Is anyone using actual drawers for pantry items?

hbrrbhNovember 15, 2013

We are planning a variety of spaces for pantry items in our new kitchen.

We have a 48 inch wide, 15 inch deep base cabinet unit for all the baking related foods (we bake a lot, so we will fill this space with these types of item, we are currently using a pantry of this depth for this type of food in our current kitchen and it works well.)

We will have a shallow (9 or 10 inch) base cabinet about 40 inches wide for some overflow pantry items, this cabinet will likely need to be used for some other storage as well. But this is where we can stash the big olive oil containers, bottles of club soda, etc.

And we have the official "pantry" cabinet -- this is a 24 inch wide, 24 inch deep stack next to our oven stack -- we are planning to install a combi steam oven as part of this stack, but will have room for pantry storage above and below. (The combi steam oven is about 18 inches high.) I know this isn't ideal for the pantry storage, as the oven is going to be occupying the prime usable space equivalent to the space above a counter top, but this is what we have to work with.

We're trying to decide how to outfit the storage in this stack. Originally, I was thinking of "bat wing" storage for all of it -- a 16 inch interior shelf plus 8 inch deep shelves on the door of the cabinet (we will have one 24 inch door). I'm still thinking of this for the upper section -- I realize that the items in the back will be hard to see, but I think that the items on the door will be very accessible, even though they are high. (I would store light items such as boxed goods on the doors.) But rollouts are another option (at least for the lower storage) and drawers have also been suggested.

I've never tried using drawers for pantry storage -- is it hard to see what is in there? We need to use this pantry for regular, day to day items such as canned goods, boxed, pastas, rices, chips, crackers, etc., not for longer term storage, and I"m imagining that I would want a lot of these heavier items, such as soups, tomato sauce, etc. to be in this lower pantry section. Does anyone have examples or experiences with using actual drawers (not pullouts or rollouts)? And, if so, how high did you make the drawers for pantry items.

Thanks so much!

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Will you be able to see into the drawers from above (how high will they be)? They're not very useful if you can't see into them easily (but they're VERY useful if you can).

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 2:53PM
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I don't have a pantry and all my pantry items are in the drawers or in the uppers. I planned for heavy duty drawer glides (paid extra for the cabinet maker). I also bought OXO pop containers which are square and maximize space. The containers don't need to be lifted out. You just press the button on hype lid to easily release and remove the lid. Scoop what you want and replace the lid and press the button to create an airtight seal. Flours, grains, lentils, beans are all in the drawers. Things like pasta and discrete items are in the uppers. This is working very well for us.

I will see if I can upload pictures later.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 3:19PM
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This is my pantry cabinet. It houses the microwave in the middle section at counter height. It has 2 doors above with fixed shelves and 3 drawers below. I don't have a photo of the drawers open, but we store pantry items in there and it's great. The things we use more often, we put in the drawers below because they are easier to see and the less often used items go on the shelves above. This photo shows the rollout landing zone for the microwave open, but when it's closed, it's very easy to open the drawers and see what's in there.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 3:19PM
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Those OXO pop containers look great - I'm going to get some for my drawers and for my pantry shelves!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 3:39PM
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We have a pull-out for oils, vinegars etc which is one of my favorite parts of the kitchen. But sounds like that may not be an option.

We do store pantry items in both drawers and pull-out shelves. Both work well, but it depends on how you actually function in the kitchen. We have a box to corral snacks (nuts, seaweed etc) on a roll-out shelf--we moved it there from a drawer, which worked equally well.

I could see literally getting your boxes of pasta and laying them out to see what would work. You need to see at a glance what you're looking for. So you could lay your typical pasta and cracker stock out on their sides so that you can read the labels. If you try it before purchasing, you can figure out what depth of drawer will work. Same with cans. How many, say, tomato soup cans do you normally keep on hand? If you have them lined up right sides up, can you tell what they are? Or would all your cans need to be on their sides? That would be a much shallower drawer. Another option is to transfer all the dry goods into tins/containers; then you can label the lids of the tins.

We actually keep canned beans, tomatoes etc in a static upper cabinet, which works because I always keep several cans of chickpeas in a line front to back, next to black beans in a line, etc. If you're pretty organized, it would work OK in a drawer if you knew that chickpeas were always on the right, or if you partitioned off the drawers (IKEA has great dividers) and had little labels on the drawer edge.

Just remember that pullouts will steal more space than drawers. It can be worth it if you'll function better.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 3:39PM
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Thanks so much for everyone's thoughts and suggestions! Monkeyjac -- your microwave set up looks just like what we want to do -- what are the dimensions of the microwave cabinet?

    Bookmark   November 24, 2013 at 11:30AM
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I hope you do post pictures of your pantry drawers. I would love to see them. Thanks for the suggestion on Oxopop containers.

OP and others,

We will have our baking/cooking ingredients in corner pullouts (KornerKing) and upper cabinets. We can use some lower drawers as well if we need more cooking/baking food storage. We will have all the foods that don't need prep (in other words snack foods such as crackers, cookies, rice cakes) etc in a closet pantry that is a bit removed from the prep zone, but handy to the seating. So like you, our food will not all be in one area, and much of it will be stored below the counter in drawers or pullouts.


    Bookmark   November 24, 2013 at 11:59AM
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Depending on your cabinet widths, you could use pullouts for some storage above counter (as well as below counter). Here are some links to Rev-A-Shelf & Häfele products. Note: [The these products usually can be bought elsewhere for much less than what's posted on their sites.]

Rev-A-Shelf Pullout Wood Tall/Pantry Accessories:

Rev-A-Shelf Wall Accessories:

Rev-A-Shelf Sink & Base Accessories:

Häfele Kitchen and Closet Organization:

    Bookmark   November 24, 2013 at 1:01PM
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You said you bake a lot, so I will share that one of my favourite things about my new kitchen (well, 7 years new now! LOL), is my baking 'section'. Drawers with all my measuring cups/spoons, spatulas, whisks, etc., with a deep drawer with all my baking supplies (well, most as much as I can pack in), flour, sugars, baking soda, etc, and another kitty corner with all my bowls. I can stand in one spot on my gel mat, my new KA mixer which is always left out on counter, and reach pretty well everything I need. My 'pantry with rollouts, is just a couple of steps away with ingredients that don't fit into the drawer, nuts, oatmeal,other flours, etc.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2013 at 4:37PM
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