Before kitchens had refrigerators and freezers, the pantry (and related rooms like the “larder” or “buttery”) was an essential storage room for all kinds of foods, from breads and spices to milk, vegetables and meat. Modern cold storage didn’t exactly render the pantry obsolete, but it did shrink it; while some homes have separate rooms off the kitchen for dry goods, most just have cupboards and cabinets. In either case, having the infrastructure to organize and keep track what’s in there is still essential — especially if you plan to raid it in the middle of the night and come away with something good to eat. So whether your pantry is a separate room or small cupboard, these storage essentials will help you organize and preserve what’s inside.
OXO Pop Containers
Best Storage Containers: Storing dry goods is a pantry’s number-one responsibility, and there’s nothing more pragmatic than these OXO Pop Containers. To conserve space, they stack on top of each other. To prevent food from going stale, they seal up airtight with the press of a button. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each with an angular corner so pouring cereal won’t be a test in patience and precision.
Polder 3-Step Ladder
Best Step Ladder: This aluminum step ladder has an extra-high railing and three non-slip steps for extra stability, ideal for accessing hard-to-reach places. At just over seven pounds, it easily folds up for storage.
Weck Tulip Jars
Best Canning Jars: Whether you’re preserving summer fruit for winter or saving small servings of oatmeal, you can rely on Weck tulip jars. They’re simple to use and instantly form an airtight seal when closed. On top of that, canning jars add a vintage quality to any pantry.
Food52 Spice Rack with Erasable Labels
Best Spice Rack: Probably the best-looking way to organize your cinnamon, oregano, cayenne and paprika, this wooden rack comes in two sizes: one holds nine different five-ounce jars; the other holds 16 three-ounce jars. Every jar has an erasable label and a screw-on lid.
Sur La Table Bamboo Salt Box
Best Salt Keeper: Good salt doesn’t fit in a shaker. This bamboo salt keeper has a wide mouth and a hinged lid to prevent anything from falling out.
Enclume PR12wg-CP Ceiling Rack
Best Cookware Rack: Acting as a chandelier for your pantry’s ceiling, this rack is both visually appealing and functional. It holds up to 100 pounds of cookware and, since it’s made of copper, will align with your pantry’s rustic aesthetic.
Restoration Hardware 1930s French Trolley Bar Cart
Best Bar Cart: When building the perfect bar cart, start with the actual bar cart. This one has a glass-inset top, is finished in polished nickel, and has four racks to hold your single malt scotch, aged rum and absinthe. Also, it can be rolled out of the pantry whenever the party comes home with you.
Home Depot Six-Shelf Overdoor Storage Rack
Most Budget-Friendly Rack: In most pantries, space is limited. This rack will give any pantry extra space by turning a door into a cabinet. It’s made of PVC-coated steel, stretches five feet down, and includes six shelves that are strong enough to hold canned goods, pastas and other dry goods.
Metro Commercial Pantry Shelves
Best Shelving: These industrial shelves were originally meant to be used in restaurant kitchens. Made of chrome-plated solid steel, they’re also ideal for home pantries. The set comes with five shelves, each capable of holding 600 pounds. Oh, and they won’t collect any dust.
IKEA Algot Shelves
Editor’s Pick: These shelves are part of IKEA’s ALGOT series, which consists of several shelves that can be paired and arranged interchangeably. Each of these shelves is made of particleboard and held together by galvanized steel, and they’re fully capable decluttering your pantry.
Le Creuset Stoneware Butter Crock
Best Butter Crock: It’s always news to Americans when we find out we don’t need to refrigerate something. It turns out butter doesn’t need to go the big cold box (unless you’re storing large quantities of it). This crock holds six ounces of butter, keeping it fresh and highly spreadable for your morning toast.
Vintage Zinc Bins
Best Small Bin: In truth, these zinc bins can be used any way you see fit. But if it were up to us: they make a great storage unit for napkins, silverware sets and accoutrements for the dinner table. They come in two sizes, small and large, and were once used in a French assembly line to carry parts to and fro. Now, they can add a rustic flair to your pantry.
Feathergrain Wood Bins
Best Wicker Alternative: While some people use wicker baskets to store fresh vegetables and fruit, we find that these wooden bins may be more effective. They’re simple and practical, made from lightweight Paulownia wood, with integrated handles and four sizes, from extra small to large.
424 Freestanding Wine Storage by Sub Zero
Best Wine Storage: Most everything in your pantry pairs well with wine, so it makes sense to have wine storage in your pantry. This Sub Zero freestanding wine unit has two separate storage zones, with separate controlled temperatures, so a pinot noir and a sauvignon blanc can be kept apart. It holds up to 46 bottles, has a UV-resistant and bronze-tinted glass door, and at just under three feet tall, you’ll still have enough room to move freely around the pantry.
The High ‘n Dry Cargo Net
Best Alternative to Traditional Shelving: Cargo nets like these are still used by commercial fishermen to catch shellfish and bottom-dwelling fish. However, Best Made has made them into something ideal for holding pots, bags of potatoes and other root vegetables in the pantry. Each net is handmade in Rhode Island, weights five ounces and comes in either red or white.