Do feel like you’re getting an “F” in kitchen organization every time you scroll through Pinterest? Today’s pantries are not all created equal. Some homes come with designated, walk-in, storage closets, while others have 50-year-old cabinetry. Regardless of how much space you are working with, you should be able to access the items you need, when you need them. It’s not so much about being a neat freak as it is about keeping your kitchen goods organized into practical categories. Let’s start with the basics. Begin by clearing out any expired items and cleaning up any spills or crumbs. Once you’ve done that, check out these 6 ways to organize your pantry.
Photo used courtesy of: Ben Walker
6 Ways to Organize Your Pantry
- Keep like items together. Group pet items, baby foods, canned goods, jars, boxes and baking goods together. Are you a coffee or tea drinker? Anything related to these may be better suited for the cabinet nearest to your mugs or above your coffee pot and removed from the pantry altogether.
- Store rarely used items out of reach. You’ll want the items you use most frequently to be at eye level, and the easiest to get to. Whether it is cookware or ingredients only used for holiday baking, move them to spaces high up, down low, or at the back of your pantry.
- Transfer bulk items to air-tight containers. Minimize mess, free up surface space on your shelves and make your pantry more pleasing to the eye by transferring bulk items into large containers. These are great for rice, flour, sugar, coffee, or any loose items you constantly have in large supply. Don’t waste money on a container (and permanently label it) if you only plan on using an ingredient once in awhile.
- Utilize labels, bins, baskets, and dividers. If you’re not a label person and your supplies are self-explanatory, skip that step, but if you take items out of their original packaging, or have items in bins, labels help chefs identify contents in a hurry. This may come in handy if you’re hosting company, planning to have help after having a baby, have a babysitter at your house often, or for anyone who may not be as familiar with your kitchen as you are, but still needs to use it. Bins and baskets are great for like items that tend to get messy like small containers of spices, packets of anything, or items that come in zip-top bag packaging. Dividers that you would normally purchase for the shelves in your bedroom work wonders in a pantry with long shelves.
- Place baby/child-friendly items on lower levels. This isn’t just about foods purchased for them. Put items that are safe for kids to mess with on shelves that they can reach. While they may not care about a can of olives, they also can’t hurt it, so consider storing cans on shelves they can reach instead of boxes you don’t want them opening or jars you don’t want broken. Keep desserts up high, but if you have a climber, you may want to secure the doors.
- Surplus items don’t need to take up prime real estate. If you have duplicates or an abundance of something that you’ve purchased at a warehouse store, consider keeping it out of the pantry altogether. Unless you have a large amount of kitchen storage space, put items of this variety in the laundry room, garage, or another out-of-the-way space. If you’re the type to forget about these things (out of sight, out of mind), only buy what you’ll use next time. Remember: it’s not actually a better deal if it spoils and goes to waste.