Our pantry spaces have developed considerably over the years. In the middle ages, a pantry was primarily where the bread was kept. When settlers arrived in Colonial America they established a food storage section of their homes known as a “buttery”. This was typically in the north corner of a home (where things were a bit cooler) and used to store butter and other items. The “butteries” evolved into what we see as a modern day American pantry storing a wide variety of dry food, linens, dishes, and cleaning products and the butter found a better home thanks to Fred W. Wolf of Fort Wayne, Indiana (who invented the electric refrigerator in 1913).
Whether your pantry is dedicated to storing dry and shelf stable provisions or is home to a wider variety of household items, you will benefit from simple organization, shelving options, and storage containers. You enjoy a little light reading and take inspiration from Laura Ingalls Wilder (who wrote in detail about her farmhouse pantry in “These Happy Golden Years”) before starting your task. Here are some great ways to maximize your pantry space.
Shelving: The shelving in your pantry is best utilized when it is broken up into compartments. If your current pantry shelving has wide expansive shelving, look for ways to break up the spaces. Cookbooks are a great way to divide spaces, as are larger storage containers and pasta boxes. When shopping for new shelving look for shelving that incorporates a good variety of spaces, or can be adjusted and modified easily, to organize all of your items.
Storage Containers: You don’t need to put everything into a jar, but having a good variety of storage containers (including multiple containers of the same size) will help alleviate clutter. Using clear containers will keep some of your favorite items in view. Storage containers also help encourage household members to put things back where they belong. Remember to mark storage containers with expiration dates when transferring food from original packaging (a label on the bottom of the containers works well).
Everything in its Place: Keep like-items together. Ingredients will be easy to find and will inspire your creativity. Baking items (flour, sugar, baking powder) go together, pasta and grains go together, canned items go together, and so on. Families have found it helpful to dedicate snack bins, on a lower shelf, easily reached by younger family members. The snack bins will keep the rest of your pantry in better order (as the kids don’t need to push things around to find their favorite crackers their crackers are in their personal snack bin labeled and ready to go). And remember, not everything needs to be unboxed the bowtie and penne pasta boxes are often colorful, stackable and a great way to break up large shelves into smaller spaces.
Door Shelf: You can increase your pantry space by adding shelving to the inside of your pantry door.
Lazy Susan: A revolving stand or two is a great way to organize smaller items (sauces and spices), utilize the entire space on the shelf, and will make accessing the items a breeze.
Under-Shelf Basket: You want to use as much of the vertical space as possible in a pantry. Sometimes there’s a lot of vertical space left over between shelves. Take advantage of the space with an under-shelf basket. There are sliding and stationary shelves available. They are inexpensive and a great way to tidy things up.
An organized pantry isn’t absolutely necessary during the staging process when you are looking to sell your home, but when you maximize your pantry space you will free up space in your kitchen (and open spaces are important for the staging process). You will enjoy the fruits of your organizational efforts in the meantime with easy snack access and the newfound inspiration for your next bittersweet chocolate soufflé.
Whether you are looking to sell your home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, or find your perfect home here, we look forward to helping with all of your real estate needs. Contact Chuck Mangold today!