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3 Things to Never Do When You Reorganize a Pantry

I read at least five articles a week about what to do to reorganize a pantry. I love spaces that are organized. I love seeing where everything is, and I like seeing how things are made more accessible. But this doesn’t mean I agree with everything the experts recommend. If you are curious to see what I think are dangerous suggestions and their alternatives, read on as I reveal the three things you never want to do when you set out to reorganize a pantry.

Don’t Put the Stand Mixer on the Top Shelf When you Reorganize a Pantry

I cannot tell you how many times I have been oohing and aahing over a pantry redesign, only to be stopped short when I see a stand mixer on the top shelf of the new pantry. I get the theory: Put things you don’t often use on the highest shelves while keeping your daily-use items on lower levels. Great advice typically, but terrible advice when it comes to a stand mixer. Why?

First, the stand mixer is very heavy. It is a struggle to get up on a step ladder with a stand mixer, let alone place it up on the shelf. But have you tried controlling its descent from that height? You have either just guaranteed that you will never use that KitchenAid again, or you will risk the appliance falling when you try to get it for your next bake.

Unless you bought it on sale through Amazon (see affiliate link below), you have just cost yourself, on average, between $250-$600 for a replacement appliance. Also, you risk falling off that step ladder and severe injury when trying to get something that heavy off a top shelf.

Note: If you purchase a KitchenAid using this link from Amazon, we may get a small commission.

Second, if you live in an earthquake zone, as we do in Los Angeles, you risk having your stand mixer crash to the ground during a seismic event. You also risk seriously concussing (if not worse) anybody standing near it.

If you don’t have counter space, place it on the shelf close to the bottom of the pantry if you want it up off the floor. This way, you don’t have to lift from the ground or try to handle a weighty appliance as you balance on the ladder’s top step.

Don’t Put Chemicals on the Top Shelf

Refrain from putting chemicals (like cleaning agents) on a high shelf when you reorganize a pantry. If you have kids, I get the idea that having them high up will protect them from getting into them. But kids tend to climb to get things, and if they shake your pantry shelves, they could send the chemicals crashing to the floor. The last thing you want is toxic fumes harming anyone if the bottles burst open after the fall.

Also, again, for those of us living in a seismically active area, you don’t want to deal with the potential for chemical poisoning after an earthquake. If you have to keep chemicals in the same place as food in your apartment or condo, keep them on a lower shelf with tight lids. I prefer them to be on the ground, but I get that you might not have that option. And, if you have children, keep the chemicals under a sink with a childproof lock instead of trying to hide them at the top of your pantry.

reorganize a pantry freestanding shelves cookware Shutterstock Africa Studio
Credit: Africa Studio / Shutterstock

Don’t Put Breakables Up High

This one is highly debated. If you have children who can wander into the pantry and topple vases and specialty glassware, I can see why putting those pieces out of reach may appeal. But if you have freestanding shelves in your pantry or live in an earthquake zone, please reconsider. If someone knocks into a shelf, the vases will still fall, but now from a much greater height. They will undoubtedly shatter and may seriously injure the person who knocked into the shelving unit. The same is true if you are in the pantry when even a mild tremble strikes. If you have breakables, I suggest placing them in a place that can be secured from both mild earthquakes and kids.

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