Use these tips on how to organize a pantry to make your kitchen function more smoothly.
There is nothing that makes cooking easier than a clean and organized kitchen and an important element of that is a well-organized pantry. Taking the time to organize your pantry can save you tons of money and time when it comes to dinner preparation. Now some of you may have a pantry closet that you can use and some may only have a few cabinets. The main focus here is taking the kitchen pantry storage that you have and making good use of it.
How to Organize a Pantry
Now for those of you that have read my organizational posts before you know that we always start out by cleaning it out. It's time to take everything out of your pantry and stack it on the table or counter and start wiping all of the shelves off. What good is a little pantry organization going to be if everything is placed back on dirty shelves? Once you get your shelves wiped down, take a few extra minutes and sweep and mop the floor. Everything is starting to look a little better now, isn't it?
Patry Organization Ideas
Take a look at your inventory and decide on some categories. There are many things that go in the pantry and having them all haphazardly placed on the shelves is not going to make your dinner preparation go very smoothly at all. Look at the items that you have and start placing them in categories. These are the ones that I use at my house:
- Baking items
- Breakfast foods
- Beans, rice, and pasta
- Nuts and fruits
- Canned foods
- Boxed foods
- Root vegetables
Check the dates on all of the packages before you place them in the pantry. There is no reason to waste space and time organizing expired food.
Pantry Shelving Ideas
Now that you have similar items grouped together, choose which shelf they should go on. Do you kids need to access breakfast and snack foods, then place them on a lower shelf.
Place items that are rarely used on the top shelf.
If you have small children, place glass items near the back of shelves where they are less likely to get knocked off.
Make rows of canned good by category such as beans, tomatoes, soups, fruit, etc. This will make it easier to find the exact canned item you need.
Don't forget to use the floor. If you put pantry baskets on the floor, you can store your root vegetables there. You can also use the floor for larger bulk purchases.
Use Pantry Storage Containers
It is much easier to see things when they are in clear canisters and it will help keep your food fresh and bug-free for longer. You don't have to buy storage containers, you can clean out old jars and use them to store dried foods. So take all of your items that are loose such as your flour, sugar, beans, and nuts and put them in clear plastic or glass containers and add labels. You don't necessarily have to label them if they are in a clear canister but sometimes it makes it a little easier to find things that look similar. If your room is not well lit there is a good chance that your flour may look like sugar and that would not work well if you get that mixed up in a recipe!
You can also use pantry containers to organize packages that would easily slip around or fall over. A basket is an easy way to keep kids snacks organized.
Label your pantry shelves.
This can come in handy especially if you have more than one person in the house that does the cooking or more than one person who puts away the groceries. My teenage daughter is always baking something but never seems to get things put back where they go. Grab some labels and put them on the shelves marking the spot where everything goes!
Attach a shopping list in your pantry.
Place a notepad or this printable shopping list to the door or wall of your pantry. If you are getting low on a supply add it to the list immediately. That way when it comes time for your weekly grocery shopping you will just need to grab your pantry list and you will be good to go. No more missing supplies when it comes time to bake!
How to Maintain Your Pantry Organization
Now that you have your pantry all set up and organized take some time to keep it that way. Once every two weeks go through and do a quick look over to make sure all your supplies are well stocked. This Printable Pantry Inventory Sheet may help.
Once a month take the time to check the dates on everything and make sure that when you buy new items you put the newest items in the back and keep the older stuff to the front.
Have an Eat from the Pantry Challenge. Once or twice a year plan your meals for 2 – 4 weeks almost exclusively from what you have on hand to eat down your stockpile. This will ensure that food doesn't expire and go to waste. Here are tips for planning a pantry challenge.
No two pantries are alike, so find a system that works well for you and your family and stick with it. Do you have a great pantry organization that works well in your home?