How to Plan Pantry Shelving


With careful planning and shelf arrangements, you can fit all your kitchen and food items into a pantry, whatever its size. By itemizing everything that needs to fit into the pantry and arranging your most frequently used items on the more accessible shelves, you can make space for everyday needs as well as seasonal items. The different types of shelving available allow you to customize the shelf arrangement to suit all your pantry needs.

  • Make a list of everything that you want to keep in your pantry. Look around your kitchen and other storage spaces, and write down everything that needs to be in the pantry. Include packaged and fresh food items, small appliances, serving dishes, cleaning supplies such as mops and brooms, and anything that you buy in bulk.

  • Write down whether you use each item daily, weekly, monthly or not very often. Identify seasonal items such as summer barbecue tools or Christmas cookie cutters.

  • Group similar items together, such as cereals or spices. These will be together on the pantry shelves. If you usually have more than one of an item, perhaps through bulk buying, write this down also.

  • Identify the types of shelving that you need for each of the groups of pantry items on your list. Consider pull-out drawers for small items such as spices or small cans, and open shelving for easy access. Include deep shelves for larger pantry items like griddles and roasting pans.

  • Draw a plan for each wall of your pantry, and note the wall's height and width. Draw lines where each shelf will be, spacing them 10 inches apart at first. Use the entire height of the walls for shelving, and include the different types of shelving that you've identified.

  • Label your plan with the items that will be on each shelf. Put seasonal or rarely used items on the top shelves and items used more frequently on easy to reach shelves. Make the pantry kid-friendly by placing items such as healthy snacks or juice boxes on the lower shelving near the pantry door where children can easily reach them. Place shelves high on the wall and leave a gap below for storing tall mops and brooms. Store cleaning supplies on a separate shelf from food items, and at a height not reachable by children. Put larger items toward the back of a shelf.

  • Adjust the shelf spacing on your plan to accommodate large and tall items. Stack storage containers or cans on these shelves for more efficient use of the space. Check that you've included all the items on your pantry list.

  • Calculate the total amount of each type of shelving you need by adding together the different lengths of shelving shown on your plan.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use transparent storage containers, such as wire baskets or transparent plastic boxes, for easy viewing of the contents.
  • Adjustable shelving allows you to rearrange your pantry if your needs change.

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