Prince William County is full of standalone houses and townhomes that are perfect for families looking for a homey place close to DC. You’ll get far more room to grow than you would with a row house or condo in the urban center in addition to all the amenities of suburbia that most of us have grown to love. Between the Virginia Oaks Golf Club and the Tin Cannon Brewing Co, Gainesville is a perfect little haven to take root in.
The homes in Gainesville tend to be lucky in total storage space, but there’s one area that almost always needs work: the pantry. A standard walk-in is usually made from plywood shelves and painted with a thin coat of white paint without creativity or intention. Custom pantry design is here to change this reality into one that’s functional, flowing, and aesthetically pleasing. With these top five tips from the pantry designer’s tool belt, you’ll be well on your way to getting the remodel of your dreams.
1. Select High-Quality Materials
When choosing a custom organization company, the quality of their products will, of course, be your top consideration. You want your shelving and drawers to be top-of-the-line, especially with a pantry project. This part of the home sees more wear and tear than any other, making messes almost inevitable. If you get a DIY system with cheaply-made shelving you run the risk of having a hard cleaning experience down the road.
Thermally fused laminate is the best material for use in the pantry. It’s incredibly strong, wear and stain resistant, and unbelievably easy to keep clean. These shelves won’t warp, and you can wipe away spills and crumbs with little more than a damp cloth. So if you accidentally spill Daily Grind’s coffee grounds one morning, you can wipe them away with one swipe. High-quality materials save time and effort and help your pantry last a lifetime.
2. Use Wire Baskets for Items That Don't Stack Well
Most traditional pantries include little more than shelves on shelves. Busy families with kids understand the problem with this basic strategy—plenty of items don’t stack horizontally, vertically, or any way at all. The little bags of Goldfish crackers and fruit snacks that you send with your kids to Buckland Mills Elementary start to completely take over the pantry in short order.
Here’s a key tip: include pull-out wire baskets in your pantry design. Get rid of the dingy plastic bins you’ve been using on your shelves in favor of chrome baskets—they let you see exactly what you have at a glance while still giving your storage a luxurious feel. If you encourage your kids to help out with their lunch prep, make sure these baskets are well within their reach. They can choose one element from each of the three baskets (categorized into fruits, salty snacks, and treats, for example), and ta-da—their lunch is complete!
3. Keep Your Spices in the Pantry
Those of you who use spices often when cooking at home may be surprised by this tip. However, storing these expensive items in a drawer or cabinet next to the stove can actually shorten their lifespan. The heat and humidity from constant cooking can make your spices clump up in their jars, which is why it’s usually best to store them in a cool and dry place. That’s where your pantry comes in.
Hint: don’t give up valuable shelf space in the pantry for your spices, especially if you’re using a plastic storage caddy. This wastes too much space to be useful. Instead, include a pull-out spice rack in your custom pantry design. Building a spice drawer right into the pantry keeps your collection perfectly stored and organized without wasting space. Pulling out two or three jars for a recipe fits perfectly with the mise en place philosophy of cooking and doesn’t take much extra time.
4. Make Good Use of Your Corners
The number one problem we have with a traditional walk-in pantry setup is dusty and dark corners where the last can of corn lingers indefinitely in forgotten bliss. Pantry corners are hard to utilize and even more difficult to organize. You might as well declare these areas of your pantry a dead zone since they’re almost impossible to work with in their typical forms.
Fortunately, custom pantry design offers a valuable solution. A floor-to-ceiling lazy susan is a unique accessory that our clients request more than anything else. With a column of circular rotating shelves in your corner, you’ll have easy access to the cans, pasta, and paper goods that usually get lost. When you return from Harris Teeter or the Super Target on I-66 with a huge haul, you’ll be thankful that you have more space to work with.
5. Think Outside the Box
My final designer’s tip is to be creative with your pantry design. With the custom shelving, wire baskets, pull-out racks, and drawers, you’ll be saving so much space that you can consider storing extra items in your pantry such as stand mixers, blenders, and food processors. You may also want to include thin vertical shelves to store cutting boards and baking sheets, which free up valuable cabinet space in the kitchen proper. This is your chance to dream big!
Kitchen Storage Bliss Comes Custom-Built
These five tips are just the beginning, but they’ll help you create a great foundation on which to build a pantry that’ll keep things organized even in the most chaotic of households. By picking and choosing your favorite hardware and features and incorporating them into a custom layout, you’ll gain a storage space that’s a perfect fit for your life and your needs.
Combining these elements into a functional pantry, however, is the work of an expert designer—so don’t worry if you’re unsure of how to make everything fit together. Creating a functional layout while including all of your desired accessories is what we at Closet America do best, and we’re happy to help you solidify your pantry vision. Schedule your free design consultation today, and one of our design experts will work with you in your own home to create the pantry of your dreams.