The heart of the home is the kitchen, and arguably the most important part of the kitchen is the pantry – it’s the source of much of our food, after all! And whether it’s well organised or not can significantly impact the amount of food we waste, our desire to whip up culinary delights and even our stress levels as we set foot in the kitchen. In this guide, we take you through everything from the different types of pantries available to how to whip yours into shape and where to source inspiration. Let’s dive in!
What’s your type?
Whether you’re working with what you’ve got, visualising your dream pantry, or searching for ideas, the most common types of pantries you’ll find in the kitchen are:
- Butler’s pantry
Also known as a scullery, these function as a secondary space adjacent to the main kitchen. Historically, these were the domain of service staff, allowing them to prepare food and wash dishes without disrupting guests. These days, they don’t often come with tuxedo-wearing staff but are used to house larger appliances and provide extra storage and bench space for food prep while keeping the main kitchen clutter-free.
- Walk-in pantry
A walk-in pantry is all about storage. Often, with floor-to-ceiling shelving, this differs from a butler’s pantry in that it’s more like a wardrobe that is closed off once you’ve got what you need.
- Corner pantry
These are great space maximisers, utilising corner storage that might otherwise be difficult to access. These can either be built into your kitchen or purchased as a freestanding unit nestled outside of the kitchen’s footprint – should you need extra storage.
- Slide or pull-out pantry
A relatively new addition to the world of pantries, these systems mean you’ll no longer end up with expired products hiding away at the back of your shelves. The entire pantry unit is pulled out (like a draw), providing easy access and visibility.
- Wall pantry
Fully integrated into the kitchen units, these can take up an entire wall or part of a wall within the kitchen. Seamlessly blending into the cabinetry, they maximise vertical space and can even include full-length storage space for things like brooms and mops.
- Freestanding Pantry
These cabinets are not built into the kitchen structure and can be moved within the kitchen or adjoining spaces. This makes them popular additions to kitchens that are light on storage.
Tips to pantry perfection
From functionality to aesthetics, a meticulously planned pantry is life changing. But where do you start? Regardless of the size or type of pantry you’ve got, here’s how to kick off your journey to pantry perfection.
- Clean and declutter
It’s always best to start with a clean slate, so the first step is to pull everything out of your pantry and get ruthless! Check expiration dates, let go of unwanted, obscure ingredients and focus on ensuring everything you’ll put back in is edible. But don’t put anything back in just yet – give it all a good wipe down and proceed to step 2.
- Evaluate your needs
Is your current pantry working for you? Is food getting lost and neglected at the back? Is everything easy to access and easy to find? Do you have enough space? Look at how well the area works for you and think about what changes you could make to increase functionality. This leads us to storage…
- Upgrade your storage
From baskets to door-mounted racks, stacking shelves and modular systems, storage options are as vast as the contents of your pantry! Getting your storage right helps keep things easily to hand and grouped together – making cordon bleu sessions much more achievable.
- Assess your lighting
Late-night pantry visits aside, adequate lighting adds to the functionality and aesthetics of your pantry. LED light strips and motion sensor lighting are great options if you’re starting from scratch or add battery-powered magnetic sensor lights if you need to amp up your current lighting situation.
- Categorise to organise
From snack stations to bulk foods, baking supplies, grains, and canned goods, designating specific areas in your pantry to different categories can make finding what you need a breeze. If you’ve got kids, an easily accessible snack station can take the pressure off constant snack prep. Other designated spaces for things like canned goods and bulk foods make kitchen time more efficient – meaning less wastage and fewer double-ups.
- Containers and labelling
Clear, airtight storage containers in uniform shapes and sizes are perfect for dry goods. Not only can you see what you’ve got at a glance, but you’ll be keeping foods fresher, and you’ll find keeping them neat and organised is easier. And if you’ve got a labelling machine, put it to work by labelling containers (and shelves) – and if not, grab some chalkboard paint or chalk-friendly labels. Your family will have no excuse not to return things where they belong!
- Add some styling to the functionality
Open the pantry door to a thing of beauty by adding strategic styling touches like a considered vignette, grain-filled glass canisters (rather than plastic packets), and some beautiful storage baskets to house smaller items. If you’re lucky enough to have a butler’s pantry, you can even incorporate an indoor plant or a decorative runner rug.
Where to find the pantry of your dreams
There are plenty of places to look for a new pantry or kitchen accessories, if you need to start with some visual inspiration you can pin your perfect pantry on Pinterest it’s loaded with ideas and inspiration, simply search pantry, pantry organisation, or pantry inspiration and pin your favourites. Here are our top destinations to start creating your perfect pantry:
- Repurpose and restore
A must-do for any pantry makeover to increase the functionality and aesthetics of your pantry is a visit to Ikea or Kmart they offer plenty of affordable storage products like baskets, tubs and turntables, for more comprehensive modular shelving try your local Bunnings.
If your current pantry is beyond help, it might be time to rip it out and start fresh. If a new kitchen is out of the question, you could try your hand at DIY pantry building with some of these products.
Pantry perfection – it’s personal
Creating the ultimate pantry is personal. It comes down to achieving something that caters to your needs and preferences and, of course, works within the space available. If you’ve realised your dream pantry isn’t within reach in your current home, talk to the team at your local First National Real Estate office. They can help you find a home that’s right for you, perfect pantry, and all!