The Professional Builders’ Pantry Guide: What They Think of a Pantry?

Even if you have a pantry, you might not feel as if all of your food-storage prayers have been answered. Sure, having some extra shelves outside of your cabinets is convenient, but why can’t you ever find what you’re looking for?

We’ve talked a lot about using bins, organizers, and plenty of labels to keep a pantry organized. While these are useful tools, you should also consider the shelves themselves, specifically the depth and placement of each one.

Professional builders have long relied on pantry guides to help equip their pantries with the most reliable, efficient, and cost-effective materials. From selecting countertops and cabinets to choosing the best shelving units and organizational products, pantry guides provide invaluable insight into what professional builder considers essential for their pantries.

Not only do these pantry guides allow for efficient and correct planning regarding pantry design, but they also provide a foundation upon which to build a productive pantry space that will serve its purpose as an area for convenient food storage and preparation for years to come.

Because Bienal Closets designs pantries for both consumers and builders, we thought our designers should share their ideal pantry shelf measurements, pantry guides and tips. Here’s what he thinks you should know.

1- The Pantry Shelves Shouldn’t Be Too Deep

White pantry shelves with food jars and kitchen utensils
Pantry shelves

Most pantry shelves have a standard depth of 16 to 20 inches. To make those items easier to access, the highest shelf should be shallower, perhaps 12 inches deep. If you notice that items are being pushed to the back and forgotten about, consider installing shallower shelves. If a typical pantry shelf is too high, you can install a lower shelf. This can be done by simply lowering the existing shelf. Or you can install a pair of wooden brackets that will hang the shelf at a different level. This will create a dramatic effect and help you see all the items on your shelves. For example, if your current pantry shelf is about 10 inches above the floor, installing a pair of brackets will lower it about 2 inches, creating a much more open look.

The pantry should be organized in a way that facilitates finding and using items quickly and easily. Pantry shelves that are too deep obstruct visibility, making it harder to locate pantry items. To ensure easy navigation of pantry shelves, pantries should not exceed a depth of 18 inches. A pantry guide can be applied to pantries with shelves to ensure all pantry items fit the optimal shelf depth requirements for efficient pantry organization. Following these simple tips will save time and energy when stocking and organizing pantries.

2- You Need Pantry Floor Space

Pantry with a window and wall cabinets with open shelves
Pantry with plenty of floor space

The key with the bottom shelf is to make it wide enough to fit a few large containers. These types of shelves are perfect for pantries, mud rooms, and even laundry rooms. They make it easy to access everything you need without having to dig through a cluttered cabinet. Additionally, they work well for small items that tend to fall through the cracks. If you have kids, you know what happens when they try to sneak snacks during snack time. It’s inevitable that some stuff will fall through. The best thing you can do is create a bottom shelf.

Typically, the bottom shelf is 20 to 24 inches from the floor. If you need to raise it even higher, go ahead. This allows you to store bulk items such as pet food, paper towels, or even crates on wheels (which essentially become rolling drawers).

Maximizing pantry storage can be challenging but worthwhile. To get the pantry of your dreams, use a pantry guide to narrow down what you need to store and what organization options are available. Use measures like tall shelving, dividers, and other options to help maximize pantry floor space while still allowing room for the items you need.

Consider labeling pantry sections if the pantry is frequently used by many different people or family members so that everyone knows where everything belongs and a system of organization is established. With the right pantry guide and dedication to organizing items in an efficient way, pantry floor space can become a valuable commodity in any home.

3- There Are Magic Numbers to Figuring Out Pantry Shelf Heights

Pantry shelves open for both sides that has kitcen items
Deciding pantry shelf heights

Raise or lower the shelves as needed depending on what you store on each one. Allow at least two inches of clearance above the shelf’s tallest item. This makes each item more accessible and reduces wasted space. Here are a few general guidelines.

  • Allow 6.5 to 7 inches for a canned goods shelf.
  • Cereal boxes should be 14 to 16 inches wide.
  • Allow 18 to 20 inches for large items, such as potato bins.

Figuring out the optimal pantry shelf heights can be a tricky task, but with a few key considerations and measurements, you can achieve the perfect combination of convenience and efficiency for your pantry.

Consider what items will be stored on each shelf and how often they need to be accessed. Then take a measurement from the floor to where you want the items to align. When deciding on distances between shelves, consider spacing that would allow the tallest item to fit comfortably with room for air circulation.

