Food and pantry storage calls to mind different things for different people. It can mean anything from storing enough food to get your family through the Apocalypse to just making sure there are enough chips and drinks for your next pool party. Depending on lifestyle and available space, here are some food storage attitudes to consider and see where you fit:
- Have only fresh and clean food in the kitchen for the time at hand.
- I hate grocery shopping so I stock up once a month.
- In an emergency, we’ll need lots of food; repeat…Lots. Of. Food.
- I don’t have space to store extra food and it spoils too quickly.
- The grocery store is just down the street.
- My favorite thing to make for dinner is reservations, so who needs storage?
Wherever you fall in the spectrum of food storage, chances are you will require some level of food storage for all the staples that generally make up a functioning kitchen like eggs, milk, bread, coffee, tea, pasta, cereal, salt, pepper, butter and sugar. And, if you live in a part of the country where weather conditions can render you housebound or without power for days at a time, extra supplies are probably an important element in your food and pantry storage.
Start with a plan
If you have a formal pantry, all you have to do is maximize its space and design. If, however, you don’t have a pantry, finding a place to build food storage could be a closet, kitchen cabinets, a free-standing armoire, an alcove in the hall, a space in the garage, or even a Food Storage Warehouse, which may seem a little excessive but these still get created and used. Tailored Living® can help you custom design storage and organization options for any pantry so that you will get maximum efficiency and benefit from your space, no matter the size of your pantry.
The elements of custom pantry design include:
- Adjustable shelves and shelf dividers
- Enclosed cabinets
- Pull-out drawers and bins
- Wall hanging systems like Slatwall panels
- Specialty racks, including spice racks and wine racks
Using all or some of these elements of pantry design, your local Tailored Living designer can work with you on creating the perfect pantry for your specific family needs, whether you store food for six days or six years. Tailored to your buying habits, bulk purchases, canned goods, wine, international cuisine, etc., your custom pantry design will accommodate everything you need to store.
Avoid the enemies of food storage
A well-designed and well-organized pantry will help to preserve everything you buy. To keep unprocessed foods like pasta, beans and rice, and processed foods like canned goods and prepared mixes at their best for the longest period of time, avoid these enemies of freshness in your pantry.
- Heat: Food keeps best at temperatures between 40 and 72 degrees. Think cool for the safest food storage.
- Humidity: With packaged foods, humidity can be the death knell, as it encourages mold and mildew. A damp area will quickly ruin packaged and dry goods.
- Oxygen: Air-tight containers are best for long-term storage, since oxygen will break down flavor, appearance and texture of food over time. Fats, like nuts and oils, become rancid with oxidization and will keep longer in the refrigerator.
- Light: Over time, light will affect the flavor and appearance of food and spices. Air-tight glass storage jars should be kept in a dark place, not on a sunlit kitchen counter. You need sufficient light in the pantry to be able to find what you need, but keep lights turned off the rest of the time to preserve freshness.
- Pests: Ants, silverfish, weevils, mice and other icky things are all enemies of pantries and food storage. Placing stored food into air-tight glass or plastic containers from their original cardboard boxes or bags will provide extra protection and safety. Keep all food storage areas free of pests by cleaning up any food spills on shelves or on the floor.
Time is another enemy of food storage, and while expiration dates are not necessarily ironclad, buying the freshest food is always best practice, especially if you do keep a pantry well-stocked. Rotating foods by placing the newest toward the back of the shelf will ensure that products in front are used before their expiration dates. Out-of-date and spoiled foods can contain bacteria that can cause food poisoning, and improper storage can make foods go bad before the projected expiration date. So, regardless of the expiration date, anything that smells “funny,” looks wrong, or at first bite doesn’t taste quite right, don’t eat it!
NOTE: Expiration dates are especially important in homes where children help themselves to foods and snacks; they probably would never think to check for freshness before eating something they find in the pantry. Be sure your pantry is “time safe” for your family.
A user-friendly, hard-working pantry
An important consideration for pantry design is that it is functional for your needs. A custom pantry design from Tailored Living will incorporate that desire for an extensive spice rack for your gourmet recipes, pull-out bins for individual snack foods for the kids, sturdy shelves for bulk purchases of family- favorite juices and sodas, enclosed cabinets for pet food, and plenty of room for bottled water. Apart from food storage, a pantry can also contain seasonal serving dishes, small appliances, a work countertop, shelf for cookbooks, a chalkboard for an ongoing grocery list, a first aid kit and cleaning supplies.
A hard-working pantry means you don’t have to work as hard! Tailored Living’s designers can help you implement storage solutions that will make your pantry safe and sane for all your food storage. We are the experts at maximizing your living spaces and getting your whole home beautifully organized with custom storage systems, including custom closets, laundry rooms, home office organization, entryways, garage storage cabinets, custom garage flooring and more.
Call 866-641-8958 (US) or 866-973-8221 (CAN) today to schedule a FREE, in-home consultation or go online to www.tailoredliving.com to find a designer near you. Scroll through our online Design Solutions Guide for dozens of home organization ideas and start getting organized before the holidays arrive!
For more pantry organization ideas, check out The Anatomy of a Perfect Pantry.