I feel about our pantry much the same as I feel about our bathroom cabinets. Hooray, we have a pantry! But it’s kind of an awkward space. It has a narrow single door opening onto a very deep closet of shelves. Even at a generous estimate, only half the space is accessible enough to use easily. Since we moved in, I’m constantly buying things I already have because I couldn’t find the original, or chucking things in willy-nilly because it was such a mess already. Lots of potatoes sank into the depths and died a moldy death.
So I finally took the time to organise it. Won’t you come have a look? It’s not as scary as it used to be.
First off I do want to say that I think you could probably do some of this more cheaply than I did. We have The Container Store five minutes from our house, and I’ve started going there because I can find what I need in one stop, which with Edith in tow I value more than I used to. The Container Store totally sucks me in. But I like it so much I don’t mind. I do try to use things I already have for organising (shoeboxes, etc.), but sometimes the job is just too much for cardboard boxes, and in that case I think it’s worth it to buy something specific to organise a particular space.
So, first of all, let’s look at the workhorse of this pantry, which is the door rack. It’s been here a long time now and was the first part of the pantry I organised. I tried to buy an inexpensive rack from Target initially, but it was too big for this smaller-than-standard door. That was what sent me to The Container Store the first time. This rack is an Elfa one, and it’s expensive so I’ve been slowly adding racks to it every couple of months as a little treat for myself. But this thing performs. It clamps to the top and bottom of the door and tightens so there’s no annoying swinging, but it needs no actual holes made in the door. Perfect for apartments. The racks are adjustable and hold a ton of weight. This door rack is coming with me wherever I live.
I use the rack to store anything in bottles or small jars. I also got an S-hook to hang my masking tape which I use for labelling. (Just a hardware-store type hook.)
Next is the floor of the pantry. It used to be a pit of plastic and paper bags, but I cleared those away into another closet and instead put some stacking bins to hold potatoes, onions, garlic and various rolls of kitchen supplies like foil and cling wrap.
And now, the main shelves.
On the lowest visible shelf are baking ingredients. I decided that the best way to combat these deep shelves was with some long, narrow boxes that could be pulled out like drawers, so I bought two such boxes. (With labels still on – I’m still trying them out!) They contain flour, sugar, baking chocolate, etc.
Moving up to the middle shelf: Here is my favourite part of the project, a stainless steel two-tier turntable, mmmmmm! It holds canned goods and some jars and cartons. To the right is a long cardboard box which contains beans and grains. Again, the idea is that it can be pulled out like a drawer.
The top shelf (pictured blow) is boring, just a few boxes (of biscuits, snacks, etc.) shelved like books, and a shoebox containing pasta and crackers. And the veeeeeeeery top shelf contains cereal and bags of crisps. (Stuff which, if it falls as you reach your fingertips up to get it, won’t do any damage.)
I hope this is useful for anyone with a similarly difficult to access space. My initial searches online for ‘pantry organisation’ yielded beautiful but unrealistic spaces the size of my whole kitchen, so I decided to ignore them and go my own way!