How to Create a More Functional and Usable Pantry

Interior of wooden pantry with products for cooking; adult woman taking kitchenware and food from the shelves.

Whether you’re an accomplished cook or can barely make cold cereal, a more functional and usable pantry just makes life easier. With a great pantry, you’ll experience less chaos and clutter day to day, while also keeping tabs on inventory so perishable items don’t go to waste before you can use them. Take a look at the suggestions below to help you create a more functional pantry that works for you and the entire family.

Start with Organization Zones

Organization is often the foundation on which success is built. And when it comes to creating a more functional and usable pantry, organization is a key component. Neglecting this one step can make all the following steps less effective. Here’s the gist—all canned goods get stored together, all spices get stored together, and so on. Once you’ve created your zones, you can decide how different items should be stored. Some people are happy with pantry items stored in their original containers, but some prefer to use mason jars or other durable containers. Items like cereal that get opened and then re-closed are prime candidates for storage in bins that create a tight seal, which can prolong the shelf life of those items.

Take Advantage of Vertical Space

If it seems like you just don’t have enough usable space in your pantry, it’s time to get creative. Start thinking of new and different ways to utilize your vertical space. Are you taking advantage of the space all the way to the ceiling? Maybe all you need to expand your pantry space to its maximum is better shelving. Try grouping tall, narrow items together and see if it provides the additional space you need. This is a time to think “out of the box,” literally. Play with some different ideas and configurations to see what works best for your space.

  • Add Custom Shelving: Sometimes all you need is a solution that truly fits your space and, if that’s the case, then custom shelving might be right for you. With custom shelving designed and installed especially for your pantry layout, you can take advantage of every inch of space from floor to ceiling.
  • Install Custom Cabinets: Use custom cabinets to upgrade your pantry space and expand your storage options. If you have children and pets, cabinets can help you store items safely out of sight and out of reach—you can even add locks if needed.

Use Back of Pantry Door

In small spaces, it’s best to use every available inch—and that includes the back of the pantry door. You’ll find a plethora of storage solutions for pantry doors including hanging shelves, grocery bag dispensers, and broom and mop hangers. Utilizing this space will free up more space in the main pantry section and provide easier access to items you use frequently. When done correctly, utilizing this space will increase your storage options without obstructing access to your pantry.

Sliding Barn Door Option

Pantry doors that swing inward can take up valuable storage space. To prevent this problem, consider a sliding barn door instead. Not only can a sliding barn door provide the extra space you need inside your pantry, but it can also add a touch of farmhouse chic or Mediterranean flair to your space. Although you can’t use the back of a sliding door for extra storage, the front can be converted to a chalkboard. The kids will love having a place to draw and mom and dad will enjoy having a convenient place to keep menus or shopping lists.

Traditional Pegboard Storage

Ah, the good old pegboard! Your grandfather may have used this material in his garage to organize his home and garden tools. This traditional storage option is still an amazingly functional and flexible solution for your pantry. Pegboard storage offers a variety of hooks, shaped to hold many different types of items. Using pegboard storage will also give you an opportunity to explore your creative side. Just look online to see the amazing variety of options pegboard storage has to offer.

Wall Mount Spice Rack

If cooking is one of your passions, a pantry with a wall-mounted spice rack is the way to go. This space-saving solution gives every spice its own place, in its own clearly marked container. You’re less likely to have pots boil over while you’re searching for the right spice because they’re all clearly visible and within reach. The spice rack’s vertical rows allow you to see all your spices without shuffling them around on a horizontal shelf. It’s the art of cooking efficiency in action.

Light Up Your Pantry

Any space that’s functional needs proper lighting, and not those underwhelming little battery lights. LED lights with a round, puck design are ideal for use wherever you need them—inside your pantry, in small storage closets, or even under your cabinets. They’re quick and easy to install, and some even have a color-changing option for a modern, industrial look. After all, what use is a well-organized pantry if it’s too dark to find anything?

Go with the Pros

Creating a more functional, usable pantry is something you’ll notice and appreciate every day. It can improve everything from preparing daily meals to entertaining family and friends. The professionals at Mr. Handyman can provide you with some great storage ideas. Call or request service online today and let us help you build the custom pantry you’ve always wanted.