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Organised pantry cupboard.
Take your kitchen cupboards from a jumbled mess to organisational triumph.

Overcome design flaws

Storage issues in the kitchen are often not the result of a lack of space, but poor design, like oversized drawers, awkward corner cupboards and deep shelves. This can be a particular problem in pantry cupboards, where a lack of organisation can lead to food waste and shopping double-ups. Knowing what’s already on your shelves is an easy way to cut your costs at the supermarket. In addition, the satisfaction of a tidy pantry is priceless. From clever  internal fit-outs to smart shelving suggestions, find fixes for your pantry and kitchen cupboard challenges right here. 

Take cues from cooking

A key part of planning a new kitchen is figuring out where you want everything to go and then designing storage to suit. Even an existing layout can get a new lease of life if you rejig its interior workings and storage. Think about the bigger picture – for example, how you cook and what items are best kept readily at hand. Chelsea Smith of The Organising Platform suggests storing spices “in a narrow drawer close to the cooktop”. Consider, too, if oils and condiments might be better located in a narrow pull-out cupboard near the stove.

Within the pantry, it is useful to position items according to how often you use them, says Monique Parker of Kaboodle Kitchen. “Place frequently used items on the shelves that are at eye or chest level, as these are the most accessible shelves in the pantry,” she advises. “Items that aren’t used as frequently should be placed on either the top or bottom shelves, and the ones in between should house all your ‘extras’ – think rice, tuna, soup – things you don’t need every day but may need throughout the week.”

A dedicated spot for tea, coffee and toast is practical – and easy to hide behind closed doors.

Reduce dead space with smart storage choices

Try to avoid deep shelves within the main pantry cupboard. “These are not functional pantry storage,” explains Monique Parker. “They are hard to access and make it easy to forget what you actually have on hand.” Think about replacing deep shelves with shallow ones at head height so ingredients won’t disappear.

Adjustable shelves allow you to customise according to the height of containers, reducing dead space. Pull-out baskets are also great if space is short or you find it hard to access items on lower shelves, suggests Monique. “They can also help to categorise the contents of your pantry,” she says.

Drawers are replacing cupboards as the go-to kitchen storage solution. “Ideally, drawers are a great way to make best use of your space while still having everything visually and easily accessible,” says Chelsea Smith. 

Tip: Keep herbs and spices in handy drawers near the cooking area. 

Kaboodle Kitchen 150mm 2 tier soft close pullout baskets inside a navy shaker-style cabinet.

Amp up the accessibility in your cupboards with internal wireware

Utilise every centimetre of tricky corner cupboard space with clever internal accessories like internal wireware. “Corner cabinets are often underused due to their hard-to-reach location, so retrofitting some wireware will help increase functionality,” says Monique. “You can use corner or blind corner baskets for storing appliances, large bowls and containers, or you could even use the space to store all your baking trays and ingredients. Group pantry foods into like categories and then allocate places in the pantry based on frequency of use”. 

Tip: Adjustable racks inside the pantry door are ideal for often-used products.

2 tier corner rotating Kaboodle Kitchen baskets in a light blue corner cupboard.

Keep smaller items in their place with internal organisers

Level things up even further with a few handy organisational products. In drawers, use non-slip liners to stop contents sliding around. Drawer inserts are even better – use them to group like items and to pack things more tightly for less movement when you open and close the drawer. A turntable is invaluable for corralling jars and bottles within a cupboard – give it a spin and you can access what you are after and monitor what needs using up or replacing. Opt for spice racks or baskets which can hang on the door, keeping small items visible and tapping into a whole new source of storage real estate.

Another trick for tiny items is using shelf stackers or tiered shelves so anything at the back can be seen. Also remember that baskets and tubs are a great resource to keep packaged or loose items under control. “Store like items grouped together and clearly labelled in a clear divided tub – this makes it easy to keep track of what you have and manage bulk packaging,” Chelsea suggests.

Store with style 

You’ve set yourself up for success – now take your skills to the next level.  Matching containers look great in the pantry and decanting dry goods into them helps to keep food fresher and ward against pantry moths and pests. Choose stackable tubs to maximise every centimetre. Label containers and, for bonus organisational points, Chelsea suggests noting the food’s expiry date on a little sticker, which you can put on the container’s base. 

Looking for more kitchen storage?

Check out our steps for space saving in your kitchen.

Some products are not available at all Bunnings stores, but may be ordered.


Photo Credit: Kaboodle, Anna Robinson and Brigid Arnott


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