The pantry just might be the hardest working corner of the home. This humble little closet off the kitchen is called upon to store everything from cans of beans to reusable grocery bags to the stand mixer you only use twice a year. Here are 21 brilliant tricks to help you transform your pantry from an unsightly mish-mosh of bakeware, spices and snacks to a gorgeously organized spot that will make you look forward to unpacking groceries and preparing meals. You may even start leaving the door open from time to time.
1. Fill laundry bags with garlic, onions and potatoes: Produce will stay fresh when stored in hanging laundry bags. Plus, the mesh lets you keep an eye on inventory.
2. Corral cutting boards and cookie sheets with tension rods: Create a customized home for anything that needs to be stored vertically in the pantry.
3. Double your space with lazy Susans: Left unchecked, the corner of the pantry becomes a sort of Bermuda triangle. Lazy Susans let you easily see what’s hiding back there.
4. Hang paper towels in a shoe rack: Don’t surrender valuable shelf space to paper towels.
5. Keep open snacks fresh with hanging clips: Half-eaten bags of chips and pretzels will stay crisp and out of the way when you fasten them with hanging clips.
6. Use magazine files for foil and plastic wrap: If you spend a bit of time on Pinterest, you’ll soon learn that there are very few problems that can’t be solved with a magazine file. In the pantry, they’re perfect for holding boxes of foil and plastic wrap.
7. Pin Baggies to the wall: So simple, yet so brilliant. File under: “Why didn’t we think of this?”
8. Protect bread in an under-shelf basket: No more smooshed bagels!
9. Stick frequently used recipes on mason jars: Whipping up a stack of pancakes is a snap when the recipe is in plain view (no need to create visual clutter with half-empty cardboard boxes!).
10. Hang measuring cups on food storage containers: No more hunting for a scoop for the oatmeal before you’ve even had your coffee.
11. Keep cords under control with command strips: It’s the little things that keep a pantry neat and organized.
12. Install a custom canned-food storage system: This is a must-have for families who stock up at Costco.
13. Keep trash bags within reach: No more digging under the sink for a trash bag — only to discover the box is empty.
14. Create your grocery list as you go: A chalkboard wall inside the pantry means you can make a note as soon as you use the last of the pasta (or black beans or pancake mix, etc.). Don’t forget to snap a pic of your oversized list before you head to the grocery store!
15. Store frequently used kitchen tools in plain sight: You’ll be able to get dinner on the table more quickly when all of your go-to items are hanging neatly on a peg board.
16. Stack sports bottles on a wine rack: Not just for vino anymore — a wine rack is perfect for keeping all of those sports bottles from toppling over.
17. Contain plastic bags in a Lysol container: Upcycle an empty Lysol wipes container to keep plastic bags from taking over your pantry. Remember, plastic bags can’t be recycled in Chicago, so hang on to them until you can reuse.
18. Build an after-school snack station: Prevent hungry kiddos from pillaging your perfectly organized panty. Stock their favorite treats in a rolling cart that you can take out at snack time and roll away before dinner.
19. Tame grocery bags with file folders: Mount a few plastic file folders to the pantry wall for a convenient spot to collect bags until your next trip to the store.
20. Angle wire shelving: This smart hack will keep cans organized and easy to grab.
21. Install a cool door: Now that your pantry is organized to perfection, don’t hide it behind a basic white door. Let your new-and-improved pantry serve as a beautiful focal point in the kitchen by installing a funky door that complements your décor.
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