walk in closet fmoo~smons

Simple Pantry Organization for Busy DC-Area Families

5 minute read, by Closet America, on May 3, 2018

With custom design and expert tips renovate your pantry in the most practical and simple way possible. Try this three-stage process to spruce up your kitchen storage space.

Is your current pantry driving you crazy? Maybe you have stock wire shelving and it’s causing your food containers to tip over. Maybe your shelves bow and sag under your canned goods. If your pantry is spilling into other closets, your shelves are so deep they’re practically unusable, or you want to prevent the daily disaster of little hands rifling around for a snack, you’ve come to the right place.   

Instead of browsing Pinterest for hours, hunting simple pantry organization tips, try our three-stage process. Together we’ll empty, refill, and renovate your pantry in the most practical and simple way possible. With custom design and expert tips, we’ll help you simplify, streamline, and spruce up your kitchen storage space.

custom pantry organization

Stage One: Empty your pantry

Whether you’re investing in a custom pantry upgrade or not, this is the place to start to get your pantry into shape. You simply have to remove everything from the pantry space, lay it all out, and learn exactly where your problem areas are. The key to making this process quick, easy, and painless is getting the house to yourself for an afternoon. Work quickly and don’t think too long about any particular step. Put on some good music or your favorite Netflix show, pour yourself a glass of wine and get to work:

  • Cull. Take items off the shelf one at a time. Check the expiration date. If an item is past its “best when used by” date, toss it. From there, decide which items you still use frequently. Divide the keepers into their appropriate categories, grouping multiples together, and place the leftovers in a box to donate to the Capital Area Food Bank. One man’s clutter is another man’s Sunday dinner—so it’s important to give where we can.
  • Clean. Wipe down your pantry shelves and the items you plan to keep. This is your prime, once-in-five-years chance to finally get that room clean. If grime or cooking dust has been a problem in the past, or if this job takes longer than you’d like, consider using a neutral non-stick shelf paper that you can easily remove and discard the next time you need to clean the shelves. A custom walk-in pantry from Closet America is so easy to clean, though, you probably won’t need this step.
  • Meal plan. The final action in this stage involves looking at your remaining stash and developing a plan of action. Notice which items are soon to expire. Consider which categories are the largest. Then, keep a running list of meal ideas you can cook in the next two weeks to clear out as much as possible. Have an overabundance of spaghetti? Plan to make a chicken parmesan casserole tomorrow night and prepare an extra for the freezer. Have way too much canned corn? I smell a big pot of chowder on the horizon.

walk in pantry

Stage Two: Install a custom pantry

So far we’ve reduced household food waste by giving to those in need. We’ve planned delicious meals our family will enjoy that use up our pantry surplus. We’ve cleared the dust of cooking adventures, leaving our pantry (and our food containers) cleaner than ever. Now it’s time to consult the experts. The first step in getting a gorgeous custom pantry is scheduling a free design consultation. By hiring a custom design company, you’ll get a gorgeous, durable, and high-quality pantry organization system that’s perfectly designed to fit your family’s needs.  

Next, you’ll meet with a design expert in your home, develop a plan for your new custom reach-in pantry layout, and the pros will measure, cut, and deliver each precise component directly to your door. Now it’s time for installation. A really stellar custom design company will have their own in-house installation team, in full uniform, completing this important work. No contractors, and no DIY weekends for you and your not-so-handy spouse. That’s the beauty of custom pantry organization!

When the installation is complete, you’ll no doubt be amazed by how your new pantry looks and feels. When your custom designer returns to your home to follow up and make sure you’re thrilled with the end result, they’ll also share tips on how to keep your new system organized for years to come. When you partner with Closet America, this is a relationship you’ll have for the life of your home.

custom pantry installation

Stage Three: Fill your shelves

You’re in the final stretch! Either with your designer or on your own, you’ll fill the shelves of your pantry with your newly-culled collection of nonperishable food items. Use post-it notes to identify where each of your categories will live, making sure your most frequently used items are within easy reach. With everything in its place perfectly, your pantry will already look amazing. But here are a few extra tips to bring your storage space to the next level:

  • Consolidate. This is your chance to reduce even more space! Get your hands on one or two plastic storage bins. Dump snacks into one bin and label it accordingly, discarding their previous boxes. Pile all your loose baking supplies (marshmallows, bags of brown sugar, muffin liners) in a separate bin. Don’t keep two boxes of the same breakfast cereal—instead, combine into one.
  • Stacks, not rows. The most simple rule for ongoing pantry success: keep everything visible at a glance. As long as you can clearly see each product, feel free to stack items vertically. But you’ll want to avoid rows at all costs. Only create rows of like items (identical beverages or canned goods) on your shelves, so you can clearly see your entire collection at once.
  • Go clear. If you happen to have a set of glass or plastic containers for the pantry, now’s the time to use them! Pour your baking soda, quinoa, powdered sugar, and chocolate chips into same-size containers and label them with the product name, brand (if needed), and expiration date. Don’t forget to cut the cooking instructions off the original packaging and tape to the bottom or back of each container. Place them on your shelves in a single row, and you’ve got a sophisticated pantry storage solution that lets you easily see what (and how much) you have to work with.

custom pantry baskets

The Key to Simple Pantry Organization

If the pantry is your biggest organizational pain point, you know that monthly clear-outs and acrylic turntables only go so far toward taming the clutter monster. A gorgeous, custom-designed pantry is the cornerstone for lasting success in all your kitchen organization endeavors. No more hunting in vain through the overcrowded shelves for a can of tomatoes. No more spending extra money on items you already have. No more ugly wire shelving causing all your containers to tip over and spill. This is, by far, the most practical way to get your pantry into shape (and keep it that way) for years to come.

Interested in learning more? Reach out today and schedule a free design consultation with one of Closet America’s design experts. We’ll work together to help find the solution that will keep everything organized for the life of your home. Together, pantry organization becomes simple, fast, and easy—and we didn’t even have to pull out the chalkboard labels and mason jars to get it done.


Image 2 by Flickr user Salvation Army USA West


Closet America was able to work with my unique circumstances in order to give me the best use of my space.

Amy B.,
Fairfax Station, VA

Let’s Start Your Project

Whether you’re interested in a custom-designed closet, office, pantry, or garage, starting your project couldn’t be easier. Just fill out the attached form or give us a call to schedule your free in-home design consultation. You can download our brochure and you’re welcome to visit our Landover Maryland showroom, to see how beautiful our custom-designed organization systems look in person. We want you to experience the Closet America difference and see how we build organizing solutions for life.

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