This Smart, Stylish Organizing Tool is What Your Kitchen Pantry is Missing

updated Jun 17, 2020
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Credit: Minette Hand

Four years ago, my husband and I bought a brownstone in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, which, like most historic homes, needed a complete renovation. We had no idea what we were getting into and didn’t have the money to work with an interior designer. This meant making a majority of the decisions ourselves. One area I was most excited about was having an actual pantry. It felt so adult. I dreamed of those walk-in situations I’d swoon over on design blogs, where perfectly labeled glass bottles lined immaculately organized shelves.

When it came time to carve out the space for our reach-in pantry, I greedily wanted to use as much square footage as possible. Wouldn’t you? The result is a very deep closet, which, as any organizing expert will tell you, is sadly not the most efficient use of space. With the help of baskets and bins, Lazy Susans, and door mounted spice racks, I’ve done a pretty good job at using every inch of space in the main section of the pantry, but I had a major problem with the lower portion of the cabinet.

The bottom third, where we store cleaning supplies, was a hot mess. Big bulky bottles of laundry detergent, various cleaners, and bags stuffed with rags and microfiber cloths lined the floor.  Each time we needed a specific product, we had to bend, squat, and basically dig out all the contents and then shove everything back in. Pinterest, this was not.

I started searching online for a stylish organization solution that would make accessing items from the back of the cabinet easier. Pull-out drawers seemed like the best fix, but for various logistical reasons, they weren’t going to work for us. The next best thing? A basket on wheels.

Credit: Tina Chadha

You’ve seen this type of wheeled storage used in chic laundry rooms, but let me tell you, it’s genius for utilizing floor space in deep pantries and closets, too. Now all I have to do is pull out my bin, look down, find what I’m looking for, and wheel it back in. Because our pantry is a custom size, I ended up splurging on a slightly more high-end Steele cart. This heritage brand’s “trucks” come in a variety of sizes and are constructed with a solid steel frame, so I knew I could throw a giant Tide bottle (or three!) in there and not worry about it breaking. Plus, the canvas body stylishly conceals even the most obnoxious bottles, which I’d pay for any day. Man, is it a pleasure reaching for something in this cabinet now.

If you’re looking for a more affordable option, there are a ton of stylish carts like this utilitarian-chic canvas laundry hamper, or for a more natural look, I love a woven basket on wheels. If you’re not afraid to go the DIY route, you can easily add casters to a vintage crate or big basket.

Credit: Tina Chadha

Once I threw all the bottles in the cart, it freed up some floor space, and I was actually able to add a skinny stacked Elfa mesh drawer system to my setup to corral smaller items. I then stuck two gold Command hooks on the inside of the cabinet doors to hang a dustpan and brush, and voila!  Although we’ve lived in this house for three years now, it’s far from finished. Having this little nook sorted isn’t just deeply satisfying and super functional—it’s actually motivating me to create more well-put together nooks and corners at home.