4- Pay Extra Attention to a Few Key Pantry Shelves

Dark wooden pantry shelves with preserved food jars and canned foods
Key points for pantry shelves

Put your most frequently used items on the shelves between the waist and eye level because they are the easiest to reach. These are the shelves to use if you’re only going to use a few bins or organizers. People will put things back in the same place they found them this way rather than just putting them near the front of the shelf.

Proper organization of a pantry or storage space is crucial for efficiency and maintaining food safety. With a system in place, it can help to quickly identify when food items need replacement, as well as allow for easier access to the things you need quickly. In particular, when stocking a pantry, it is important to pay extra attention to the first few shelves; these are often the most convenient places for frequently used items such as jars of condiments and spices.

Additionally, placing refrigerated items at an appropriate height and near the front of the cooler can decrease the time spent scouring through items to find what is needed. With organized shelves, efficient use of space, and proper placement of refrigerated foods, you can ensure everything will be in its right place.

Pantry glass jar dark wood shelf organize
The professional builders' pantry guide: what they think of a pantry? 11

5- Don’t Be Afraid to Rearrange the Pantry

White cabinets and shelves containing food jars and kitchen utensils
Rearranging the pantry

Once you’ve established your system, you’ll want to revisit it on a regular basis. One of our designers says, “Over the years, my wife and I have been delighted to witness our pantry‘s remarkable transformation.” If you have children, for example, you may (or may not!) want to keep snacks accessible to them. You’re also wasting valuable real estate if the snack shelf now has eight inches of clearance space. Every now and then, it’s worthwhile to take a step back and reevaluate.

It can be intimidating to tackle a pantry reorganization, but it can bring so many benefits. Not only is it easier to find items when you open the pantry door, but many people also experience a sense of accomplishment in knowing that the job is finally complete. Rearranging your pantry leads to more space, better organization, and the ability to discover forgotten items tucked away at the back of shelves. If a cluttered pantry is causing stress, take a few steps today towards cleaning it out and creating an orderly system for storing food and cooking ingredients.

6- Learn From Pantry Guides

White open wall shelves above handless cabinets
Check pantry guides

The game changer is knowing what you want in your custom pantry. For professionals, solid shelving was just the ticket because packages would often spill open and fall through wire shelves below, causing huge messes that could be cleaned up easily with a few simple items from around the house!

Determining what they want and need can be essential. When considering a custom pantry design, ask yourself important questions such as ‘how often do I use certain items?’ or ‘how much am I willing to invest in improving this space?’. Then make a list of priorities according to this criteria, starting with how you’d like the space to function and what type of pantry dividers and shelves would suit your lifestyle. With a clear idea of what purpose your dream pantry will have, you can create the perfect layout for your home.

Pantry shelve with preserved food jars
Pantry helps declutter your kitchen

Overall, there are a few key things to keep in mind when organizing your pantry;

  • First, the shelves shouldn’t be too deep.
  • Second, you need some floor space in order to store bulkier items.
  • Third, there are magic numbers to figuring out shelf heights.
  • Fourth, Pay extra attention to a few key pantry shelves.
  • Fifth, don’t be afraid to rearrange the pantry every now and then.

By following these simple tips, you can keep your pantry organized and functional for years to come!

Windowed pantry with wall shelves full of jars
Pantry guides will help

What is the best way to organize your pantry?

The first step is to sort through all of your items and categorize them. This allows you to quickly assess the items that need the most storage space or attention. You could organize by cuisine or item type (oils, condiments, etc.), or for convenience purposes, you can also organize based on the expiration date. The key here is to create a system that works best for you! Once everything has been sorted and categorized, start compiling all similar items together, so they are easy to find when needed.

Another great step towards having an organized pantry is implementing store-bought shelf organizers like baskets and bins, allowing easy stacking without worrying about later disarray. Alternatively, if budget constraints don’t permit purchasing these types of organizing materials, repurposing jars from previous uses (such as those used for storing cookies) can also make efficient containers for snacks or small food items like nuts and seeds in your pantry.

Additionally, if extra bags such as rice or flour sacks are lying around, consider dedicating one large bin to them; this will keep them separated from other food while still conserving space in your pantry!

You should also ensure that all stored products are properly labeled with their contents (portion size/amount) to avoid wasting time searching each respective bag/box later on when preparing meals – this will save precious time during meal prep chaotic moments! Finally, once everything has been sorted into categories and set up accordingly, take time every month (or depending upon usage frequency) to rearrange shelves if necessary – this would help spot any changes due to expiry dates, etc., allowing greater efficiency throughout the month ahead!

How do I organize my pantry like a professional?

