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Getting the Most Out of Your Pantry Cabinet

Pantry cabinets are a substitute for actual walk-in pantries, a household area that pretty much does not exist anymore. Many older homes have converted the pantry to a mudroom or second entrance to the house through the kitchen. Since most people do not use actual pantries anymore, the pantry cabinet has become quite popular and prevalent. There are a few things to remember so that you maximize your pantry storage space and take full advantage of the space available to you. Pantry cabinets can be kept in many different areas throughout your kitchen. You can have corner pantry cabinets, a pantry cabinet beside the refrigerator, or use a wide cabinet to create a false wall between rooms. There is no right or wrong place to put your pantry storage cabinet as long as it is convenient for you. A tall pantry cabinet ranges from 72 to 96 inches in height. The width also varies, some pantry storage cabinets are as small as 18 inches wide while others have double doors and are up to four or five feet wide.

Double door pantry cabinet available from Target.com for $399

Double door pantry cabinet available from Target.com for $399

No matter what the size, a pantry cabinet’s design should maximize your storage potential. There are several helpful tricks to remember. First, you should put the shelves as close together as possible so that you can add more if needed. Try to store canned good on the same shelf and taller items on the same shelf so that you do not waste vertical space. A general rule you should follow is that there should be about three inches of free space from the top of the goods stored to the next shelf. If you have items on the same shelf that are different heights, then try to put the taller items in the back and the shorter items in the front so it is easier to see what you have as well as get things in and out of the pantry cabinet. This will help to make the most out of the depth of the shelf as well as the height. Another helpful tip is to put all the small loose items you might have in your pantry in a basket or plastic container so they do not spread out and take up too much room. Having them in a container will also make it easier to find what you want when you need it.

There are also a few tips that will make it easier to use your kitchen pantry cabinet and more convenient to get the things you want. First, put large items that you do not need to access often on the bottom. It is annoying to bend over to get things every time you open the pantry so you should put things you do not need very much in the bottom. The bottom shelf is a perfect place for pet food, large bags of rice, or medium to large kitchen appliances. I prefer to put heavier items towards the bottom of the cabinet rather towards the top. This will lower the overall center of gravity and help make the cabinet more stable (e.g. more tip resistant). Another thing you can do to make getting items out of the pantry easier is to install shelves that roll out like drawers or shelves that are lazy Susans. If you can see the food in the back because you have pull out pantry cabinets, it is easier to pick out what you need. If your pantry shelves are drawer like, you could even store canned goods on their sides so that all the labels are visible when you slide out the shelf.

If your kitchen does not have a pantry cabinet then you can look for pantry cabinets for sale at stores like IKEA, Home Depot, Lowes, or any kitchen and bath store. Many models are ready to use out of the box. If turnkey solutions do not meet your needs, there are services that will make custom pantry cabinets to meet your specifications. If you do not want to buy a new kitchen cabinet pantry then you can try to convert some of your existing cabinet space to a pantry. You could move all of your pots and pans to a rack to free up cabinet space. Or, you could move spices and utensils to counter top racks and caddies to free up drawer and cabinet space. If you convert an existing cabinet to a pantry cabinet then just follow the same organization and space utilization tips above to make the space as functional as possible.

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