Does finding something to eat in your kitchen resemble a treasure hunt? Are your shelves filled with a random assortment of foods, boxes, utensils and who-knows-what-else? Space is often limited in an apartment kitchen and the pantry is no exception.
The good news is that you can increase pantry space using just a few simple organization techniques. Here are some easy and effective small pantry ideas:
An organized kitchen pantry makes shopping much easier. When you know what you have, you can avoid accidentally purchasing duplicate items at the grocery store. Buying items twice is both a waste of money and storage space.
Before you start organizing, take stock of your stock. Throw out any expired food — don’t forget to check your condiments and sauces. Also, identify any food you don’t eat. Sometimes dry and canned goods make their way into the pantry but nobody in the household really wants to eat them. Donate or toss these items. You’re better off making room for foods which will actually be eaten.
Once you’ve taken inventory, you’re ready to start organizing. Most people organize their pantry by grouping generally similar items together. Cereal boxes go in one area, canned goods in another and so on. While this is a great starting point, some minor tweaks to how you organize can result in far better use of your space. Here’s a look at some better ways to organize your groceries and utensils:
Keeping your pantry organized helps reduce clutter. While certain foods belong in the freezer or refrigerator, you actually have a lot of leeway when storing dry goods and non-perishables.
Many people organize by type, but that’s not always the most efficient use of space. Instead, organize by size and date as well. Oddly shaped items can be stored alongside flexible items (bags of chips and so on).
You’re not limited to the product’s packaging. Dry goods like flour and pasta can be stored in your own containers. This gives you more freedom and flexibility because you can buy containers which fit into your specific space.
Tall, thin containers are great for storing pasta. Short, circular containers work best for storing rice, beans and similarly-sized foods. The best types of containers are usually ones which can be stacked together when not in use.
Another way to organize your groceries is by function. If you make certain dishes on a regular basis, storing all the ingredients together can be a real time-saver.
Generally, you’ll want to organize food based on the idea of “first in, first out.” Fresh food is stored up front. Canned goods and other items which can’t spoil should be stored near the back of the shelves. Pay attention to expiration dates, but also note that not every expiration date is set in stone.
Wire racks are a versatile storage option suitable for just about any type of pantry. You can easily attach wire racks to the back and side walls of your closet. Wire offers more flexibility than wooden shelves. Plus, the wire takes up less space and helps your pantry feel more open.
Don’t forget the back of your pantry door. You can hang wire racks there, too. Done correctly, the wire shelves will simply fit into the open space of the pantry when the door is closed.
Wire racks are easy to install and use. You can set up instant shelves designed around your needs. Plus, the racks are easy to maintain. They’re stylish, too, with a subdued elegance which easily fits into any type of pantry.
Wire baskets are easy to see through, which helps when you need to find something. Wooden shelves can make a pantry feel dark and cramped, but wire baskets help create an open, airy feeling.
Wire baskets are great for holding items, even small items. But you have plenty of other organization options, too. Tiered spice racks help keep the at-home chef stay organized and efficient.
You don’t have to worry too much about planning wire rack placement. Adding, adjusting and removing racks is pretty simple. Wire racks are far more versatile than wooden shelves.
Don’t forget about the floor space. Place some baskets or hampers on the floor in the pantry. Floor storage works great for items you don’t use daily, such as specialized cooking tools, large bags of dry goods, bottled water and anything really heavy.
Does your pantry have open space near the ceiling? Many pantries do. You can turn this dead space into storage space by adding stemware racks or t-molding. Perfect for hanging wine glasses and other lightweight, oddly-shaped items. While you want to avoid storing items you use every day, ceiling wire racks are often a great place for long-term storage.
Speaking of hanging, the back of the pantry door is often a great place to hang bags, aprons and similar items.
The typical kitchen usually has many different rolls such as aluminum foil, plastic wrap and paper towels. Storing these rolls can be a hassle.
A wine rack is a great solution here. Remove any wine bottles and you’re all set. Finally, an excuse to drink some wine! Each roll or tube-shaped product can be easily stored in the now-empty rack. Works great for cooking utensils such as rolling pins.
There are plenty of custom pantry ideas available to help you get the most out of even the smallest space. The first step is to organize your items as efficiently as possible. Aside from organizing by item type, consider grouping items by size and dish.
While you can’t always change the size of your apartment pantry, the strategies above will help you maximize the space you do have.