Our kitchen is among the least functional rooms in our apartment, but with a little creativity and a good trip to ikea immediately after we unpacked the moving truck, we’ve “made it work.” It’s not pretty like so many on Pinterest, but it is functional in our tiny space.
From afar, it’s just an Ikea Besta unit with doors. I can’t say enough about my two suggestions for buying Ikea stuff: spring for the style that you want (i.e. slightly upgraded doors with some trim vs. the basic plain-Jane ones) and consider adding extras like more shelves. Tip: extra shelves can often be found for cheap in the as-is section.
On top of the unit sits our microwave, with some of our beloved oils and vinegars, a basket for our kitchen textiles, our toaster, and a microwave splat-guard.
Inside, it’s amazing and one of the better things I’ve ever organized.
To accomplish this, we used the boxes from stuff we normally buy/bought: coffee K-cups and Annie’s bunny snacks from Costco. I sloppily wrote on some index cards and tapes them to the boxes.
Up top, cat food and treats (where they can’t get it!), powdered drink mixes (Gatorade, fancy nutrition shakes, and Slimfast for desperate times), and baggies/foil/plastic wrap. The baggies are neatly kept in their boxes inside of a Costco-size cereal box. The foil and plastic wrap sit on top of the cereal box.
Next, spices and cans/rice/miscellaneous kitchen stuff (like our sushi rolling mats). I’d like to add stickers to the tops of my spices so I can identify them easier when I pull the spice box, but it’s not a big deal. We don’t buy the same brand of spices, so I can usually kind of remember “basil is in a glass jar with a black lid, paprika is too but it’s a red powder, poppy seeds are in a plastic jar with a red lid, etc.” Target’s Archer Farms brand spices threaten to convert me to matching spice jars, though.
Next, bread-making supplies, so we can plop it out on the counter and get to measuring ingredients. Everything we need to make bread is in the box, and I can’t overstate how great of a system that is! One complaint, the bread flour is always in its paper bag inside a plastic bag; we should probably buy a better container to help me avoid paper cuts. We also keep pasta and noodles on that level, although that will probably get changed as we eat less and less gluten (hello zucchini noodles!).
The next level is for baking. That stuff is lower since we (theoretically) don’t get there as often. There’s sugar, flour, gluten-free baking stuff, and general baking. That also where we keep our recipe book, since we don’t get to it often. When we bake, we just grab the boxes and the recipe book and don’t have to dig into the pantry again – brilliant! The sugar and flour are in air-tight Sterilite containers (like this but bigger). Since we use the, so much less, they might change to carry almond flour, but it’s not a big deal. If you buy the Sterilite ones, be sure to check out the sizing – they made the, to perfectly fit the common sugar and flour bag volumes.
The bottom is for our pans and parchment paper and parsley (those can’t fit anywhere else). As much as I’d prefer the pans go elsewhere, they are wonderfully visible and accessible.
My final grade for myself on this organized pantry? A-
I love it and some things function great, especially the bread making box, but my man-friend leaves the toaster on the counter instead of putting it up. If that’s my biggest complaint, I’m proud of myself!