City dwellers know all too well the hardship of having to deal with a small kitchen. At the top of this list is the absence of a pantry and grappling with the repercussions of such an inconvenience. Personally speaking, my fridge doubles as a pantry, housing everything from cereal boxes to packets of gum (yes, really). And while I have grown quite accustomed to this way of life, it’s neither sustainable nor practical.
So how does one get around said dilemma? Clever storage hacks and a few tricks of the trade are some of the ways—organizational items, crafted with small spaces in mind, provide another. Ahead, we look to a few helpful changes you can make at home to carve out a pantry—or some semblance of one.
Mount a Pegboard
Lacking shelf space? Pegboards are an excellent way around this common storage issue—short of having to actually install a set of shelves. Affix one to an empty wall and let your creativity run free. Bring in an eclectic assortment of customizable shelving options, such as baskets or hooks, to establish a storage solution that can play to your specific needs. For true organization inspiration, check out our favorite pegboard ideas.
Streamline Your Spice Containers
There’s nothing worse than rummaging through a bin or cabinet, mid-cooking, in search of one spice or another. Small-space dwellers may not have the luxury of a spice cabinet (or a drawer, for that matter), but there are definite ways to work around that. First things first, ditch the mix-and-match container situation and invest in a streamlined alternative. Evermill offers a sleek shelf system that you can leave on your countertop or mount to the wall, and it even comes with spices in uniform amber glass jars.
Embrace Negative Space
When it comes to small spaces, it’s all about getting creative with how and where you store your items, so think outside the box. Have room above your kitchen cabinets? Store your less-frequently-used gear and culinary supplies on top, utilizing lidded baskets to keep clutter at bay and your items free of dust. Think: extra paper towels, cleaning supplies, and other such essentials. And, yes, the top of the fridge works as well.
Eliminate Original Packaging
Adopting an analogous storage solution can help offset the loss of space, which more often than not stems from grouping an eclectic array of diversely sized boxes and containers together. By switching over to a cohesive arrangement, you will find that not only is it easier to keep things clearly visible, but it also eliminates a great deal of the mess that often results from crumpled or torn packaging.
Pro tip: Use flat rectangular containers in lieu of glass jars for easy stacking!
Group Like Items
The obviousness of this aside, grouping pantry essentials by likeness can help combat clutter and promote a streamlined storage solution. Don’t just think along the lines of pairing items such as spices, canned goods, or cereal boxes together, but approach it by grouping the more commonly used elements in one bundle. Pair packs of pasta with jars of tomato sauce; canned beans with rice; and so on.
Bring in Outside Help
If your kitchen allows for it spatially, bring in an additional source of storage by way of a versatile cart—bonus points if it comes on wheels—earmarked to hold your most readily used items. Coffee carts are one such example (a plus for those who lack the counter space), but we’re also in support of using them to hold kitchen textiles and various other pieces, which may otherwise not have a home.
Tall cabinets? Don’t waste valuable real estate—utilize stackable bins and baskets to create makeshift shelves, and for a more versatile and convenient method, bring in the slide-out variety. If you find that you’re still in need of additional space, opt for an over-the-door cabinet organizer.