In six simple steps you can go from, “What a mess!” to, “I’m impressed!” with a clean, organized pantry.
The state of your home influences the state of your mind. If your house is out of control, then it’s no wonder you feel stressed.
Once you’ve sorted your fridge, your pantry should be the next place to focus your kitchen organization efforts on. Because it’s a high-use area, having it well-organized and looking attractive will give you a boost of satisfaction every time you enter it.
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STEP ONE TO AN ORGANIZED PANTRY: GROUP
If you’ve read any of my organizing posts, you’ll be familiar with the idea of everything having a place. Therefore, the first step is to remove ALL the food from your pantry and sort it into groups.
Every person’s groups will be different based on the type of food and drink they consume. However, in our pantry we have the following groups:
- Hot drinks (coffee, various teas and also the sugarbowl)
- Herbs and spices
- Vinegars, sauces and oils
- Breads (including wraps, tortillas and so on)
- Breakfast items (rolled oats and almond milk)
- Lunches (tinned products like baked beans)
- Dinners (the regular staples we use for dinners such as tinned tomatoes, chilli beans, coconut milk and so on)
- Staples (rice, quinoa, risoni, pasta)
- Baking items (flour, sugar, icing sugar, essences)
- Vegetables (potatoes, onion, ginger and garlic)
Using these groups as your headings, make a list of your ideal pantry items. Remember to include anything you might have just run out of and be specific about quantities. It’s also a good idea to jot down brands and sizes if they are relevant.
Save the list on your computer or phone.
This list can be used every time you go to create your shopping list.
STEP TWO TO AN ORGANIZED PANTRY: CLEAN AND DISCARD
The next step is to clean out the pantry in preparation for putting everything back in. Wipe out all those shelves and mop the floor. Clean the back of the pantry door, the skirting and so on.
Now go to your food items. Check the expiry dates and get rid of anything that has seen better days.
STEP THREE TO AN ORGANIZED PANTRY: ALLOCATE
Now it’s time to do some thinking about your space.
Where would your groups be best located?
We have our hot drink zone immediately in the door on the left. You hardly have to be standing in the pantry to grab your coffee. Breakfast items are in the next area of shelving. When you stand at the pantry door, you see all the dinner items. Furthest away are the baking items.
You get where this is going. The things you use the most should be the closest OR the most visible.
Work out your plan.
STEP FOUR TO AN ORGANIZED PANTRY: CONTAIN
Now this is the fun part – working out the containers.
1. For all staples such as rice, quinoa, risoni and so on, I use airtight plastic containers, like these practical 12 cup sized containers by Rubbermaid.
Matching sets are great, but make sure to purchase similar sizes for similar products. For example, all my staples are in the same size container, so I have six of those. Then I have larger containers for products like flour, followed by a collection like the final one pictured for all those other odds and ends.
Cut out the cooking instructions and pop them in the container with the product – a perfect idea for lentils, quinoa and so on.
2. Purchase chalkboard labels to stick on to your containers.
3. If space is at a premium in your pantry, then consider purchasing a stackable can rack organizer for your cans.
4. Place your potatoes, onions and so on into baskets such as these hyacinth storage baskets.
5. If you wanted to continue with the chalkboard label theme, you can purchase mini erasable chalkboard labels to hang off the baskets.
STEP FIVE TO AN ORGANIZED PANTRY: RETURN
Now it’s time to return everything to the pantry.
Take a deep breath and admire the awesomeness!
STEP SIX TO AN ORGANIZED PANTRY: MAINTAIN
A couple of simple items will make maintaining your beautifully organized pantry so much simpler.
The first is a couple of packs of large chip bag clips to seal open bags that you don’t have containers for. These clips are specifically designed for food storage.
The second is a magnetic notepad, so that the minute you use up an item (or even come close) you can jot it down for the next shopping trip.
In these six simple steps you can go from, “What a mess!” to, “I’m impressed!” And remember, a clean, organized pantry isn’t just good for the eyes – it helps you stay calm and in control.
What’s your biggest challenge when it comes to organizing your pantry?
Want to tackle another kitchen organization project? Try How to organize your fridge.
How about some other areas of your house? Try How to declutter your bathroom.