A well-stocked pantry is a crucial weapon in the fight against food waste. Tinned goods, dried herbs and spices make it easier to refresh and bulk out leftovers for a tasty meal, while beans and grains are great vehicles for turning last night’s dinner into a lunchbox hero.
But what if you barely have a spare drawer or cupboard, let alone a pantry? It can be tricky to stay organised and on track when it comes to meal-planning if your kitchen storage is a squeeze.
So, check out these clever little ideas to make a big difference to your cooking space.
Hang it all
It’s time to aim a little higher. That bit above your cooker, for example, and that empty wall just by the door.
It’s all space that could be used for storage and clearing away clutter.
And what about the space under your shelves? Turn everything on its head with this genius Mason jar shelf by Hilda Blue. The lids are fixed to the shelf, so you simply unscrew the jars as and when you need them.
Pretty much everyone has space between their cupboard-tops and the ceiling. Invest in easy-to-grab baskets with handles and fill with bits you don’t use every day, such as baking ingredients, or that coffee you stocked up on when it was half-price.
Things are looking up, right?
Open it up
Opening up your cupboards by taking the doors off can make your storage space more accessible.
Lining the back of the cupboards with patterned paper will add a snazzy touch. And having everything out in the open means you’re more likely to keep it neat, tidy and organised, rather than letting stuff languish at the back.
No more crumpled bags of flour bringing down the mood. This is your excuse to buy some pretty storage jars. They’ll look much nicer and keep your goods fresher for longer, too.
Set it free
Don’t have a walk-in pantry? A simple set of shelves against a wall or in that (until now) unused area by the back door could be a total game-changer.
Invest in Kilner-style jars of different sizes for spaghetti, shorter pasta shapes, dried beans and lentils and baking goods such as flour.
Run the shelves right up to the ceiling and you’ve basically made a new home for tinned goods, crockery and even all those random cookbooks you can’t bear to get rid of.
A couple of baskets on one of the shelves will be super-handy for jars and packets of spices, plus any sauces that don’t need refrigerating.
Make use of your cupboard doors by fixing wire or wooden racks on the inside. Great for keeping little pots of herbs and spices close at hand, rather than lost and forgotten behind stacks of tinned tomatoes.
Be narrow minded
You know that skinny space between the fridge and the kitchen wall or cupboard units? Nothing will fit in there, will it?
Well, actually, this could be the chance to clear the clutter from your cupboards and shelves. A nifty sliding door cabinet could house all your tinned goods, herbs, spices, sauces and dark-loving garlic, freeing up space for all those useful gadgets you never use (but will some day, of course).
Organising your store-cupboard goods in single file also makes it much easier to see what you have in at a glance.
Classy Clutter has a handy tutorial for a DIY tinned-food organiser.
Fair and square
Square and rectangular food boxes tend to be more stackable and slot more easily into smaller cupboards and shelves.
Fill them with dried pasta, grains, beans, lentils and flour to keep them fresh, and label each one clearly to save rummaging around.
Keep it on file
Rolls of foil, cling film, baking paper and freezer bags are essential when it comes to keeping leftovers fresh or storing batch-cooked meals. But they can take up precious drawer space.
Think outside the box by fixing a magazine rack or document file to the side of a cupboard or kitchen cabinet.
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