One of life’s residential truisms is that too much storage space is never enough.
Closets, drawers and garages get crammed full of current, former and forgotten items, and the search for them can resemble a volcanic eruption.
But, there are innumerable ways to tame the storage beast, especially in the kitchen. If you’re building a new custom Florida home or thinking about it, your kitchen pantry is one area that can, and should be, designed to control the chaos.
Don’t fall into the trap of tossing everything in there when you move and think you’ll figure it out later! Moving is hectic enough. That first stock-the-pantry trip to the grocery store shouldn’t devolve to a where-do-we-put-this conversation once you’re back home.
Here are our tips — many of which you can plan ahead — for how to tame your new pantry.
Use containers to tame the mass. Think baskets, lazy susans and bins of all sizes and shapes.
First, measure your new pantry shelves and note those dimensions. Then, think how you or household members use the pantry. Quick pull-out bins containing different kinds of, say, canned soup, saves cooking time and mental space.
Try glass jars for flours, sugars and other grains rather than allowing those ingredients to languish in paper containers and attract bugs or spoiling moisture. This also is a winning strategy if you shop the bulk bins at your local market.
Don’t forget separate storage places for potatoes and onions (sturdy baskets are great).
Light it up
Grabbing a flashlight to search for something because the single-bulb fixture in the pantry ceiling isn’t adequate, is needless frustration. Talk to your design consultant about adding additional light fixtures, or electrical outlets if you’d like to add your own lighting later.
Consider a glass door — even if frosted — for your pantry entrance. It’ll permit light from the kitchen to stream inside.
Store your pantry provisions according to use — cereals in one spot, serving dishes in another. If oatmeal is on the menu every morning, put that container front and center.
Items used only on special occasions — Thanksgiving turkey platter, we’re looking at you — should live on top shelves out of everyday way. They’ll safe and ready for service.
If you have kids, place their snacks and juice boxes on lower shelves where they can find those items. The same thoughtfulness applies if your household contains elderly family members, or those who need extra physical access to the pantry.
That said, a lightweight, easy-to-unfold step stool is never a bad idea either.
Any storage problem can be solved with some think-ahead brainstorming.
Anticipate the 24-roll package of paper towels that your spouse always insists is a great buy at a warehouse store.
Also manage items that clutter the pantry floor — recycling bins, brooms and that 10-pound bag of potatoes.
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