Prepping for three meals a day and meals on the go are easier when your pantry is organized. You can grab exactly what you need, quickly create a shopping list, and prevent re-buying items you already have when everything is clearly displayed. If your pantry is out of sorts, these tips will help you get things in order so you can better manage all food-related tasks:
Start fresh and clean
The best way to organize your pantry starts with a clean slate. Before you start purchasing baskets or bins or organizing items or even hitting the grocery store to stock up, empty your pantry and inventory everything you already have. Pull everything out of your pantry and weed out expired items and then focus on the pantry itself before you start filling shelves.
“With your pantry empty, now’s the time to eliminate crumbs and wipe up spills. Clean your pantry shelves using a cleaning cloth and multipurpose cleaner. Sweep or vacuum, then mop the floor,” advises Aby Garvey, writer for FamilyHandyman.com.
Establish zones for a clear structure
Just like in the grocery store, food falls into certain categories, arranged in aisles or sections so you can shop with efficiency. Although your pantry is smaller in scale, you can adopt the structure of a grocery store into your own space. Make your pantry work for you by establishing zones that reflect how you and your family eats.
“First, identify food and cooking categories that suit your lifestyle (such as weeknight dinners, portable lunches, and baking). Next, designate an area for each, with the most often-used zones in easy reach. Finally, label each zone to keep the sections straight,” according to Caitlin Sole, writer for BHG.com.
Items you use on a daily basis should take up space on middle shelves. Higher items should hold items you don’t access all the time while the bottom shelves or floor can hold heavy items like drinks or bulk purchases.
Utilize containers and organizational tools
Once you have a clean pantry and a clear flow for your items that works for you and your family, it’s time to make use of containers and organizational items. These additions can keep things in their place and show you at a glance what’s missing. They can also help your family members visually understand your organization and not mess it up. If you’re not a fan of clutter, consider clear containers.
“Busy packaging can make your pantry look cluttered. Remove any plastic bags or cardboard boxes, and decant dry ingredients into clear canisters. Odd-shaped items, like chip bags and root vegetables, fit nicely in bins as opposed to being stacked loosely on the shelf,” according to Molly Miller, Katie Friedman, and Toni Hammersly, writers for HGTV.com. A lazy Susan is a great solution for condiments and oils, they add.
Your pantry is an important tool in your home and the better it functions, the better your experience will be when creating meals, packing lunches, and preparing a shopping list. When your pantry is organized, you can waste less time with meal prep and with putting away groceries. Plus, since everything has a clear spot in the pantry, your family members can pitch in and help!