The inside of a pantry is truly considered one of the “high traffic areas” of a home. Over a period of decades, pantries have evolved and now vary widely in size, location in the home and shelving unit styles. A pantry has become more personal with many choices on usage of space. Because of these variables, space planning and solutions will also vary. Nonetheless, if you feel overwhelmed and dread the thought of this specific area of your home, there are some simple solutions to make it more efficient. Your pantry can even be pleasing to the eye, if you really want it to be. In terms of organizing, your pantry may not be your priority but… why not? In newer homes pantries are more exposed allowing this once hidden area to be seen more openly, usually via the garage entry or laundry area. Also, you are in the pantry as much as you are in your fridge. If you are planning to sell your home, your pantry needs to become an organizational priority. Clearing out unnecessary items, minimizing grocery goods and staging your pantry will help buyers see a roomy space, which often influences a buying decision. They say that investing in your kitchen offers high impact for resale. On that note, don’t forget that your pantry is part of your kitchen. Because your pantry is in a visible location, and you use and need this space often, it is important to make it an area that is pleasantly useful and efficient. A well-organized pantry will ultimately:
1. Save you time in searching for things you need.
2. Save money, as you will not be purchasing multiple or duplicate items, which ultimately becomes a waste.
3. Increase the salability of your home.
A couple of common issues with pantries is that they are overstocked and look chaotic. Like any other area that needs revamping, my suggestion in the pantry is the same as always. The first thing that needs to be done is to eliminate all items from this zone. Once you begin removing food, you’ll likely start seeing duplicate items. How often is something hidden away in the back or top of the shelf and you don’t even realize you have two or three packages of the same thing? It’s likely something you don’t use regularly but purchase more often than needed. Use your counter area to spread out and categorize products. Once you see that you have several of the same items, discard the dated or stale foods. If it is salvageable, combine these like products in one container. Use caution by being cognizant of combining products with varying expiration dates.
Now that you have an empty pantry and fewer items to put back, plan on how you will utilize your shelves. Examples of some of the categories might be: baking items, oils, vinegars, crackers, cereals, sauces, cans, spices and seasonings, etc. You will need to know how many items you have within each group to determine how much space is needed when putting items back into the pantry. As you manage this task of designating food items to specific spots, make sure to store groups of things used less often on the higher shelves. This suggestion could mean all your baking goods are housed on the top shelf if you bake infrequently.