantry space, several cost-effective options are easy to implement. Have a few feet to spare between the top shelf and the ceiling? Why not add new shelves for one more platform. Keep rarely used items like specialty flours or the small food processor up here.
Installing drawers or bins underneath the existing shelves can also reduce wasted pantry space while preserving most of the original shelf space. If the pantry itself is just too small to fit everything, consider putting some shelves on an open but unused kitchen or hall wall and lining up some of those attractive glass containers.
A step stool or small step ladder is a handy tool to reach those rarely used items on the upper shelves in your pantry. Make sure you choose a stool height that will enable you to reach the top shelves without straining and is also sturdy and easy to climb up and down — remember your hands might be full on the way down.
The size of the ladder also determines where it can be stored. Smaller ladders can be hung on the back of the pantry door for easy access, while larger ladders might need more space.
If you're running out of places to keep your pot and storage container lids, you're definitely not alone. A rack mounted on the back of your pantry door is a simple way to organize those elusive toppers that never seem to be at the front of the drawer when you need them.
Similar to a shoe rack on a closet door, these holders have multiple sections that can accommodate large and small pit lids. Quickly and easily find the right lid to ensure cooking stays fun instead of frustrating.
Although time-consuming, the least expensive way to better utilize your pantry is to organize the contents. This is not a standalone activity and should be done in conjunction with a kitchen reorganization. The process will let you identify frequently and rarely used items and determine whether they need to live in the kitchen, the pantry, or the donation bin.
The seldom-used items can be placed on higher pantry shelves where they are out of the way.
Quick fixes just not cutting it? A myriad of structural renovations can help you expand your pantry. You can extend it into your kitchen or an adjoining room. In two-story homes, you can convert the space under the stairway to significantly increase the square footage of your dry goods storage. Ideally, you'll want contact a professional home builder to pursue this option, especially if you are planning to take out any walls in the process.