How often do find your kitchen pantry stuffed so full that it's hard to find something? When there wasn't enough room in my kitchen pantry to put away 2 boxes of cereal, I knew it was time to clean out and organize the corner pantry. It's not that we have a ton of food there but oops, I did succumb to a recent offer on my favorite tortilla chips to “buy 2, get 2 free” and they take up a lot of space.
Cleaning out the kitchen pantry brought back memories of my recent trip to Africa where most people struggle to find enough food to eat just one meal a day. While visiting Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, our group of women entrepreneurs stopped to visit this local general store (pictured here). We enjoyed visiting with the young family running the store, and like many of our experiences in Zimbabwe, we found it hard to imagine living without a well stocked kitchen pantry.
You're invited to visit Africa through my eyes, to be a part of my journey to discover the role I'm meant to play in making a difference in people's lives around the world.
Kitchen Pantry for Storage
Close your eyes and take a virtual tour of your kitchen. What do you see there?
- Refrigerator with a small, hard to reach pantry above it.
- Kitchen cabinets to the left and right of the stove, which also has a microwave. Pots and pans are in the lower cabinets, and stored in my upper left kitchen cabinet are canned soups, vegetables and lots of spaghetti sauce for those days with too little time to cook. The kitchen cabinet to the right holds all our cooking and baking supplies which overflow to the counter tops during the holidays.
- Kitchen island has enormous drawers for silverware and every type of utensil, plus napkins, place mats and the inevitable containers for storing leftovers.
- Window seat is a custom kitchen cabinet ideal for storing over-size pots and pans.
- Corner pantry cabinets store breakfast and snack foods on top, baking dishes and other large items below.
- Sink and dishwasher are surrounded by kitchen cabinets holding glasses, dishes and serving dishes. The lower cabinets are those wonderful, pull-out trash and recycling cabinets.
More Kitchen Cabinets = More Stuff!
Maybe you're wondering what my message is? The average American home has more than doubled in size since the 1950s, to more than 2,300 square feet. Our homes are bigger and we still feel we need more storage? Let's go back and look at how much kitchen pantry space there is in the kitchen (my kitchen) described above.
- 20 linear feet of upper kitchen pantry space, mostly 42 inches tall and 12 inches deep = 70 cubic feet
- 17 linear feet of base kitchen cabinets, 2 feet deep and 30 inches high = 85 cubic feet
- Plus refrigerator, stove, microwave, double sink and dishwasher!
My question is whether we need all this kitchen pantry space? Do I really need 3 sets of dishes? The answer is no, so I've begun asking family members who would like my extra dishes that I brought back from Japan.
Americans need to decide what's important to them and their families. Bigger houses mean buying more stuff and more stuff means … more time to organize and clean the stuff. We might be proud of our well organized kitchen pantry space, linen closets and more.
We might also recognize that bigger doesn't equal better and this might lead us to decide to live with less, to enjoy life more. In Size of Average American House Doubled Since 1950s, James Joyner provides insight into what's driving our need for bigger houses, and what we're sacrificing to pay for these houses.
Can you empty one kitchen pantry cabinet?
… with ideas to get started, Kitchen Gadgets: What Do We Really Need?