If you are looking for tips for your basement pantry organization you are in the right place. See how to utilize this space to create additional storage for your food. Another super effective trick to use in your pantry organization journey.
Not everyone has a pantry in their kitchen. Take my family, for example, our first kitchen it contained just enough cabinets to call it a kitchen so keeping food in that tiny area was just not an option.
No, not everyone is lucky enough to have a lovely walk-in pantry like you see in the magazines. You know, the ones with cabinets on all four walls and a beautiful island with marble counters sitting in the middle. I love those pantries, but I have never been fortunate enough to have one in my home. I had to look for other areas to hold our surplus of food. When my boys were younger I only shopped once a month and let me just say this is a great way to save a large amount of money on your food bill. The downside was I had quite a large stock to store especially at the start of each month and that meant I needed to have a space large enough to hold it all and keep it organized as well.
Since our kitchen did not have the room to hold it all, I decided to head down to our basement.
My husband built a corner of sturdy shelves, nothing pretty at all but they could hold hundreds of pounds of food without any worry of collapse.
If you do not have a kitchen option for a pantry cabinet or access to a walk-in pantry then let’s see if we can help you create a food storage area in your basement.
Is your basement a viable option for a kitchen pantry?
In order to answer this question, you will need to do a bit of work on your end. Is your basement dry? Damp and food will not mix well at all so you will want to be sure that your basement is dry to keep your food fresh.
To test your basement’s moisture, try this tip from Tom’s Basement Water Proofing, “Put a square of foil on your basement wall and seal the edges with duct tape. Wait 24 hours, and then remove the foil square from the wall. If the foil is dry when you pull it off, you don’t have any moisture in the walls.”
If you do find you have moisture in your basement you will want to deal with that issue before you move any food that is not in a can or glass jar.
Basement Pantry Organization
A basement may not be the easiest to get to but no worries, we will be using this to hold your surplus food. When it comes to what you eat, you do not need to house it all in one area, especially if you use a basement to hold your pantry. The trick is to keep in the kitchen your “current” food and house the backup and surplus stock in the basement. This will act as your grocery store in a sense so you can run down and restock your current kitchen area as needed.
When you look at your basement pantry in this way it will allow you to streamline this area more efficiently.
Create a Setup
I cannot stress enough the importance of building a setup that is sturdy. This will allow you to fill the shelves up without the worry of collapse. You can use 2x4s to build a structure as we did or invest in commercial-grade metal shelving. Either way, I realize this will be a costly investment but remember that food is quite possibly the most expensive item we have in our homes simply because we constantly need to buy more week after week. This only reassures us that investing in a reliable setup is worth its weight in gold.
The size of the setup will all depend on how much food you plan to keep in your basement pantry. You will also want to keep in mind whether you will be storing nonfood items in this area. These can be small appliances, seasonal dishes, extra serving items, entertaining pieces, and more. The best part of this is you will free up valuable space in your kitchen allowing you to streamline that area more efficiently.
Once you have a basic idea of the size area you need, you can begin building your setup.
Where you keep the items you plan to store in your basement pantry is going to depend on you and anyone else that will routinely access this space. The shelves that are the easiest to reach are where you will want to store the items you use most frequently. This area is what I like to call your prime real estate. It’s the area that spans from your waist to your chest.
Items to keep stored in your prime real estate.
- Foods you use often.
- Heavy appliances that you use routinely.
- Cases of items you use or access a few times a week.
As you can see, heavy and frequent are the two criteria for what to store in this area. Be kind to your back and make it easy to get to the things you need.
The floor can be tricky in a basement pantry and again it is all going to depend on the quality of your basement. If you have a dry basement then the floor is a great area to hold heavy bulk food items such as flour, sugar, rice, beans, etc. I would suggest investing in food containers that will keep out anything you do now want inside.
The floor is also a good area to hold larger appliances such as your water bath canner, a deep fryer, or dehydrator.
Now for the fun part. And that is getting your food supply organized in a way that works for you. In order to do this without getting frustrated by all the possibilities, I like to use categories. Food categories are collections of food that you can use to keep like items together. Categories can be done by the type of container (canned goods), the food course (side dishes), the type of food (snacks), or the cuisine (Italian).
There is no right or wrong way to do this part, just ask yourself this question to help narrow things down. If I was to look for a can of _______, where would I look first? This should help you better decide what categories make sense to how you see your things.
Sometimes folks can get hung up on this part, so let’s see if we can make it less overwhelming for you. I think we tend to make things harder than they need to be and that can freak us out just a bit. When we think of organizing you may envision a pristine home designed by Joanna Gaines and while there is nothing wrong with that, it is not a realistic expectation to have.
Let’s back up and talk about why you are organizing. To help you find the items you need to perform a task quickly and easily. To simplify, you are creating a home for your things. A home that is not only easy to set up but easy to keep up with. And the more you can include in an organizer the more streamlined an area is going to look.
Rather than a section of precariously stacked punches of rice sitting on a shelf, you can instead use a large basket and keep the pouches inside of it. The basket makes it easier to keep them together and you will not need to worry if they are neat inside of the basket itself. If the pouches fall over, no problem, they are all still in the basket where they need to be making them super easy to find right when you need them.
When you think of organizing in this way, it takes away the overwhelm and allows you to set things up shelf by shelf.
Containers that work great to organize food in a basement pantry.
- Large deep baskets – Great for boxed meals or pouches of rice and/or noodles.
- Sturdy wicker or metal baskets – Great for canned goods.
- Shallow plastic baskets – Great for spices
- Deep plastic bins – Great for chips, crackers, and other snacks.
- Lazy Susan – Great for oils, spices, or sauces.
- Clear bins – Great for seasoning packets
- Large containers with secure lids – Great for bulk food.
Not ready to invest in store purchased containers just yet? You can make do with what you have around the home.
- Shoebox – Takes the place of plastic bins.
- Shoebox lid – Takes the place of a shallow container.
- Baking tin – Takes the place of plastic bins.
- Shipping box – Takes the place of large or deep storage bin.
- Empty ice cream bucket – Takes the place of smaller bins.
When starting a newly organized system I like to use what I have around the home before investing. This allows me to test drive a new setup without wasting money on a collection of supplies.
This is such an important part of organizing your basement pantry yet some people skip over it thinking they will remember what belongs where. I am here to tell you the hard truth. You will not remember where everything goes without incorporating labels on your containers. Again, I would like to encourage you to use temporary labels starting out until you know if things are going to work as-is. Post-it notes are perfect for this part. Using a black magic marker be clear (rather than cute) in stating exactly what belongs inside.
Your labels are your reminder of what belongs where so you are not forced to do this project ever again.
All the Way Away
This is the final step and one you may not have heard before. If you want to be sure your newly organized basement pantry stays neat and tidy, then you need to be sure you do one task each time you are utilizing this space. Be sure to put your things all the way away. This means not putting new groceries on the floor, but instead in the containers you have all set up and labeled to make this task easier. Rather than toss a bag of chips in the closest bin you see to fix later on, instead put it in the basket that is meant to hold snacks.
By taking the extra few seconds to put these items all the way away you will keep your basement pantry neat, tidy, and streamlined.
When you create a basement pantry organization setup you will be able to add this valuable extension to your kitchen. No more wasting money at the store buying things you have plenty of. No more struggling with what to make for dinner, you have dozens of options just waiting to be made. No more running out of things because your organized pantry will help you to always know what you need to buy more of.
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