Better Home Improvement for the Kitchen: Making Your Pantry Functional and Practical

If the kitchen is the center of the home, the pantry is the center of the kitchen. Having an organized pantry makes everything that happens in the kitchen easier. There are so many ways to make the most of your pantry space, and there are baskets, bins, drawers, and containers of every type.

But in your quest for order, don’t forget about decor. A pantry can and should be both practical and functional. Don’t be afraid to let your style shine bright from behind the cereal boxes. Feel free to paint and label to your heart’s content and even hang a fabulous lighting fixture.

Pegboard has long been a popular storage option in kitchens. It’s also great in the pantry to cover an empty wall opposite shelving to collect pots, pans, colanders, and other utensils. Paint it to match your decor, and for even more fun, go the extra step of outlining items in a coordinating paint pen to make a funky, artistic, and highly organized statement.

Mason jars are a practical and beautiful way to help organize foodstuffs. Sold for around $10 to $15 a case, they come in sizes appropriate for everything from pasta to dried herbs. Use them to store your snacks, dried beans, rice, and pretty much everything else. You’ll be able to see exactly what you have and the display of colors and textures will be pleasing to the eye.

Baskets are a go-to storage solution for just about anywhere in the house. In the pantry, they are a great way to keep small items organized. Stash all your teas into one, seasoning envelopes into another. Loose bags of snacks start to get jumbled in a pantry by the time they are halfway gone, but gathered together in a basket, they stay neat and easily accessible.

Small jars, like the ones used for herbs and spices, are dif?cult to store in a pantry without wasting a lot of valuable space. Mount a sheet of stainless steel to the wall and glue magnets to the lids of small jars that you can fill from larger containers and then label. The jars’ uniformity and ease of organization makes a pretty display and brings calm to the chaos.

Slide one or several under-shelf baskets onto your existing pantry shelf and you add another layer of storage. Use one to hold your foil and plastic wraps, and keep them from getting lost in the shuf?e. Storing bread in one will protect it from getting squashed. Under-shelf baskets are also great for keeping small items collected neatly.