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Having a well-stocked pantry is key to making home cooking easier and ultimately tastier meals with all the necessary ingredients included. But if that pantry looks like the room of hidden things in “Harry Potter,” having all the ingredients you could possibly need ends up being more frustrating than helpful.
My little pantry was hard to get into and it was a total wreck – I would grab an item and it would all fall on me. Also, I could never tell if we already had a box of, say, chickpeas, way back, hidden behind the other boxes, or if it needed to be added to the grocery list.
After dropping cans of pasta on my feet too many times, I was fed up. I did some research and decided that the best option for useful, aesthetically pleasing, and affordable pantry organization was collapsible crates.
In the end, I bought 20 boxes of different sizes, and it really took the stress out of using my kitchen.
The set up
I searched high and low for every size collapsible crate at a reasonable price. I measured each shelf and estimated what different configurations with different sizes from different sites would cost me.
My final setup ended up being a mix of 20 cases from different sites, for around $130.
While this isn’t cheap for nice-to-have pantry organization bins, for me the initial cost was well worth it. Plus, I like that I can fold the crates up when I don’t need them and they’re super versatile to use in other places like the bathroom and the garage.
For starters, going through my entire pantry and organizing everything into categorized storage bins was extremely helpful. Most of us don’t know what’s lurking in the back of our dust-gathering closets, so I was finally able to take a full inventory.
This approach has helped me optimize grocery costs and eliminate food waste. I know now that we have a jar of dusty tapenade, two cans of shredded chicken and so many cans of green chilies (to name a few) that can all be used before spending money on produce costs.
I can also free up counter space and extend the life of produce that does best in a cold, dark place by creating a kind of root vegetable storage bin with the stackable crates on the keeper floor. -to eat.
The biggest win with storage bins, however, is that everything is so much easier to access.
I’ve organized both by food category and frequent meals. Now when I make oatmeal in the morning, I just pull out a tub. I’ve also grouped together all the pasta, mac and cheese, and instant ramen, so emergency nights with nothing in the fridge can be solved by just looking in a trash can.
Finally, I used to chronically close the pantry door to help reduce the anxiety of seeing messy shelves. But now pantry storage bins help keep the area looking good.
And at the end of the day, aren’t we all looking for adjustments in our homes that make us happier?
Buy the bins
The cheapest bins I found were on Miss A, a beauty site that sells smaller collapsible crates for less than $2 each — they were the staple of my pantry. They only come in small and medium sizes, so for the larger crates I opted for some of the more expensive Hay crates.
Urban Outfitters also makes larger boxes at a similar price, but I prefer the side dip of the Hay boxes to better see what’s inside.
I recommend measuring and pricing the mixed configuration that will best fit your pantry among these brands and sizes.