The ABCs of an Organized Pantry

close up of jars of dried goods in a pantry

What could be worse than cooking and not being able to find the ingredient you’re looking for? It’s easy to forget about storage solutions when going through your kitchen renovation checklist. And organizing your kitchen or pantry can be a time-consuming endeavour, especially if you don’t know where to start. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your pantry organization! Explore your options and create the perfect cooking space.

1. Choosing the location of your pantry

While some of us are fortunate enough to have a big kitchen with a large pantry, others may have a smaller space and therefore less room to work with. If you’re planning a kitchen renovation, be sure to consider the placement of your pantry. Even if you don’t have a big footprint, there are ways to make the most of your small space, like putting a pantry under the stairs.

Maybe your kitchen layout has a lot of eating areas, like a dining table, an island with seating, and a breakfast nook. This may not be ideal for storage and organization, so consider building a large pantry where the breakfast nook is. If you’re undertaking a complete home renovation, there may be space in adjacent rooms that can be integrated into your new kitchen. If storage and organization are important to you, prioritize building a functional and spacious pantry.

2. Planning the contents of your pantry

A pantry not only holds dry ingredients and canned goods, but it also serves as storage for small appliances, special occasion dishes, plastic dishware, and even cookbooks. You can also add a small coffee corner, a bar area with a wine fridge, or even a smoothie bar to it. Planning out what you want to store in your pantry is key to keeping it organized and functional. If you want to install your microwave in there, for example, you must have access to an outlet. 

3. Organizing your pantry with built-in shelving

The best way to get magazine-worthy storage is to start with a well-planned base. Big box stores like IKEA offer options that can be used in various types of spaces. For an even more personalized option, consider custom-made shelving. You will be able to select the specific layout needed for your kitchen and lifestyle. Beyond simple shelves, you can add cupboards, drawers, countertops, and even hooks. A pantry can easily become a miniature kitchen.

4. Choosing the best storage containers

The key to organizing your pantry is easy access and quick understanding of what you see. For dry ingredients, choose transparent, airtight containers – they’ll allow you to immediately identify the contents. And, since bulk purchasing has become an eco-friendly trend, reusable containers can double as transport and storage.

For shelf-stable vegetables, like onions and potatoes, opt for perforated bins and label them so you don’t forget what’s inside. There are all kinds of options, like black chalkboard labels, acetate (transparent paper), and markers that can write directly on glass. Furthermore, organize sections according to your lifestyle. A pastry chef’s pantry isn’t going to look like a busy family’s pantry. Also, keep the most used ingredients within reach.

Here are some great containers and labels to consider when organizing your pantry:

  • Onion & Garlic Smart Container, Tupperware, $35.00
  • Onions Storage Tin, Amazon, $29.89
  • Modular Mates® Get It All Set, Tupperware, $381.00
  • Metal Stacking/Nesting Rectangular Basket with Acacia Lid, amazon, $59.02
  • Fido Jars with Clamp Lids, Crate & Barrel, $5.95-$9.95
  • Airtight Glass Canister Set of 3 Clear Glass Storage Jars with Bamboo Lids, Amazon, $26.99
  • Set of 90 Chalkboard Vinyl Labels, Amazon, $9.99
  • White Chalk Markers, Amazon, $12.95

5. Originality in your pantry

Just because your pantry is hidden doesn’t mean that it can’t be decorated! Add bold wallpaper or a ceramic backsplash behind the shelves, hang signs or play with contrast and choose a complementary colour. You can also get some patterned ceramic flooring. If your pantry has high ceilings, you can even install a small gliding ladder to help you reach the higher shelves. Bonus: it’ll give the room a vintage bookstore feel.

If you want to go all out, consider separating your pantry from the rest of your kitchen with a glass wall. Use black metal or fluted frames if you really want to bring the latest kitchen trends home. If you need to save space, opt for a sliding or pocket door over a hinged door.

Keep in mind that your pantry should match the rest of your kitchen. If your kitchen has been done up in a farmhouse style, opt for containers and labels that fit the vibe. It’s all in the details!

6. The final touch: Lighting

Architectural lighting is necessary in all rooms to make them functional, but especially in enclosed spaces like pantries. Thankfully, there are lots of options on the market. Install LEDs under the shelves for optimal visibility, recessed lights in the ceiling, or even a statement light fixture to add some personality. 

Now that we have dissected the rules of a pantry worthy of the queens of the organization, all that remains is to get cooking!

Start cooking up a storm

If you want to renovate your kitchen and include a custom pantry, we are here for you. We understand the difficulties that come with finding a reliable and high-quality contractor for your project, so let us take away that stress! Our Renovation Advisors will get up to three Verified Contractors to submit quotes for your project and help you decide which one brings the most value to you. Call us today or fill out our form to get started!