OK, back to interior for a minute.
While I’m not entirely satisfied with my pantry, I’ve decided to show a small piece of it to discuss something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time and have finally gotten around to: decanting!
Decanting is quite trendy right now, and simply means putting your dried goods into glass jars or other containers. You can find a million pictures of beautifully organized pantries and cupboards anywhere on Instagram or Pinterest. Of course, I also wanted to have a beautiful pantry, but let’s get real…sometimes things just don’t work out quite that well.
In Brooklyn, while we had more food storage space than I had for some time, it was all in cupboards and very annoying to access, with things getting lost in the back, never to be found again. So, I was quite excited to find out that we had a “pantry” in our Berlin apartment! ! It is still not the most well laid out situation – probably due to the fact that it’s shaped oddly and also houses our electrical box and gas meter, but it’s a start!
As soon as I saw the shallow shelves in the pantry, and the general lack of storage elsewhere in the kitchen, I knew decanting would be a great option. There are, of course, other ways to organize, but this to me made the most sense.
Benefits of Decanting
Other than the fact that decanting your pantry looks nice, it’s also super practical if you like to cook or bake. Being able to just pop open the top of a jar and fit a measuring cup inside is so convenient and way less messy!
It’s also so much easier to see what you have in your pantry, and when you’re low on certain ingredients. I also utilized these amazing (and cheap) shelf risers from IKEA to add even more storage and keep things visible. (Even this wasn’t enough storage for me though, and I also store smaller jars underneath the risers, making them slightly less visible, but still quite reachable).
I am overall quite pleased with how my new pantry is working out so far, but there are a couple downsides to decanting that I want to share. The first, most obvious one is that it is a bit of an investment. I went with the cheapest option, which was the KORKEN series from IKEA, which ranges from $1.99 to $4.99 per jar/bottle depending on the size. I looked at everything I had in my pantry and decided ahead of time what I wanted to decant and how much of that particular item I typically have on hand to determine jar sizes. While the individual price of a jar is quite low, when you end up buying close to 50 jars…it adds up.
Then I also got these easy to use chalkboard labels, so that I can switch things up if I need to.
Downsides of Decanting
The biggest downside about decanting that I’ve heard of is the issue of refills. The first problem people mention is that of topping off, or waiting until it’s empty. Some people think it’s weird to add new product on top of old stuff, because it will inevitably lead to lots of old food at the bottom of all your jars which never gets touched. I personally wait until I’ve used up all of the product before I add new stuff. This method also helps with the second issue of decanting…
Sometimes, your food doesn’t fit entirely into the jar or container you have for it. So what do you do with the extra product? I have this problem a lot with spices, which I’ve also put into spice containers, since I usually restock with large bags. I’ve dealt with this by putting any extras up on the very top shelf of the pantry. Since I don’t need to access them that frequently, it’s a great solution and keeps the not so pretty bags out of sight.
One last thing I’ll mention before ending is that if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with a package free store then I HIGHLY recommend doing this in your pantry. All you’d have to do then is take your empty jars to the store, fill them up and voila: no unnecessary packaging! Score for the environment!
If anyone wants to open a store like this in Charlottenburg, I’d be your first customer!
Overall, despite the cost and the disturbing amount of jars we now have, I’m so happy with the look and the access I now have! I feel like it reminds me of what I have on hand and encourages me to use things more!
I’d love to know if any of you have tried this and how it’s gone for you! Or, if you have any questions I didn’t answer, let me know in the comments!