adding baskets under shelves adds storage space

Organize a pantry or food storage area

Having enough space in the kitchen is always a problem. It doesn’t matter how large or small your kitchen is, there never seems to be enough room. We can figure out some ways to make the most of what you have.

The first thing you need to do is get motivated for this challenge. Take a deep breath and dig into it. Realize you have to empty out the pantry or your food shelves to get started. It’s an unfortunate part of the process, but must be done. Wipe down all of the shelves and make sure they are clean before you start putting things back.

Just like when you sort your clothes when cleaning out a closet, you can sort your pantry items. What do you use all of the time? What just sits on the shelf? Figure out what can be thrown away and check expiration dates as you go.

To make the most of the space available, put like things together. Food in jars go with other jars, cans go with other cans, boxes go with other boxes. Bigger items go behind the smaller ones so they don’t block your view.

Add shelves if it seems logical. Use more of the vertical space with shelving in areas where shorter things are kept, like cans. Under shelf, hanging wire baskets are a welcome addition to bring more storage capacity to your existing shelf space. One basket can hold bread. Organize your foil, plastic wrap and ziplock bags in another basket.

Kids feel a sense of responsibility and accomplishment when they pack their own lunches. A child-height basket can hold single serving applesauce containers, little bags of chips or other small items that do not fit well on regular shelves, and are good for packed lunches.

Store dry ingredients like pasta, instant potatoes, cereal and rice in containers with tightly fitting lids. Your food will stay fresh while keeping out pests like ants and moths. The containers add a look of uniformity to your pantry.

Large tools and countertop appliances can be stored in one location. Some pantries have open wall space where tools that are too large for drawers can hang on hooks.

Spices often take up a lot more room than they should. You don’t have to have a fancy a spice rack with matching bottles. A small lazy Susan can help with spices. When you turn the lazy Susan, you can easily get to any spice you need without digging through the spice containers. A lazy Susan is also a good option for deep cabinets where it’s hard to reach into the back.

If you don’t have a pantry and you need to make some extra space for storage, containers might be the way to go. With storage containers that are all the same size and shape, you can fit more into existing shelving and cabinet space.

Staying on top of things will make life easier. You will spend less time searching for food or supplies you know are “in there somewhere.” Once you feel comfortable with your new pantry organization, try your best to keep it going. Each time after you go food shopping, do a little organizing to make space for new purchases.

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