Creating An Organized Pantry Cabinet With Tons of Storage

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When we bought our house there was one space that was sadly lacking…. a kitchen pantry. Our original options for food storage were an awkward corner cabinet in the kitchen where you can’t see 90% of the food items or an extremely shallow cabinet in the nearby laundry room. We made it work for a while, but found that when we had a disorganized pantry where it was difficult to see what we had, food waste was inevitable. I knew that I needed to come up with a pantry solution that worked for us without giving up any of the cabinet space in our kitchen.

The first option I considered was purchasing a pre-made pantry cabinet or re-purposing a large armoire into a pantry cabinet such as the below photo I found on Decoholic. Gorgeous right?

I had a space in the kitchen dinette where I could put a freestanding cabinet but I didn’t love the idea of having to give up the furniture and accessories that were residing in that spot. Another consideration was that with the amount of storage I needed, the cabinet would have to be HUGE!

Ultimately I decided on demolishing the shallow upper cabinet, counter top and lower cabinet in my nearby laundry room (see image below) and building a new custom cabinet with the help of my friends at Central Valley Casework.PantryBefore

It’s hard to tell in this picture, but the original top cabinet was set back in the niche and was too shallow. The bottom cabinet and drawers were a decent depth but were not wide or deep enough for the kitchen appliances I wanted to store there. The counter-top wasn’t useful for storing any food long term and ended up being a place we dropped stuff and accumulated clutter.

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When creating the design for our new pantry cabinet, I had to consider what I wanted to store in it and how best to maximize the space I had available. The pantry needed to hold  food and beverage items, some kitchen tools and appliances, baking dishes, vases, wine glasses and wine bottles. In addition, I didn’t want to lose the ability to set prepared food on the counter-top when entertaining. Whew! That’s a tall order for a cabinet to achieve! But I was up to the challenge : )

Here’s how the cabinet turned out with details and tips on pantry cabinet design and organization below.

Pantry Cabinet

The new cabinet protrudes out of the niche a few inches to get the maximum amount of depth. Although this sounds awkward it actually looks just fine since the side of the cabinet is finished and there was plenty of walkway depth available in my laundry room.

Here’s a peek inside the top part of the cabinet:

Pantry Top Cabinet Organization After

Pantry Top Cabinet Organization After

As you can see, the interior adjustable shelves are just deep enough to store plenty of food, but not so deep that my food items get lost back there. I suggest a shelf depth of 14″ to 16″ max. I added more storage on the doors so that I could pick up another 4″ of storage without compromising on accessibility. To achieve this the shelves are 14″ deep and set back in the cabinet to make room for the 4 1/4″ door storage trays and another inch for clearance. This had the added benefit of creating a temporary ledge to set things upon when I have the cabinet open.

On the right most part of the cabinet, I designed an x style wine bottle storage (still empty in image above), tracks to hang extra wine glasses and then 2 normal adjustable shelves for our acrylic outdoor stemware and vases. On the door I now store my paper bags and fabric shopping bags.

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The door storage trays are from Rev-A-Shelf, also inside the upper cabinet are:

InterDesign Cabinet Binz, Bed Bath and Beyond

InterDesign Cabinet Binz, Bed Bath and Beyond

 

Oggi™ 8-Piece Round Glass Canister Set with Spice Jars, Bed Bath and Beyond

Oggi™ 8-Piece Round Glass Canister Set with Spice Jars, Bed Bath and Beyond

I love the clear plastic bins from InterDesign and use them in cabinets all over my house. I can easily see inside them, they stack and are easy to remove for cleaning. For my pantry cabinet I use the 10 x 4 x 5 and the 10 x 8 x 5 versions.

The glass canisters are great for food staples as they look nice, keep food fresh (no more stale cereal), and you can easily see when you are running low on items.

I chose to use stick on chalkboard labels rather than printable labels because I wanted to be able to erase and relabel my canisters and bins quickly. If you do this, get chalk pencils instead of trying to use the thick sticks of chalk.

I use these Charcoal White Pencils 2/Pkg-2B from Amazon {affiliate link}

Charcoal White Pencils, 2pkg-2b, Amazon

Charcoal White Pencils, 2pkg-2b, Amazon

 

The bottom part of my pantry cabinet consists of a series of 5″, 9″ and 14″ high by 18 1/2″ deep drawers and I absolutely love how well these function for our needs. See below for images and descriptions.

 

Pantry Cabinet 1st Drawer Row

Pantry Cabinet 1st Drawer Row

 

The first row of drawers has an interior ledge on a track so we can pull out the drawers and use the top surface to set things upon. It is supported by the full drawer so its very sturdy and we can easily set even relatively heavy items on top (a slow cooker full of chili for instance). This comes in especially handy when we are entertaining and need the extra space to set prepared dishes on prior to serving.

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If you roll back the work surface on the top drawer there is about 3 inches high of drawer space which we use for specialty serving utensils and grilling accessories. The right most drawer we store tea lights, sewing kits, and batteries.

Pantry Cabinet 1st Drawer Row Interior

Pantry Cabinet 1st Drawer Row Interior

 

Pantry Cabinet 2nd Drawer Row

Pantry Cabinet 2nd Drawer Row

 

The second row of drawers is great for storing our baking dishes and ramekins. It is so much easier to access them like this rather than piled on-top of each other in a cabinet.

Pantry Cabinet 3rd Drawer Row

Pantry Cabinet 3rd Drawer Row

The 3rd row of drawers stores our panini maker, waffle iron, lids and heavy vases.

Pantry Cabinet 4th Drawer Row

Pantry Cabinet 4th Drawer Row

The 4th and final row of drawers is the big boy; at 14″ high and 18.5″ deep I can store our huge All Clad Slow Cooker (which I LOVE) and our taller kitchen appliances. The other side is used for beverages.

So that’s it on the details of our new pantry cabinet. We’re really happy with how it turned out, the amount of storage AND accessibility it provides. See the before and after side by side below.

Creating An Organized Pantry Cabinet With Tons Of Storage

Creating An Organized Pantry Cabinet With Tons Of Storage – Before and After

Custom cabinetry construction and installation provided by Central Valley Casework in Fresno, CA. These are our “go to” guys for quality custom casework for both residential and commercial projects. Thanks CVC for helping to make my “designer” vision for a pantry a reality!

I’m Julana, a Fresno California born and bred, self professed design geek. I’m quick to laugh…loudly and I’ll likely trip as I make my grand entrance, completely ruining my cool factor. My life goals include daily doses of love, kindness, humor and of course style.

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