Pantry Tips: The 4 Secrets to Fantastic Food Storage

Is your food pantry either too small for a week’s worth of groceries or too messy to find that cake mix you think you bought?

Four simple strategies can be the magic wand that turns your pitiful pantry into a wonderful workhorse space. (And for you over-achievers, I’ve included an extra trick that can boost your pantry from efficient to beautiful and chic!)

California Closets Cherry Brown Rattan Baskets in White Pantry Cabinetry

This California Closets pantry system is a great example of how to use wicker and metal baskets to organize pantry items.

1. Pull-Outs:

Incorporate pull-out wicker or metal baskets, wine racks & spice racks into your pantry. This approach keeps like items contained and easy to access. Choose metal for wine and spice racks to not only make your pantry more efficient but extremely durable too.

2. Adjust:

The ultimate is to have adjustable shelving in your pantry so as you go from baby food jars to large cereal boxes, you can adjust the shelves to accommodate the different heights. It’s important to have properly sized shelves so you don’t waste any vertical space. (If you don’t already have adjustable shelving, California Closets can help you make that change.)

3. Placement:

Consider who accesses each item and how many times when deciding which shelf will hold the flour/sugar and which will hold the snacks. Kids can help themselves to snacks stored towards the bottom of the pantry. Put dry baking ingredients at the top. Things like pasta and canned goods live at adult eye-level.

Don’t forget the pet food! Placing pet food at the very bottom allows kids to take ownership of feeding their pets. (Just make sure your little critters don’t get their noses in their first! Putting their food in containers, rather than keeping it in bags helps prevent this.)

4. Inventory:

Visit your pantry before your weekly shopping trip. Note favorite snacks that are running low and items whose “use by date” is near. Keep on top of what you have and what you need so you don’t waste food or buy items twice. Non-perishables can always be donated to your local food bank, if you discover they’re not getting used.

Bonus strategy for super-organizers!

Packaging: To really make your pantry a thing of blissful beauty, throw away as much manufacturer packaging as possible: the plastic cover on your toilet paper rolls, plastic bags from the produce section, outer packaging from bulk stores like Costco.

Put nuts, dried fruits, dry goods like cereal, flour, sugar, in labeled, matching storage containers, and bagged pasta, root vegetables & individually packaged snacks (separate sweet from salty) into baskets. This extra step at the front end prevents food from going stale and saves you from wrestling with plastic & cardboard wrapping when you’re in a hurry.

Take it one step further and eschew all of that unnecessary packaging altogether: Buy your common food staples like rice, quinoa, flour, cereal, nuts and dried fruit in the bulk section of your local Whole Foods or health food store.

An organized pantry makes cooking easy and fun! What is your biggest food storage problem? Is it easy for you to find the ingredients you need in your pantry? Let us know in the comments!



Leticia Pfieffer California Closets design consultant

Leticia Pfieffer

As a design consultant at California Closets Dallas-Ft. Worth, an organizational coach, and a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), Leticia Pfeiffer brings her passion for organization to all of her California Closets designs. She works diligently to accommodate each client’s unique belongings into their custom design because she believes, “Life is Better Organized!”

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3 Responses to “Pantry Tips: The 4 Secrets to Fantastic Food Storage”

  1. Brian Honeyman

    Great article – lots of good tips. Wish the pantry that came with the house had adjustable shelves :-( (and perhaps a lock on the snack section (ha))

  2. Rick Lyrek

    Great information here! It’s so easy not to even think of some of these things, like having adjustable shelving so that as your needs change, you can adjust without having wasted space. Thanks again!