I don't know about you, but my pantry is a constant source of difficulty. Despite my best efforts, it NEVER looks remotely like the pantries I see on Pinterest and Instagram. It's really quite a nice pantry - that's not the problem - it's just never all that organized! I've followed all the tips, bought all the fancy doo-dads and give my label-maker addiction free rein...and it's still not where I'd like it to be. Surely it's not just me! It's a constant battle, but here are a couple tips that have brought me minor victories. :)
Tip 1: It's Okay
It took me YEARS to figure this one out - it's OK if your pantry doesn't look like the photos. If you look closely at many of the photos I see online, it's clear that real people don't actually own those pantries. Or, at least, not real people with real husbands/children. (I've never known anyone to own four of each of three kinds of canned goods). Be realistic! If your pantry doesn't work for you and your family, it isn't much of a pantry anyway. PRO TIP: Focus on one thing that would make a difference. For me, it was getting all the appliances out of the pantry. Once they found a new home, I could put larger items on the shelves so they weren't on the floor...then even my short self could reach the top. Game changer!
Tip 2: Decanting
The number one thing all those "Pinterest Pantries" have in common is they remove all the packaging and put everything in containers. It's a great idea - to a point. Most pantry staples have a ton of "air" in their packaging, and air just takes up space. But decanting a million different things separate containers doesn't always make sense. Pick the items you use the most - flour, spaghetti noodles, favorite cereals - and decant those. The 6 boxes of random-shaped pasta? Use a basket to contain the boxes. PRO TIP: If you do use containers to decant pantry staples, try to find containers that are square and stackable. They take up so much less space!
Tip 3: Use Every Inch
Pantries are rarely a vast oasis of extra space. It's important to utilize every inch! You can seriously increase the available space by hanging an organizer on the back of the door or adding extra layers of shelving with risers. One thing I did that's really helped is adding wooden crates on the floor - I attached casters on them, so they roll under the shelving. Great for chips, dog food and extra beverages! PRO TIP: Don't be afraid to make your pantry work for you by using it as an extension of your kitchen as opposed to just a pantry. I know a lovely woman who keeps all her pots and pans in her pantry, freeing up a large kitchen cabinet for pantry items. She says they are easier to reach in the cabinet, which I thought was a lovely idea.