As a stager often working in owner occupied homes, I have seen my share of pantries – large ones so full not a piece of shelving was visible; small ones so organized they are magazine worthy. But the majority are just, well, sort of functioning. When staging a home to sell, the rule of thumb for closets & cabinets is to keep the space at 75% or less capacity so it appears that your home has ample storage. Two spaces are judged by potential home buyers in a more critical way, master closets & pantries. How would your pantry stack up…a huge asset to your beautiful kitchen or a cluttered space making buyers worry about storage solutions?
I will admit, I am an extremely organized person, a neat freak, borderline OCD…however, my pantry fell into the same category as most…sort of functioning. I knew what I needed to do to make it magazine worthy & extremely efficient, however, it was always was on the back burner. It seemed a bit overindulgent to “design” or “stage” my pantry with cute little baskets and chalkboard labeled canisters. But once my two little boys started to become more self-sufficient in getting their own snacks (and attempting to climb the shelves to reach items), it was pretty clear I needed to tackle the pantry once and for all.
5 Secrets to a Perfect Pantry (for Everyday Life and in Preparation for Home Sale)
- Categorize Everything – For the most part, it is essential to keep items together by their use. For example, the following should be stored together; all cereals & breakfast items, pasta & sauce, baking goods, canned items, crackers & chips, kid’s items, seasonings, soups, etc.
- Keep it Clear – Baskets look pretty but if you can’t see the items, it will be very hard to manage. Additionally, stacking items on top of one another also makes for a non-functional space. Utilizing clear storage bins (without lids), wire baskets & tiered can storage works best.
- Trash It – If you haven’t used it in a year or it has long expired, now is the time to let it go. I know we often have good intentions when purchasing items for a recipe we made once or the large box of granola bars everyone in the family disliked, but an organized & functioning pantry is best served with only items that are used regularly
- Kid Friendly – It is important that your pantry accommodates kids of all ages. For households with toddlers, keeping heavy items such as cans out of reach is essential. Once they become more independent and capable of fixing themselves a quick snack, arranging items most used on a shelf that is within reach makes the most sense. And of course, there are times in which some items are best left hidden and/or on the top shelf
- Be Consistent – Once your pantry is magazine worthy, don’t let you work go to waste. It is critical to keep the order & flow to the shelves each and every day. Running a little low in a category, no worries, keep the bin open (don’t be tempted to put another item in its place). Went a little crazy at Costco, that is OK, follow the rules you established and consider one section on a shelf or even a cabinet/shelf in your utility room or garage that can accommodate occasional overflow.
Whether staging your home to sell or to increase every day function and order in your home, these steps will help you make the most of your pantry space no matter the size.
My Pantry Makeover
- Total cost – $250
- Total time organizing/arranging – 4 hours
- Thoughts after two weeks (and three shopping trips) – I have been able to maintain the order & flow of the shelves. I struggled a bit with one bin when I went a little carb crazy and bought two different loaves of bread and crostini, but still managed to make it work. My kids love the new system and have not climbed the shelves once in two weeks.
Let us help you transform your home today!