It can be unpleasant to open the doors, immediately having a wide assortment of colors and words glaring at you, all begging for your attention. Subconsciously this can be overwhelming. Opt to use clear glass or plastic containers for as many items as possible, holding anything from opened snacks to pantry staples like flour, sugar, etc. This not only adds a natural look and purposeful color scheme, but also makes finding and accessing foods more convenient.
I use the same food storage containers for this as leftovers and meal prep. They’re already safe for the dishwasher, microwave, refrigerator, and freezer so having them in the pantry as well gives continuity throughout the whole kitchen and makes storing them easy since they stack well together.
When it’s not possible to avoid labels, either face them to hide it or face the “prettiest” side (usually the intended front) all the same direction, facing you, to have uniformity.
Free container idea: when something comes in glass or plastic jars see if it’s easy to peel the label off. You can do that to store the product already inside and/or save similar looking containers to reuse. The only issue with this is storing them while unused, as they’re likely bulky and unstack-able. Don’t keep stocking up on containers to reuse if you don’t regularly use them.
Clear storage bins or matching baskets are great to hold individually wrapped snacks, spices, condiments, soups, or other self contained meals together in organized groups. I find it easier to pull a bin out when I need what’s in the back rather than shuffling individual things around. Don’t fret if a bin is a bit longer than the shelf, it actually gives you a little more space!
Free bin idea: loose leaf salad packages are usually clear and can serve the same purpose dividing groups. Downside is, they are more flimsy so taking them out while full could be more difficult.
If you have room, shelf risers or hanging baskets can be used to double the space. At the bottom of our pantry we have ample room, so I have a hanging basket for our pasta and noodle supply above our rice bin. I haven’t needed shelf risers in my pantry, but I do stack canned goods 2-3 high on my “ingredients shelf”.
Free shelf riser idea: if you’re handy you could easily use scrap wood to make a small shelf.
Grouping things together on themed shelves gives flow to a pantry. Just be creative, find a common item or use within a group of items for a shelf theme.
A few theme ideas could be:
- A baking shelf with all the ingredients you use for cakes, breads, cookies…
- A snack shelf, nuts, crackers, chips…
- A breakfast shelf, oatmeal, cereal, granola…
- A drink shelf, soda, protein powder, juice, beer…
The Order of Things
Whether in or out of a bin, place taller items/containers in the back getting shorter as you come forward. When I’m deciding what goes on each shelf I keep frequency of use and convenience in mind. For instance, anything above eye level should be things that aren’t needed as often. Sometimes I factor weight in and keep heavier things on or near the bottom.Tags: Food, Organizing Ideas, Pantry