Sunday, May 15, 2011

Storage Solutions for a Deep Pantry

Just off of our kitchen, at the top landing of the basement stairs, is our pantry. It's a tall, open shelf system with no door - though there is a door to the basement stairs, which is closed 99% of the time, so the pantry is hidden also.  Based on the shape/size of it (perfect width but crazy deep), I have no idea what the space was intended for when the house was built in the 1930's, perhaps a broom closet?  At some point a previous owner installed some wooden shelves & began using it as a pantry. We've done the same and haven't messed with the shelving at all, but it's been a challenge to find ways to practically store a decent amount of food in such a deep pantry, while actually being able to access all of it!

Earlier this spring, as part of SimpleMom's Project: Simplify, I decided to tackle our pantry storage problem. Here's what I came up with:

The highest shelf contains some plastic serving dishes that I rarely use, which is fine because I need a stepstool to reach the shelf in the first place!  And wow, I've never noticed that the shelf is that warped!  I wonder if it's really that way or if the camera angle just made it look that way.  *runs to check*  Yep, it's definitely curved. Weird. Good thing I don't store much on it.

The next shelf down is for snacky stuff - popcorn, dried fruit, crackers, peanuts, tortilla chips. I added a couple baskets to the shelf so that it's easy to access the food, and still get to whatever may be behind it. Right now, hiding behind the baskets is a large box of goldfish crackers & my food processor.

Next up is mostly canned goods. I added a shelf in the back to create more space, while still being able to reach over the goods stored in the front. I also corralled some spice packets (like taco seasoning) into a small plastic tub, which I think had sandwich meat in it originally - yay for repurposing!  And yes, I do buy mostly store brands...I'm sure there will be a post about that sometime in the future!

Below the canned goods are my noodles, rice, and convenience boxed foods. I also added a smaller shelf in the back here, just like the one on the shelf above it. The noodle containers are new, and I love the organized look they give the pantry!  Please don't judge my Hamburger Helper and mac & cheese boxes...I really do prefer cooking from scratch, but with 3 small children to care for & a hubby who gets 20 minutes to run home for lunch, I don't always have time to cook from a recipe at that time of day!  Large supper meals that leave leftovers in the fridge are my friends.  :-)

The bottom shelf is storage for large baking pans. I picked up the pan rack after seeing one at someone else's house, and I love it! Before that, those pans were all just stacked horizontally on top of one another and it was noisy & sometimes even dangerous when you tried to pull one out from under the rest!  (There are a few missing from the picture, they were dirty...)  Now my pans are neat & orderly!  Behind the pans is some storage of random kitchen items that don't have another home...a rolling pin, a thermos, an extra pitcher, etc.

And last but not least, garbage & recycling. I have a milk crate on the floor to toss recyclables in, which gets taken out to the garage when it's full & sorted into larger recycling bins.  Our garbage can fits nicely in front of the shelving. It hasn't always lived there, it used to just sit out in the kitchen, but it's been great having the garbage in the pantry (oh geez, that sounds awful!) because the door to the basement stairs keeps our doggie from digging in it!

So there you have it - a tour of my newly reorganized, super deep pantry!  Have you faced any challenges in organizing your pantry?  Or if you don't have a pantry, how do you organize your food storage?


  1. Nice job! I like the baskets of snacks and stuff because that's what we did back in college = a crate full of food stuff hidden in the closet.
    I miss my older pantry at my old may well remember the plentiful (not deep) shelves & lovely nook it hid within. I used to stock up a lot and shop only once a month or so (which isn't necessary since I live close to a grocery store of abundance).
    I currently have only 2 cupboards for the dry & canned goods (+ my baking cupboard)so I find that I limit myself from stocking up on much of anything. I usually only have the things I currently use, like a box of cereal, granola bars, PB, hot choc. mix, a few cans of beans or fruit, and a few boxes of quick to make meals (like hamb. helper). I don't need as much pantry space since I feed only myself. I found that when I stocked up for one person, I got lots of dry and canned things that I never got around to using. So, now, I try to actually use up all the things I get before buying anything else.

  2. Yes, you had a great pantry, I can see that you would miss it. And this is only my primary pantry...I have another entire "stockpile" pantry in the basement! I'm very used to having extras of stuff. I'll have to do a post about that soon!

  3. that looks really great!! what a deep closet that is, too!

  4. What a deep pantry you have there! Have you heard of these

    You can purchase pre-made ones too. It would help free up can space and rotate them too!