You come home after a long day at the office, wanting some spaghetti for dinner. You find the noodles, but where the heck is that can of sauce you know you bought last week. After too much time looking through countless items in your pantry and wondering why you just found three cans of refried beans, you give up and dial for pizza…again. If you had a well-organized pantry, you’d have saved some money and had your fresh-cooked meal. Don’t despair! With a little planning and organization, you can have the pantry of your dreams.
If you are well organized, you sit down at the beginning of the week and plan meals. You make a grocery list, buy a whole cart of food, and come home to store it until you are ready to cook. Over time, you develop a collection of spices, dry goods, and canned items. Ideally, the next time you sit down to plan meals again, you’ve already got some of those items on hand. If your pantry is organized, you can open a cabinet and know what you have and what you need to purchase.
Benefits of an organized pantry
Pantries can be small and compact or a walk-in room. However large or small it is, there are ways to organize your pantry and good reasons to do so.
- Everything has its place
Take spices, for example. A collection can accumulate over time, and soon, you spend 5 minutes looking at every little bottle when you need a condiment. And if you bought different brands, they don’t even stack together.
- It’s safer to get around your kitchen
Stacked cans and appliances can fall, resulting in not just a mess but maybe a bruised toe. There are ways to reduce the risk.
- A beautiful place to see
Clutter creates chaos, but an organized pantry makes cooking a pleasure.
- It serves a function
A pantry can look pretty, but it’s not helpful if it doesn’t work for you.
- It saves you money
Instead of buying a can of tomatoes, you can use the one in your pantry that is about to expire.
- It saves time
Instead of spending time looking for an ingredient, you can pull out what you need and get cooking immediately.
- It helps with meal planning
If you are on a budget, you can look in your pantry and see a meal or two that you can make without going shopping.
- It keeps food safer and fresher
When you buy a bag of flour or a cereal box, it starts to lose flavor as soon as you break the seal. Placing dry goods in sealed containers will make them last longer, prevent spills and tears in the bags or boxes, and help them stack neater on the shelves.
How To Organize Your Pantry
Everyone’s space and storage needs are different. A single person who goes out to eat often needs a different space than someone who loves to bake cookies each week. Families may need a different space than retired folks.
Think about these things when thinking about a good use of your space:
- Define how you use your space
Do you cook at home a lot, shop sales, or buy in bulk at Costco?
- Define your space
Do you have a dedicated pantry or just a few shelves?
- Define your budget
A quick search of Pinterest or Instagram will result in a million ideas. It’s fun to put everything in matching containers, but that costs more money. Start simple.
Organizing your pantry can be as simple as purchasing some tiered shelving to alphabetize your spices, adding baskets for dry goods and snacks, or getting matching containers sized for each item. There are stackable can racks, turn-tables, drink organizers, metal bins that slip under shelves, and unique labels for it all. On the other end of the spectrum, there are professional pantry organizers that can redefine your space with new shelving, racks, and more.
Clean and Organize
At some point, you are going to have to do a deep clean of your kitchen. Put similar items in a pile – Spices, canned goods, dry goods, fresh vegetables such as potatoes and onions, drinks, snacks, cereals, etc. Go through each pile and determine whether it’s still good, whether the food is still fresh, or if it’s expired. If items are unopened and you know you will never use them, consider donating them to someone in need.
Then take a look at your space. Determine what makes sense for you. You might want to store cereals and snacks where kids can grab them, spices at eye level so you can see exactly what you need or keep baking goods together. Sort cans and jars by type and by expiration date. Find a basket to store those potatoes. Determine what containers or gadgets make sense.
Unless you have a huge pantry, you might not be able to store everything in the space provided. Keep your extra items (paper goods or plastic cups) that you don’t use every day in an out of the way closet or basement
Hire a Professional Organizer
If you’ve made some improvements and it’s still not working, consider consulting with the professional organizers at Totally Organized Life. We have tips and tricks that will change your life! Once your pantry is organized, we’ll show you how to keep it that way. Make your life easier by organizing your pantry today.