[This article originally appeared in the Courier Press]
The pantry can be a great place to house your culinary delights, but it often turns into the land of the lost. Make it an intuitive, user-friendly space in just seven steps.
Process Before Purchase
Vicki Norris, an Oregon-based professional organizer, says she tells clients to adopt this rule when buying new products. “What you really need to do is completely empty the space,” she says. “It’s only when you see what you have that you should be buying products. Group what you want to keep first, and that’s how you know what you need to buy.”
Choose the Right Storage
Joe King, design manager at Holland, Mich.-based ORG, suggests low pull-out drawers for heavy equipment like crock pots and mixers. “The act of lifting, retrieving and returning is less stressful,” he says. He also suggests pull-out baskets made of rattan or wire. “They accommodate air flow better, so if you’ve got something that needs to breathe like potatoes or onions.”
“You might want to create a different space in your house for overflow drinks,” Norris says. “They tend to crowd pantries.” She says an old bookshelf in a garage can be the perfect place to house packages of soda or flats of juice boxes.
Separate Salty and Sweet
Norris likes to create separate snack areas for salty and sweet. “Your snack shelf can get really crowded with everything, so I have two big bins.”
Make it Local
“Consider where the pantry is located in relation to the rest of the kitchen,” Norris says. Hers is adjacent to the breakfast nook, so she has to walk through the kitchen to the pantry. She chose to create centers in the kitchen for her most frequently used items rather than storing them in the pantry. “That way when you go to the pantry you’re going for a purpose, because you want to cook a meal or bake something,” she says. “We have little kids, so we’re pulling out the Cheerios 80 times a day.”
King says if you have the space, you might consider creating a recycling center in your pantry. “The pantry is a great place to put recycled items because they’re more accessible, so a lot of people are creating little mini recycling stations there.”
Make Room to Pack
If you have school-age children, Norris suggests creating a lunch packing station in the pantry. “Then your kids can be a part of at least the nonperishable process, and you have an area that you can go to as a resource to put together fast lunches.”
-By Jessica Abels
See the PDF here: Courier Press – Seven Ways to Get More Out Of Your Pantry 7/29/2009