A walk-in pantry is a luxury area that should never be spoiled by disorganization and messy cooking supplies. Of course, this is how things would be in a perfect world. The real world the rest of us live in has a knack for taking even the most well-intentioned pantry organization efforts into heart-breaking chaos. This is even more likely to be an issue if you have to leave your kid’s snacks in the pantry on a low shelf that they can grab on their own.
Not to fear, the world of closet organization systems has evolved beyond walk-in closets, wardrobes, and innovative shoe closet concepts to include a wide array of versatile walk-in pantry solutions. We’ve collected some of the easiest and most effective for you to consider for getting your walk-in pantry organized and keeping it organized.
Use Lazy Suzan To Make Use Of Pantry Corner Space
The inherent L-Shape of pantry shelf corners can easily turn them into a black hole that sucks up boxes of cereal, canned goods, and jars of olives you don’t remember buying. One of the easiest, inexpensive, and most effective ways to optimize the corner space of your pantry shelves is to install stackable lazy Suzans.
They have the ability to hold a fair amount of weight, which makes them a viable option for storing canned goods and even high-value items. This setup is arguably better suited for high-value canned goods and non-perishable items that you want to be able to find at a moment’s notice. You can then turn the spindle shelf to gain quick access to the back.
Install Adjustable Shelf Brackets
Vertical space is one of the most easily wasted things in a walk-in pantry. Every cubic inch above a can of soup or a box of macaroni & cheese can add up shelf after shelf, robbing you of a lot of functional non-perishable food storage space.
Adjustable shelves can be installed in wood pantry shelves with a simple drill die followed by some heavy-duty oak dowels. Though this is a little too much work for some people and the slightest error in how you line up the drilling die can lead to years of wobbly shelves.
Metal brackets are also a very popular and easy-to-use adjustable shelf solution. It only takes roughly two wood screws per 24 linear inches to install a single adjustable shelf rail. Then little heavy-duty metal clips create anchor points that the shelf above can rest on. They lock firmly into place, yet they can be removed and readjusted at a moment’s notice. Since all the components of a metal rail, adjustable shelf system are machined with exacting precision, you end up with uniform level shelves that don’t wobble.
Use Shelf Dividers
Pantry shelves are flat and typically rectangular in shape. When you put canned goods on them and start moving them around to find what you are looking for the cans toward the back tend to migrate left of right. You end up swearing that there was a can or two of your favorite baked beans left back there, but can’t find them. At least not until you get back from the grocery store with a replacement can.
Shelf dividers can be easily inserted in between grouped liked items. This keeps them from migrating into other canned goods. It also makes for easy rotation to make sure that you don’t have canned goods and boxed non-perishable foods approaching their expiration date without your knowledge.
Some shelf dividers can be locked in place with special hardware brackets. Though there are others that are more versatile and can be easily slid to the left or right. These are handy for times when you might want to change up the volume of non-perishable items over time. It lets you adjust them quickly to hold seasonal or holiday items.
Pull Out Wire Baskets
Let’s say that you aren’t interested in the work that goes into installing adjustable shelf brackets, but you still have a shelf or two that is wasting more than its fair amount of vertical space. One quick and easy solution to this is to install wire baskets under the shelves.
Simple basket sliders can be installed under the shelf. Then the edges of the basket slide into place. This essentially creates a wire drawer of sorts that you can pull out easily. It also lets you see what’s in each basket without having to guess where you put it. They are a great storage option for lightweight food items or dry produce that likes open-air storage such as garlic and shallots.
Adjustable Wine Racks & A Wine Preservation Device
There is no hard and fast rule that says you can’t keep some of your favorite vintages of wine in your walk-in pantry. That way you can have some of your best bottles close at hand for dinner parties and special occasions.
Small stackable and adjustable wine racks can be slid onto a shelf to be held over for days at a time. When you don’t want to keep wine on hand in the walk-in pantry, you can simply pull them out and return your bottles to the wine cellar. The shelf can then be repurposed as you see fit. This sort of system is especially handy around the holiday season when people are more likely to keep wine and other high-value spirits in the pantry for special occasions. Yet you don’t want to have a dedicated year-round spot in your pantry for a 15-year old bottle of single malt scotch.
Wine preservation or “Wine Savers” can also be very handy for keeping some of your best bottles on hand. These are special devices with a tiny surgical-grade needle. You insert them directly into the wood cork, and they extract the wine. Every cubic milli-liter that comes out is then replaced with stable argon to keep the remaining wine free from oxidation.
Install Effective Lighting & Labeling Solutions
Pantry spaces are prone to shadows that keep you from seeing what is stored in the back of each shelf. You end up running into the all-too-common problem of buying duplicate cans and boxes of things you already had in stock, or months later finding a can of expired food with bulging lids and bottoms.
Lighting and labeling systems are key for preventing these forgotten cans and stock rotation problems. A single overhead light tends to cast a lot of shadows, to the point that your own shadow can potentially get in your way of seeing what is at the back of a shelf.
You can get around this by installing simple, lightweight LED lights under the shelves. There are a few models that are very lightweight and low wattage. To the point, that they can stick to the underside of a pantry shelf, and run on simple battery power.
Shelf labels can then be used to correspond with each shelf or each shelf divided section. Even something as simple as the name of a type of soup, or box can be on the label with tally marks next to it. Anytime someone takes one of the items off the list they simply cross it off. This will let you know exactly what you are running low on, and you can add it to the next week’s grocery list.