A pantry is a valuable tool for an organized kitchen that runs smoothly and operates with ease. It’s a place to neatly tuck cans, sundries, snacks, cereals and various other types of foodstuffs. It can even be used to stow pots, pans and countertop appliances when they aren’t in use.
In order to make your pantry work the best for you and your kitchen, you really need to take the time to organize it. How do you do that? Grab a marker, some pressure sensitive labels, some bins and baskets, set aside some time and follow these tips to create a neat and organized kitchen pantry.
Clear It Out
The first step to organizing your pantry is emptying it. Clear out the entire contents of the pantry and take a look through what you have.
Make a toss, donate and keep pile. Look at expiration dates and throw out anything that has passed the date. You can also toss out items that are broken or damaged. Donate things that you haven’t used in, say, a year, or that you don’t foresee yourself using (while that break maker you got as a housewarming gift may be nice, if it’s been stored away since you moved into your house years ago, chances are you aren’t going to use it.) Place items that you use regularly, or that you plan on using, in the keep pile (cookware, foodstuffs, etc.)
Purging your pantry is the most effective way to start the organization process.
Keep Things Fresh
Place baking supplies (flour, sugar, etc), pastas, cereals and anything else that has the potential to go stale in jars with tightly fitting lids. Add crack and peel labels to each jar with the contents and the date it was filled. This will allow you to easily see what is inside each jar, and will let you know what is still good to use and what has past its point of freshness.
Use Trays and Baskets
Place any items that you want to keep in their original packaging (snacks, rice, beans, etc) in trays and/or baskets. If you have kids, you might want to consider dedicating a specific basket to their favorite snacks, that way they will be able to easily access them without making a mess. Don’t forget to label your trays and baskets! Doing so will allow you to easily decipher what is in each vessel, which will make it easier to locate items, and will make unpacking groceries easier, too.
Wire racks are really handy for storing cans and jars. Place them on the shelves or the floor of your pantry so you can easily access them and keep these items well contained and neatly tucked away. Consider grouping cans and jars that contain similar items together. For example, you may want to place canned vegetables together in one wire rack, and jars of pasta sauce together in another wire rack.
If you need to add some extra square footage to your storage, look to the door. Install a wire storage rack or shelving onto the door for even more storage. You can use this space to hold spices, food packaging items (plastic wrap, tin foil, storage bags, etc) or anything else that you need to.
The key to making your kitchen a productive space is organization. Follow these tips and you will keep your pantry – and the rest of your kitchen – neat, organized and in order.