Beautiful Pantry Reveal

Edmonds pantry #1

The kitchen pantry is a high traffic area of the home. Most families are in and out of their food storage cabinets/pantries multiple times a day. To complicate matters, the pantry is a communal space as all families members need to access it. It is a heavy-traffic area in most homes. According to the book, What Americans Build and Why: Psychological Perspectives, 85% of Americans want a walk-in pantry. I have helped clients organize a pantry that is one small cabinet in an apartment, to a large walk-in pantry. The dimensions may vary with each space, but the process remains consistent. An organized pantry of any size makes life and cooking SO much easier.

I had the privilege of organizing a pantry in a new built for a recent client. After consulting with her about her family’s habits, food patterns, her desires for the space and analyzing the measurements, we hatched a plan to make it both pretty and highly functional for her family. Let’s dig in to the process that works for all pantry organization projects!

Take a “before” photo.

This step will be immensely helpful later when you need to assess space usage in the pantry. You will need to study the photos to see how food is being stored. Additionally, it is extremely rewarding to review these photos after you complete your beautiful pantry project. Bask in your “awesomeness” and hard work!

Begin with an empty space.

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I know, it is A LOT of work to empty out your entire pantry. I promise it will be worth it and will provide you with the best results if you begin with an empty space. Put on some fun music and some comfy clothes and dig into emptying out every cracker, crumb and box from your space. As you empty, begin to categorize things into what I call “lands”. (Much like Disneyland does!) I have categories like: cracker-land, sweets-land, canned veggies-land, condiment-land, etc. As you are sending your food to their respective “lands” or piles, check for any expired food. This is also a good time to really evaluate food that you know that your family does not like and will never eat. Unopened food that is still within date can be donated to your local food bank.

Take the opportunity to start fresh.

You have done the hard work to now have an empty space. This is a perfect opportunity to line shelves, paint, add lighting or even paper the walls. Not only does this have an obvious visually pleasing effect, but it also mentally signals to the brain that this space is WORTH keeping clean. This psychological cue often encourages clients to maintain their newly organized space because it feels fresh and different. The client is also further vested in the success of the project.

Edmonds #10 wall

The darling client, in this case, wanted a pop of unexpected color in her brand-new pantry. Surprisingly, the pretty paper featured above is simply shelf liner. Get out of town…. I know! Shelf liner is a little trick that enables clients to have the sense of wallpaper without the cost, commitment and tricky installation. Additionally, when they tire of the pattern… simply pull it down. (I always recommend a clean wall to begin with to optimize the liner sticking properly. Wiping it down with a solution of diluted rubbing alcohol also helps to ensure tackiness.)

Have a plan.

This is your chance to finally fix what DOESN’T work with your pantry. Yes, you probably can’t change the space allocated in your home for a pantry, but you CAN change how you utilize it. It helps to consider the following ideas as you hatch your grand pantry plan.

  • Are you utilizing any door space available to you?
  • Are you maximizing the vertical space between shelves?
  • Are there side walls that you could harness additional storage from (i.e. mounted racks, hooks, or bins attached to the side wall)?
  • Are there items that could be relocated to other areas of the home?
  • Are pantry items arranged with children or those with physical limitations in mind?
  • Can you easily see your food to make inventory possible?
  • Does a stool need to be tucked nearby to access the top shelves?
  • Is the food arranged for healthy eating choices for the family?

Measure.

One word, but it makes all the difference in a well-planned pantry. Measure the dimensions of the cabinets, width of shelves, distance between shelves, the tallest items to be stored, your existing containers that will be put back into the pantry, back of the door clearance and the swing distance of any doors. Use your phone, if that is easier for you, to record the information. You can use these vital numbers later if you need to purchase additional storage systems.

Get creative with storage.

This is the time when using a professional organizer is often helpful. Strategic placement, efficient organizing tools and creating unique systems make your pantry work to its potential. Here are a few ideas for this particular cute client’s recent project.

Edmonds #12 bins

This gorgeous pantry had plenty of space under the last shelf. The client and I decided that it would be the perfect home for her root vegetables and some extra picnic/paper supplies. The wooden crates have cotton liners to catch any debris from the onion skins or potato dirt and roll out smoothly without damaging her beautiful floors.

Edmonds bins #2

Edmonds #4

I love to organize nuts, legumes, dried fruit and pasta in half gallon canning jars. I think the textures are naturally beautiful and the tight, twist seal ensures their freshness. Additionally, you won’t lose any bags of these items at the back of the pantry anymore. My client has wonderful, healthy eating habits and these jars showcased her “artful” food.IMG_2434

Edmonds #7

Baskets that slide right onto the existing shelves doubles your storage and makes small packages visible/easy to access. I also love these wire baskets for bread storage to keep it from getting smashed and simply forgotten about.

Edmonds #8

My client has fabulous taste and picked out these grey hatched plastic baskets as the inspiration for her pantry design. They keep food categories separated and contained. Additionally, they provide storage limit guidelines. The fact that they are plastic was another wonderful choice on her part as they are durable and affordable. Their uniform design adds to the tidy and unified feeling of space.

Edmonds #8

After loads of research, I finally settled on these SnapWare containers. They have an opening which allows you to reach in/pour as well as an airtight seal. This client has a large family and needed containers that would accommodate Costco sizes of many items, including cereal. This particular SnapWare 23-cup sized container is constructed with little hands in mind, as you can grip it on one end. These are dishwasher safe and will stand the test of time.

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Rolling can racks are a fun addition that make the client’s pantry feel more like a high-end grocery store. A quick glance at the cans which are organized according to type allows her to take quick shopping inventory. No more running low on a particular canned item!

Above the racks are a series of lazy susans. The client’s pantry had fairly deep shelves which would have made access to her oils/vinegars, condiments, sauces and spreads difficult. We also wanted the children to help put away groceries and keeping everything lined up just wasn’t realistic. These rotating lazy susans are a wonderful way to maximize the space and keep all of her staples at her fingertips.

Label.

Label everything to claim its space. Things are more likely to returned to their designated spaces when clear labels are used.

Add your personal touch.

Add a hook for your apron that you need to constantly grab. Paste a conversion chart on the inside of the door. Attach cork board to the inside of your cabinet for your lists. Put your signature touch on your finished pantry.

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Edmonds pantry #1

Perhaps “Pantry Perfection” will never be realized in such a heavily utilized area, but adding systems to maximize the space you DO have can improve your home’s efficiency, your family’s eating choices and your own sanity. Vacaville Organizer would love to make your pantry ideas a reality in a matter of hours.

Happy Pantry Organizing-Lorinda with Vacaville Organizer

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