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I have a large built-in pantry in my kitchen, that is about as deep as my fridge and very wide. There are only 3 shelves in it, so there's lots of vertical space that isn't being used effectively.<br><br>
I'm looking for ideas in how to make full use of that space and keep everything organized and easy to find. It's so easy for things to get lost way in the back of the pantry.<br><br>
How is your pantry organized? Do you have a system in where you put stuff, and how you keep it clean, neat and tidy?
 

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In a pantry like yours, I would utilize stacking baskets and smaller shelving units to organize items. If you have an appropriate door, hang a set of small baskets to hold spices or packets or other such size items.<br><br>
Our pantry is cabinet-deep, but full height (ceiling to floor) and has 3 shelves behind the upper door and 3 shelves behind the lower door.<br><br>
1. Our top shelf is for items we use "rarely" (picnic caddy, paper napkins, soft-sided cooler, and some other such items we use more in the summer than winter) and the left-front is next-up cereal. I can reach the front edge (barely), but use a chair or stool for the rest.<br><br>
2. Next is our spices and herbs and supplements. I have a two-tiered Lazy Susan about halfway back on the left (it also covers the middle). That holds all the jars of spices and herbs that fit size-wise. Easily reached by me and DH. All the way back is big containers of items to refill small containers. Challenging to get, but encourages us to clean that shelf and possibly another 1-2 shelves when we refill items. Along the right side is supplements with the most used in front working back to least used and/or largest container. In front of the Lazy Susan on the left (mostly out of the way) is a large container of taco seasoning and a couple packets of something (???). We mostly create our own spice mixes, so these need to be in front or we'll forget all about them when we actually want to use a packet for guests. Fresh garlic is right in front of the Lazy Susan and we grab it first in most cases.<br><br>
3. This is the no-cooking-required shelf and contains bread (all kinds), cereal for consumption, jam (unopened), peanut butter, raisins, nuts, snacks, etc. (Most easily accessed shelf!)<br><br>
4. This is the cooking-required shelf. Rice, pasta, beans, soup, potatoes, etc. These items are used a lot and could be swapped with the above shelf for convenience (opening one door for spices and cooking items), except most of these items are in heavy glass jars and are easier to remove from this shelf and would do less damage if one were to fall.<br><br>
5. This is the baking shelf. Flours, sugars, oils, baking soda, baking powder, etc. Sweet potatoes usually end up on this shelf.<br><br>
6. This shelf is mostly bakeware. Cookie sheets (only spot they fit), cake pans, pie pans, cooling racks, rolling pin, cookie cutters, etc. I have our liquor all the way in the back because we just don't use it much. (It used to be on the top shelf in the back and NEVER got used. At least we see it now whenever we grab a cookie sheet, which is often.) I already gave away the sealed bottles to people who will use it. We do like margaritas and have those ingredients, plus other random things. Onions usually end up on this shelf.<br><br>
Syrup, honey, and something else (?) floats around on whichever shelf has room. Those fit into several categories, so it works.<br><br>
*I* keep it all tidy. Left to his own devices, DH would have this system in shambles in a week. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> He cooks more than I do and shops for groceries more than I do. He tends to just shove things wherever they'll fit right near the front of each shelf. DRIVES ME BONKERS! If you take the time to put it away correctly, there is a lot more room and you can actually see nearly everything. I keep it neat and tidy simply by putting things on the appropriate shelf. When the shelves start overflowing, I know it is time to empty the shelves onto the counters and table and floor and wipe everything down and return items to the proper shelf. DH & DD always help and it is actually kind of a fun family activity. We meal plan to use up certain items and get creative with food in general. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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My pantry is supposed to be organized?<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy"><br><br>
We have a small pantry out in the uninsulated section of our back hallway - so anything that doesn't might temp. differences goes out there. The stuff that could freeze/mold goes in the cupboards in the kitchen. That being said, I used to be organized a lot more than I am now. And this thread just reminded me that I should probably do some spring cleaning, 2010 in 2010 decluttering on that back hall pantry...at least it counts towards my total!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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Could you perhaps add additional shelves in there? If not possible, I would use hanging storage wire baskets to maximize the space. I use my Tupperware storage containers - they offer various sizes, depths, heights, etc. to help you maximize your space (the Modular organizers). I am not a huge plastic person, but these Modular Mates have saved my hide - we move every 2-3 years and each house has been SO VERY different. In the last house I could stacked my Modular Mates high since we had only a few shelves with tons of space between them. In this house, our shelves are not spaced out so generously, so I do not need to stack so high.<br><br>
My pantry (a closet-style with great depth, but the shelves are half-depth - such a waste!, but it is a rental, so we deal) is just for food (not spices or baking things though). I have my Modular Mates on a couple of the shelves, one shelf has breakfast foods, one shelf houses the snacks, which I keep in 2 matching baskets - they look pretty and I can simply pull down the baskets when the kids want a snack and they can choose without making a huge mess!
 

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It sounds like pull-out shelves would work really well in that space -- something with multiple levels... <a href="http://www.organizeworld.com/kitchen-organizers/kitchen-cabinet-organizers/pull-out-shelves.html" target="_blank">http://www.organizeworld.com/kitchen...t-shelves.html</a> on that idea.<br><br>
Also, we tend to buy bulk quantities of things... so we might have 15 jars of black beans... so I will stack them all so that only one can shows from the front and I know the only thing behind it is more black beans. Well, theoretically that's how it's supposed to be, but DH & DS like to mess with my 'system' <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 
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