  1. Take Inventory: Before starting any organizing process, take an inventory of your pantry. This helps you discern what needs organizing and purging and creates an awareness of potential gaps in food supplies or items that are frequently used and should always be stocked up on.
  2. Purge Overstocked Items & Expired Food: Before any attempts at organization begin, it’s essential to sort through all the items in your pantry and remove expired food or goods that are no longer needed or wanted — this way, they won’t take up precious space during reorganization or storage efforts later on down the road.
  3. Group Similar Foods Together: Once all unnecessary goods have been purged and discarded from the pantry shelves, start grouping like items together for faster access when necessary during meal prep or snacks throughout the day; examples could include canned goods near one another (i.e., beans, soup mixes), spices clustered by usage type (i.e., meats vs. vegetarian dishes), pasta close by other pasta ingredients (i.e., tomato sauce). Consider investing in clear plastic bins with lids for easy access to overflow items such as grains, nuts, etc.
  4. Sort By Frequency of Use & Accessibility Needs: When categorizing items from most to least used within each grouping, consider convenience while reaching versus stacking heavier/ taller objects; this is especially important if children frequent these shelving areas, as safety is critical! For example, store everyday snack foods within reachable height parameters, leaving taller condiments/cereal boxes higher on shelves where they are still easily accessible yet out of harm’s way for little hands reaching too far when unattended around potentially hazardous containers such as glass jars, etc.
  5. Label Everything Accurately: Labeling each bin now saves time later – also, consider adding a small whiteboard noting current inventory levels so replenishing supplies stays front and center when grocery shopping! Bonus points if you add corresponding dates underneath with specific expiration notes, so these products don’t expire before even being opened!

How do you organize pantry so you can see everything?

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to maximize your pantry space and make everything visible:

First, assess what types of items you store in your pantry. Separate them into categories such as canned goods, snacks, baking supplies, cereals, etc. Next, remove all items from shelves or cabinets so that everything is accessible for cleaning purposes. Wipe down all surfaces with an eco-friendly cleaner; vacuum crumbs if necessary.

Sort through each item removed from shelves or cabinets; throw away any expired products or discard anything else you don’t regularly use (e.g., ingredients for meals that are no longer being made). Now begin reorganizing by placing related categories of items on designated shelves/cabinets (e.g., put cans together on one shelf/in one cabinet and boxed meals on another shelf/in another cabinet).

If possible, invest in bins and containers to keep smaller items stored neatly together and visible; label these bins accordingly so that they’re easier to find and contain what they should be storing (e.g., pasta in one bin labeled ‘pasta’ condiments in another bin labeled ‘sauces’). A spice rack may also be helpful if plenty of spices are used frequently within recipes; utilizing vertical storage systems is helpful, too, since it maximizes available space without having things pile up horizontally over time due to gravity pull!

How to do a pantry?

To begin, start with purging your pantry of outdated items. Take inventory of what’s left and identify the gaps in items needed based on your family’s dietary needs and preferences. This is your opportunity to design an optimal storage plan that fits within the allotted space in order for everything to find a home while enabling easy access and organization.

Designate zones or shelves for frequently used items, like breakfast staples and snacks, and special diet categories, like gluten-free or vegan. Separating necessary ingredients into groups will help keep things organized so items won’t be lost among each other upon rotation or expiration dates.

For optimal space use and maximizing shelf visibility/accessibility, invest in clear containers such as glass jars for storing grains and dried goods such as rice, beans, nuts, etc., thereby creating uniformity across all food types (e.g., pasta). In addition to identifying these foods at first glance, this also prevents pests from infiltrating them compared with opaque packaging materials (e.g., cardboard boxes).

Is it worth having a pantry?

Absolutely! A pantry can be one of the most valuable investments in your kitchen. It provides easy access to essential items like snacks and food staples, and having a designated pantry eliminates the need to pick up extra items on trips to the grocery store.

Moreover, keeping all of your food-related items in one convenient space enables you to restock as necessary, cutting down on waste and allowing for better budgeting and meal planning. In addition, if appropriately organized, a well-stocked pantry can be an excellent source of inspiration for future meals or dishes you want to try out.

Having a pantry also saves time by limiting how often you must place orders from online stores or shop at physical shops near you – once stocked with whatever is needed for extended periods of time (grains, pulses, canned foods, etc.), there would rarely be any reason for frequent visits outside the home.

Jessica holden

Experienced Executive Assistant with a demonstrated history of working within the furniture industry. Skilled in furniture styling, visual communication, project management, and proficiency with Adobe Creative Suite. Strong arts and design professional with a (BA) Creative Direction for furniture design focused on Industrial Design from School of the Art Institute of Chicago.