We are currently in the planning stage of a kitchen renovation, which basically involves ripping out lust-worthy pages from 'Home Beautiful', pinning kitchen inspiration, visiting kitchen showrooms, and saying to each other things like 'one day, it'll be awesome to have a breakfast station/more storage/a bigger oven'.... So, still very early days!
Although there are definite changes I'm looking forward to, I also firmly believe in working with what you currently have. I've rearranged things in my current kitchen lots of times to finally reach a storage set-up I am happy with, tweaking here and there to make it work in the most efficient way for our family. Organisation is definitely an on-going process. Today, I am talking about our organised pantry, and the adjustments we made recently that have been big game-changers in the way we use our kitchen!
We have 2 cupboards for our pantry, with 6 deep shelves. This has it's pros and cons - there is a lot of space, but it is harder to reach things at the back, and we can't really reach anything on the top shelves. Of course, pull-out shelves are a great solution for deep shelves, but we didn't want to put any more money into our current kitchen at this time. Here it is - not the most glamorous pantry, but at least everything is sorted!
Our microwave used to live on the second bottom shelf. While it was handy to have it tucked away, we decided it would be more practical on the kitchen bench, as we actually use it a lot. Although it does take up quite a bit of bench space, it has given us much more needed pantry room... so sometimes you just have to weigh up what is more convenient and necessary! It is actually really useful to have the microwave, kettle, coffee machine, coffee and teas all in the one handy spot now.
This bench is where we make breakfast, prepare lunch boxes, have baking sessions with the kids and prep for dinner. It is so handy to have all our breakfast items in easy reach (making mornings run much more smoothly), as well as the most-used items for my regular baking sessions - flours, sugars, coconut. I am still searching for some nicer canisters/containers for the cereal but haven't found anything I love as yet! (But do love to bits my little baking helper!!)
Now, back to the pantry... Nearly all of our produce is in sealed jars - I do this for two reasons. Firstly, I believe transferring food into jars or containers keeps it fresh for a longer amount of time. This step really doesn't take me long at the end of a food shop. And secondly, I like to see at a glance how much of a product is left when I'm writing the shopping list. The jars aren't all matching, they are just ones I have collected over the years. The larger ones are from Ikea, some are from discount stores and others are from House. I got the blackboard labels from Etsy a while ago, and used a chalkboard marker pen to label. The marker rubs off with a damp cloth so it is easy to re-label if you want to change the contents of the jar.
The top shelf holds extra plates and bowls for entertaining, spare jars, some miscellaneous items and a container that holds a variety of nuts. I don't really access this shelf much at all as it is too high to be practical! The next shelf down holds oats, rice, grains, lentils, polenta etc. I only have four large jars because they are a bit awkward and heavy to move around.
I went to 'Store' to get the following organisational items - a 3-tier shelf organiser, twin-turntable and under-shelf basket. As you can see below, the tiered shelf organiser is useful for creating space for things like condiments, tins, jars etc. It took up too much space to have it facing forward so I put it on its side. It has a non-slip surface which is more practical than the wire organisers, which I found to be quite slippery. This third shelf also holds more products for baking, as well as ingredients for this muesli that I make once a week and have eaten every morning for the last 6 years - love it!
The bottom shelf of the upper cupboards has the twin-turntable for cans. It can fit a decent amount on top and it's handy that it spins for easy access as it's right at the back of that shelf. The one thing that irritates me is the bottom level isn't high enough to hold an upright can, so I just use it for smaller cans like tuna, condensed milk etc. This shelf is also where I keep snacks for the kids...and our chocolate stash!#dontjudge! Love this blue basket I got from the local discount store for just $3.50, I use these baskets throughout the kitchen for easy and decorative storage.
In the lower cupboard, we keep the long-life milk and all our 'extra'/stock supplies. The under-shelf basket holds the onions, garlic and potatoes (I put a tea-towel at the bottom of it so the onion and garlic skins don't make a mess everywhere). At the very bottom of the cupboard are the bigger items we need to store such as the slow-cooker and large roasting pans.
We keep sauces in a cupboard above the rangehood, and spices and oils in a cupboard next to the stovetop.... but that's for another post! So that's the pantry tour done! It's working well for us for now...until we get our dream pantry built! :)