Design Your Space

By the end of this step, you will have a written design for your pantry space.

Almost any space can be set as a choice pantry. Trust us. We have seen some unique spaces.

In step 1, you reviewed the choice models. It may be helpful to have the overview sheet handy as you get into pantry design. Be open to possibility. You may discover that there is a new way to design your current space, a different space that would work better, or some things you may need to make your space more functional. You may also ask someone with a stronger design mindset to assist you with this step. The LCFB Nutrition Team is here to provide assistance or support if/when you need it.

For this step, you will need 2 or 3 pieces of paper and a pencil to get started.

Start by visualizing your current space.

After learning the pantry models u2013 supermarket, table, order ahead, or paper list model and comparing the setup, the needs of each one, and your space, which one will work best for your pantry?


Is it possible to simply transition your food storage or packing area to be a walk-through pantry?


Or do you need to design a different space to be the choice pantry area?


Reflect back on step 2 u2013 arranging your food. Is your food currently organized by food groups?


Would it be helpful to modify any of the categories you group food into for easier guest navigation?


Do you anticipate there being any areas in your current pantry that could cause a bottleneck as guests are walking through the pantry?


The flow of the space can assist you in setting the tone for your pantry. By anticipating bottlenecks, you may be able to reduce some guest anxiety while they are shopping.

Map it Out!

Grab a piece of paper and a pencil. We are going to design your pantry. Below is a digital blueprint that captures the essence of what you are aiming for in this step. Your drawing does not need to be perfect, but it does need all of the little details to help you be successful in planning your pantryu2019s flow.

Directions: Follow each prompt below, mapping out all of the details to your pantry.

  1. Draw your current pantry area(s). Just the basic outline.
  2. Visualize the flow of the pantry from the time the guest enters the pantry to where they check out.
  3. Draw boxes to represent where seating, intake table/area, shelving, tables, refrigeration, scales, etc. should be placed.
    • Label any unmovable storage space you have. (Cabinets, poles, odd walls, etc.)
    • Label the shelving/tables with the food groups laid out in step 2.
  4. Map out the pantry flow, using arrows to show the direction the guest will walk.
  5. Review what you have created by visualizing how a guest would walk through out the pantry. Can you spot any bottlenecks? Are there areas where you need more privacy for guest interaction?
    • If the current set up is not conducive for guest, draw your basic outline again. This time, rearrange shelvingu2026in areas where you find bottlenecks or areas where you can enhance the tone.

Take one step at a time.

Step 3 is not a quick step. You may make a few different pantry maps or get some input from staff and volunteers. You may find you need items to help with the new pantry set up. Remember, one step at a time.

Youu2019ve created the pantry map, now lay out a plan for reorganizing or modifying the pantry.

  • Make a list of items that could help to organize the space u2013 shelving, baskets, carts, freezer, signage, greenery.
    Think back to the beginning of the training. What do you need to create a welcoming environment? What do you already own?
  • Not all items need to be purchased. Can they be donated from the community or a business? For bigger items, grants may be available or the community may be willing to donate money.
  • Create a timeline for the pantry transition and a communication plan for staff, volunteers, and guests. The timeline for the transition will give you a good deadline for getting together the rest of the items.
  • Once you have your ideal layout, determine your flow of food groups. Label your shelves by food group (vegetable, fruit, grain, protein, dairy, meals/soups/entrees, pantry staples, and snacks).

Save your drawing!

Now you have a visual representation but more importantly you have an idea of how you would like to set up your panty based on your space, organizational items, and inventory. Be open to the process. As you start putting it all together in your pantry, you may have to shift and change things, just remember that is okay. As time progresses, you will find the best way to organize and run your pantry. Save your drawing for our next site visit! We would love to see it and provide any feedback as needed.

Are you a USDA pantry?

USDA food must be labeled throughout the pantry. We recommend either a dedicated shelf within each food group or section to hold your USDA product. Label these spaces or areas on your pantry design.

Scroll to Top