Four of the Best Pantry and Kitchen Storage Ideas
Fed up with not being able to find things in your kitchen? A freestanding larder or pantry cupboard will solve many kitchen storage issues, but only if you have a system that works for you. There are hundreds of hints and tips, but if you haven’t found any that work for you, then you may need these simple but effective ideas.
Your kitchen is a busy place. It needs to flow effortlessly so no matter what meal you are preparing, you can find everything quickly. If you are blessed with pantry space, you have a versatile storage area, but only if you are able to organise it in a way that suits you.
There are all kinds and types of kitchen storage ideas, but deciding which ones will work for you can be difficult. In many ways, we look at the enormous amount of storage space in a pantry cupboard and assume that by stacking things on shelves, we create a solution to the problem.
But we don’t. The pantry becomes cluttered, foods gets pushed to the back, and the next time you clean it out, you’ll be finding jars of coffee four years out of date.
Why a pantry cupboard is a great option
A pantry was once commonplace in kitchens. It was often built in to the kitchen and acted as a cool place to store food. With the advent of fridges and freezers, it wasn’t needed as much. And with changes in interior design trends, the humble pantry fell out of favour for sleek, minimal kitchens.
In recent years, we’ve seen a welcome resurgence of the pantry. And no wonder – it offers a large space to store foodstuffs and kitchen equipment. It is also possible to add a large pantry style store to your kitchen too, with a freestanding pantry cupboard.
A pantry cupboard has the potential to work in all kitchens, but in particular, offering a myriad of small kitchen storage solutions. Resist the temptation is to fill the space with boxes, jars and packets and follow these tips instead!
Tips for organising a pantry cupboard
No. 1 ~ The rule of thirds
Clutter in kitchen cupboards is not uncommon, and it seems that the more shelf space we have, the more likely we are to clutter the space.
Think of the interior of your pantry use the ‘rule of thirds’ theory.
Top third - items above your head, so on the top shelves, are ideals for storing equipment or foods that you rarely use. So the panini press that sees only a small amount of action would sit on the top shelf out of the way, along with the heavy-based roasting pan you use to roast the turkey at Christmas.
Lower third - on the bottom shelves (anything below your knees!) store the things you use occasionally and items that are too heavy to lift high on the top shelves. These include things like baking tins that you may use now and then, or even large jars of ingredients such as chickpea flour, strong flour for breadmaking and so on.
The middle third - the middle shelves are for things you use every day, from cereal to bread, to the toaster and more.
Storage solutions are only effective when you can get at items easily and – here’s the rub – when they can be put away easily too. If you struggle to put something away, you’re more likely to leave it out on a worktop.
QUICK TIP – make use on the back of the pantry cupboard doors to store small things. A spice rack is ideal, along with slimline shelving to store packets and other lightweight, small items.
No. 2 ~ Label everything
Investing in a storage system such as boxes and jars is worthwhile, especially if you opt for a system of boxes of different sizes that are stackable.
We are creatures of habit. The way we cook and bake will change over time, but in the main, our likes and dislikes when it comes to food and the dishes we create more or less stay the same.
If you are a keen bake, for example, you’ll probably have more than one type of flour on your shelves. If you are a keen cook, enjoying creating fusions with Chinese or Indian foods, you are likely to have key ingredients, such as spices and others.
Creating a system that fits you now is one that will last a long time. But as you add boxes and storage jars to your pantry shelves, you need to label them
You can buy pre-printed labels, but the likelihood is, you need more bespoke labels. You can invest in a label maker or order them online. Craft inspired sites are a great place to start. And for the few pence that each label will cost you, you’ll be amazed at the difference they make.
QUICK TIP – follow the same ‘rule of thirds’ when storing items on shelves. Keep things you use often at the front and things that you only need occasionally toward the back of the shelf.
No. 3 ~ Control the cans!
Canned food is a store cupboard staple. Whether it’s a selection of winter soup or beans and pulses for stews, cans are inexpensive additions to your shopping list.
Canned foods also last for years, providing that the tin isn’t rusty or dented. But that doesn’t mean ‘losing’ cans toward the back of the pantry cupboard.
Face up – if you do nothing else, face-up your cans just like you see them on a supermarket shelf. When you can see the label, you can instantly see what it is.
Keep like with like – tinned fruit on one shelf keeps the sweet, canned food together and then keeping savoury food cans on another shelf or area. Keep pulses together and tinned veggies, along with soups and so on.
Drill it down further – keep the same tinned products together by flavour too and not only will you be able to find things quickly, but you can also see what you are running low on.
QUICK TIP – baskets are fantastic for keeping slim packets of food together. Don’t forget to rotate packets, so you use the ones with the shortest date first.
No. 4 ~ Add extra shelving
This isn’t about making structural changes to the inside of your pantry, built-in or freestanding. This is about adding ‘lift shelving’. These small additions allow you to make more use of the height between shelving.
These are freestanding shelves, almost like a step, that allow for things to be placed underneath it and taller things on top. They are made for plates and other crockery and can be used in your pantry to store foodstuffs too.
QUICK TIP – you may think a lazy Susan is a throwback to the 70s dinner party, but in the pantry, they are ideal. Use them to store condiments so when you need a jar or bottle, just gently turn it.
Kitchen storage ideas must be functional and practical, but there’s no reason why they can’t be stylish too. Investing in glass jars, for example, is a long-term investment that is worthwhile. Plastic boxes and jars will absorb flavours and colours over time.
Label everything, group similar things together and think about how often you use things and where in the pantry they are best stored. That way, you’ll be able to make the most out of your kitchen cupboards, larder and storage systems.