These tips will create a functional, organized open shelving pantry for your kitchen to maximize space and keep grocery costs down.
Well, I finally did it. I’ve been going back and forth with the idea of an open shelving pantry for quite a while. Although I love how open shelving looks, I was worried about dust and clutter and it not looking “pretty”. But when I came to the realization that function should almost always overrule looks when it comes to a kitchen, I dove in head first.
Here’s what I was working with to start with, a semi-cheap cabinet with four doors and adjustable shelves. Pretty standard, but it did the job.
Exceeeeept…it was a mess. The shelves were so shallow that everything just got crammed inside with no sense of organization whatsoever. I was constantly buying groceries, putting them away, and realizing that what I had bought was already in there, just stuck in the back corner. Enough of the money-wasting! There’s got to be a better way.
And there is. I introduce to you open shelving. (Cue the dramatic music.)
I purchased some Ikea Ivar shelving systems, painted them, and anchored them to wall so securely that I could do pull ups off the side if I wanted to. (P.S. I don’t want to. But it’s nice to know that I can.)
I’m a bit of a Mason jar fanatic so of course I had to use them all over the pantry. It actually works very effectively because I can see exactly how much of my baking ingredients I have left. Before, when they were stored in their original boxes, I had to open them up to check inventory. but now, I can make my grocery lists much more quickly. In my house, time is pretty stinkin’ valuable.
I considered sticking those cute little labels on the front of the jars, but once I got them all lined up, I knew the labels would take away from the natural beauty of the ingredients.
Instead, I opted to write the contents on the top of the jar. I can still get the nice clean look of jars with no stickers without the risk of mixing up baking soda and baking powder, And if I ever need to switch out a jar for something else, a new pack of jar lids are super cheap at the dollar store. It’s so much easier than peeling off labels or trying to write with a tiny piece of chalk.
Along with pint and quart sized Mason jars, I used a variety of other glass containers. I picked up the pasta jars with bronze lids from HomeGoods for $3.99 each, the gold clasp snack jars from Target for $1 each, and the silver-topped tall jars are actually repurposed popcorn containers from Target. I made sure to keep each shelf categorized to make things easy to navigate.
Remember how I said I was worried that it would look messy and unorganized? Having the shelves open actually prevents that. Now that everything is out in the open, I’ve learned that I have to keep it neat or my surprise houseguests will see a dry goods disaster.
This new pantry has also taught me to be a better grocery shopper. I can’t just hop along through the grocery store just grabbing whatever I’d like and deviating from my list. Now I only buy what I actually need and have space for. I started planning meals, preparing snacks and keeping a binder of cooking times for the pasta and rice that are now in jars. I’ve become so much more organized through this process.
Of course, not everything can look pretty, But that’s where the drawers come in. I keep snacks, seasoning packets, and quick meals tucked away in the drawers. Out of sight, out of mind.
On the other side of the room, where the old pantry cabinet was, I installed another small Ikea Ivar shelving unit. I have limited counter space in my very small kitchen so I was more than excited to get the coffee maker off the counter. Now I have a cute little coffee bar to house all my caffeine needs. I added another drawer to this shelf also to keep my paper coffee filters and other not-so-cute supplies hidden.
Another great storage element we added was this six cube cubby shelf. Our cats love to look out the back window to watch the birds sneak dips in our pool, so I wanted to put a window seat here for them, but since space is limited, we had to keep their food bowls in that spot.
We picked up this cubby unit from Walmart for about $20 and now they have a place to sit without having to find a new home for their food. The cube baskets store their food, treats, and grooming supplies, and our younger cat loves to nap in the basket.
To keep them from accidentally sliding off while jumping up, I lined the top of the shelf with the grippy rubbery shelf liners. Non-skid paint or liners can be pretty pricey, but I got the shelf liner at the dollar store for one dollar. Score!
The final organization addition was this super simple command center. All of this cost less than thirty dollars. Yep, it’s true! The chalkboard/memo board/hook combo was on clearance at Target for $16, the letter holder also came from Target for $9, and the clipboard and notepads are from Michaels for a dollar each.
Having the Command Center right above the trash can is such a great placement. When mail comes inside, the ones that need action go in the metal envelope, the ones that need filed go straight to our office, and the junk hits the can immediately.
I think it’s safe to say I’m obsessed with my new kitchen organization. Ever since the shelves have been up I’ve been cooking at home more, baking more, and shopping smarter. This may be my favorite update we’ve made to the house so far!
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