Easy ways to decorate and organize this high-traffic area
How many times have you bought tomato sauce at the store and returned home to find several cans of it taking up space in your cabinet? Or did you buy that new can in order to avoid searching through boxes, bags and other kitchen congestion?
As we all know, a well-organized pantry saves us time, money and, let’s face it, frustration. So, why do we overstuff our shelves? Tuck, shove and squeeze items in such a way that we don’t even know what we have? Why do we clutter our pantries with shoes, coats and other items that clearly have homes elsewhere?
Even though we may not fully understand the answers to these questions, we can create a pantry space that meets our needs for food storage while giving us a fresh start on kitchen organization.
Reimagine unused spaces
A separate room off the kitchen is definitely ideal for a pantry, but a designated area within the kitchen is also a great option for storage. Make use of oddly-shaped areas in your kitchen or empty walls to add cabinetry or shelving. Repurpose an old piece of furniture to use as a pantry or add shelves to the end of your island to create a small area for kid-friendly snacks. Also, you could add shelves to a nearby closet to give you the extra space you need. Simply look around your kitchen — and the areas nearby — to see if the perfect pantry is waiting to be discovered.
Decorate to motivate
Once you choose your space, take time to create a pantry that is as beautiful as it is functional. A well-organized space will motivate you to keep it that way! Think about what you’d like to store in your pantry, besides food, of course. Appliances? Seasonal items? Is the space large enough to include an area for pets with feeding bowls, food storage and toy baskets? Once you know what you want to include in the pantry, the fun part begins: designing and decorating.
Before you begin stocking your pantry, add a pop of personality to the space. Consider painting the walls a bright color and adding some patterned wallpaper between the shelves. Don’t forget the flooring! Gorgeous hardwoods, colorful tiles or even the right paint will give you a look you’ll love and motivate you to keep your space in order.
Organize and reorganize
Now that you have a freshly-decorated space, you’re ready to stock up, that is after you’ve cleaned out! Throw away all outdated items and those you’ll never use. Next step: organization! Check your inventory of baskets, bins and see-through acrylic containers. You can experiment with organization systems and then reorganize to suit your needs.
Try separating your pantry into zones, making them work for you and your family. Here are a few suggestions for categories: baking supplies, canned goods, quick meals, liquids, spices, fruits and vegetables, cereal and other boxes, portable snacks and lunches.
Put the items you use daily at eye level and the less-used items up high. Store snacks for the kids in baskets on the floor so that they can make their own choices. If you really want to make your life easy, put the items you need for meal prep in separate baskets. Then, when it’s time to make dinner, grab a basket and the items you need for that meal are already gathered.
Whether your space is a separate room or an area of your kitchen, you can reimagine, decorate and organize to create the picture-perfect pantry. Best of all, you won’t have to wonder if you have any tomato sauce!
Pantry Hacks: Tips for Better Organization
• A pull-out cabinet system with sliding shelves and drawers takes your pantry to the next level.
• If you have space, add a countertop to create a food prep area and to store appliances.
• Think about incorporating electrical outlets into your pantry design so you can use those appliances without moving them back and forth to the kitchen.
• Lighting is another important feature to consider. Under-shelf lighting enables you to see into the recesses of your pantry.
• So many organization options are available and easy to find. Shelf risers are a must to enable you to double your space. A stackable can organizer is worth the money.
• Wire storage baskets are great for potatoes and other veggies.
• Airtight food storage containers for flour, sugar, cereal and other staples can be labeled and will keep your pantry looking neat and well- organized. In fact, label every basket, bin and container to ensure that everything has a place and is returned to its proper spot.
• Corner shelves should have Lazy Susan turntables to maximize space and reduce clutter.
• Tray dividers make storing your baking sheets, pizza pans and cutting boards easy and efficient.
• Spice racks corral the small bottles and jars to make them easy to find. • Make use of the walls with hooks for reusable bags, aprons or towels. A shoe bag on the back of the pantry door can also be a good deposit for boxes of plastic bags and cleaning supplies. ✦
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