Pantry designs are like most things – others have been there before you and made mistakes, and you can learn from them. Check out these do’s and don’t's before you go ahead with your pantry:
- allow for more shelf space than you will currently use. Once you have a pantry, you’ll find new uses for it and more things you need to store there!
- use simple fittings and fixtures which will improve storage access. Wire baskets running on rails under a shelf are a good example.
- critter-proof your pantry. Cover all ventilation openings with metal mesh which will keep out both insects and rodents.
- use your pantry! Don’t let the contents sit there unused, and make sure you go in there regularly.
- bulk buy when you see a great deal on something you eat normally – now you have somewhere to store it!
- transfer food from the bags or boxes it came from into better containers once you’ve opened the original container. Glass or plastic jars are often more airtight and critter or moistureproof than the original packaging.
- use overhead space for hanging items
- store heavy things where you can get at them easily: that means, on a shelf about hip level ideally. Or, don’t lift the heavy things at all – use a appliance lift, or move heavy bulk food into smaller containers.
- make all your shelves the same distance apart. You’ll need some shelves for large boxes with plenty of headspace, and others for very small things which can be close together.
- store newer food in front of older food. Tuck the new purchases in behind so that the older food gets used first
- keep things indefinitely. Unless something is intended for multi-year storage, like emergency food, if you haven’t used it in a year then maybe you never will, and you should get rid of it and use the space for something more yummy.
- use your pantry as catchall storage space. Once the detritus of baseball bats, old plastic shopping bags, hats and shoes builds up in front of the food, you won’t be able to use your pantry properly as a pantry.
- close off ventilation completely – stored food needs some air and heat transfer.
- waste the door space – if you have a solid door you can hang racks, shelves, clipboards, chalkboard etc on it
- waste wall space where there’s no room for shelves – pegboard with hooks, hooks in the wall, spice racks, or pot lid racks may fit.
- make all your shelves the same depth, front to back. Higher shelves should be narrower so you can see what’s on them.