So you want your pantry to be an Instagram sensation? Professional home organizers offer tips for turning a visit to your walk-in pantry into a feel-good experience rather than a scavenger hunt for that can of tomato soup.
Clean it out: “We need a blank canvas to start with, so the first thing we always do is take everything out,” said Shalae Price of AZ House of Order in Mesa, Ariz. Toss the expired instant mashed potatoes and stale spices.
Shelve it: An ideal pantry shelf is 15 inches deep, according to Tracy Bowers of Organize Simply in Salt Lake City, Utah. “It’s the perfect depth for the baskets and containers we often use in the pantry,” she said. “You don’t want shelves that are too deep, where things get lost in the back.” And because needs change over time, having adjustable shelves is a must, she added.
Categorize: Create zones within your pantry, such as “baking,” after-school snacks” or “breakfast.” The breakfast station, for example, could feature pancake mix, oatmeal packets and maple syrup grouped in a clear bin or bamboo basket. “If you think about why people become disorganized, it’s because they don’t know where to put things back,” said Ms. Price. “Even little kids know, ‘When I put this box of cereal back, it goes in the breakfast station.’ ”
Ditch the packaging: Save space by loading your pasta and Goldfish crackers into airtight containers and throwing away the boxes. Clear canisters are aesthetically pleasing and also let you see at a glance when you need to restock. Glass apothecary jars give a pantry a boutique look; flip-top acrylic is more family friendly. “If you need things that your kids can reach, we’re probably not going to use a lot of fragile glass jars,” said Brandie Larsen of Home Sort, in Sacramento, Calif.
Spin it, stack it: Lazy susans, or turntables, create storage space in tight spots and come in many sizes. “We use turntables to access shelves that are up high and in corners, so a corner isn’t a dead space,” Ms. Price said. Another pantry hack: Three-tiered, expandable shelf units create stadium seating for your cans.
Bin tags and labels: Use a desktop cutting machine to create custom vinyl labels for your canisters, baskets and bins. “They are pretty and they tell you exactly where to find everything and where to put everything back,” said Ms. Price. Ms. Bowers is partial to handwritten bin tags—black metal inscribed with a white pen for a modernist pantry, or chalkboard labels for countrified larders.
Don’t overstuff: Leave space around all of your bins and containers so that they are easy to grab. “If you love the look of this pantry and you don’t know why, it’s because it’s not stuffed to the brim,” Ms. Larsen said.
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