I firmly believe that nothing should stop us from loving where we live. And being a renter again wasn’t going to get in my way of making smart modifications to better our home.
Because it’s not about owning vs. renting—it’s not even about money—, it’s about comfort and pride. And that starts with making our home’s easier to use, and more enjoyable to be in!
For me, this started with organizing our pantry and turning to Bed Bath & Beyond to help me with it! Working with just big, open shelves anywhere is tough, but in a space where products range from a tiny can of tuna to a big bag of flour, it’s even harder. The obvious solution to making an open-shelf pantry work better is to install pull-out drawers, but as a renter, I didn’t want to spend money on modifying a home that isn’t ours, so instead, I found creative workarounds using products we can take with us in the future. So whether you rent, own or are simply looking for smart solutions to a better-functioning pantry, these ideas should help you get organized in style!
Sturdy rectangular baskets with cutout handles in lieu of pull drawers
We’ve all had to do it: that awkward task of trying to get to a big bag of rice at the back of the cupboard. You end up removing and replacing a dozen goods just to get to what you want. Bins and baskets solve this issue instantly! It sounds like common sense, but by containing many items in one bin, you only have to remove one item—the basket—to get to what you need. They function the same way expensive pull-out drawers do and you can find nearly any size basket to suit your shelf dimensions.
Tip: Find baskets with cutout handles rather than tabs or pulls, think rectangular with square bottoms for space-saving, and forego metal baskets as they’ll scratch your shelves when they’re pulled out and pushed in.
Clear Canisters and Jars
Anytime you buy and bring home dry goods (think crackers, flour, pistachios), remove them from their packaging and place them in a clear jar. Plastic or glass canisters not only give you at-a-glance inventory to save you time when making your grocery list, but eliminate a whole lot of mess. I used to have any assortment of crumbs on my shelves, from seeds to flour, but not anymore!
Tip: Get a variety of canisters in differing sizes and shapes. Use taller canisters in the back and shortest/smallest in the front. There’s nothing more inspiring than opening a pantry to find well-organized, visible ingredients laid out before you to inspire ‘what’s for dinner’!
Think About Flow
No matter the configuration of your pantry, always put your potatoes, garlic, and onions on the lowest shelf. I like to nestle these ingredients in baskets beside my vinegars and oils. Above them, I store canned goods. And above that, I store other dry goods (crackers, pasta, rice) and baking needs (flour, sugar cornmeal). And finally, the top shelf is where I keep specialty/rarely-used items.
Tip: I also think about flow when it comes to my countertop workspace. I personally buy more expensive, stylish functional kitchen items like cutting boards and water jugs and decorate with them! If you’re going to have things like salt, butter and pepper out on the counter anyhow, they may as well combine to create a pretty vignette!
Drawer and cabinet inserts are an instant way to make your kitchen or space feel like it has expensive built-ins. It increases function by giving everything a home—and the best part is that we now have expandable trays and organizers, so you’re sure to find one that fits your specific drawer, both now and later in a future space!
Tip: Have just a tall, big shelf for things like glasses and bowls and plates? Use inexpensive elevators, like this set.
For those who want more tips for increasing function when renting, check out my tips and tricks on Cityline!
Big thanks to Bed Bath and Beyond for supplying all of the coolest products to organize my home. And beyond just organization, BBB has tons of furniture and decor available to create a welcoming space! Visit bedbathandbeyond.ca for more