Do you need help putting your kitchen pantry in order?
Looking for a few simple ways to get things organized without spending a single dime?
Organizing a pantry may seem like a daunting task.
The good news, however, is that there are several existing organizational structures in your pantry that you can use to your advantage.
You just need to know where to look, and how to make things work for you.
In this post, I offer seven smart tips to help you organize a pantry…the easy way!
Store like items with like.
One of the tenets of organization is to store like items with like. Instead of having items scattered about in different locations in your pantry, you’ll group and keep similar items together. This can include grouping items as follows: canned goods with canned goods, boxed goods with boxed goods, and bagged goods with bagged goods.
Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to these basic combinations. Go ahead and get creative! How do you use or prefer to store items in your pantry? Do you like to organize by ingredient, recipe, cuisine, or use? Perhaps you like using a combination of organization methods?
If you want to keep things relatively simple, you can’t go wrong with the following pantry storage combinations:
- Baking supplies – flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar, vanilla
- Dried products – tomatoes, mushrooms, beans, pasta, herbs, spices
- Grains – boxed cereals, oatmeal, rice, millet, barley, corn
- Tubers and root vegetables – potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic
- Condiments – mustard, ketchup, relish, pickles, barbecue, mayonnaise, soy sauce, hot sauce
- Cooking goods – oils, shortening, lard, cooking spray, stock, bouillon, extracts
Store foodstuffs and appliances separately.
This tip is similar to the “like with like” tip above. If you need to store items in your pantry that are not food related, such as pots and pans, trays, small appliances, or other kitchen tools or utensils, you should do your best to keep like items with like. This means storing cookware and appliances in a separate area or corner away from your foodstuffs. You want to be able to easily retrieve a box of rice, without worrying about disturbing a baking sheet or set of nested bowls.
For example, if you have a pantry with many shelves and a fair amount of space, you could store appliances and tools on the lower two shelves, with food on the upper shelves. If you’re crunched for space, you could divide half of your pantry vertically, and store appliances on the left and food on the right. You get the general idea here: keep like with like as best you can.
Keep frequently used items within arm’s reach.
A well-organized pantry means you should be able to find what you need quickly. That being said, you should strive to keep frequently used items within arm’s reach. For instance, if you eat pasta on a weekly basis, you’d do well to store the pasta in a place that’s comfortable for you to reach, perhaps at eye level or slightly below.
The same idea applies for infrequently used items. You want to avoid constantly pushing your way past your holiday-themed electric fondue pot on a weekly basis. Store rarely used items either lower or higher in your pantry, depending on the dimensions of your space.
Reuse containers and bottles for storage.
Have a bunch of unused large plastic containers or glass jars with lids lying around your kitchen or pantry area? Why not put them to use? You can use these items to store dried foodstuff, such as flours, grains, beans, pasta, and more.
A good place to start is to transfer food from already opened bags, boxes, and packages. When reusing containers, be sure to thoroughly clean containers with soap and hot water, and completely air dry containers before placing food inside.
Effortlessly label items.
One easy way to create labels in your pantry is to simply reuse labels from existing packaging. All you have to do is cut out or tear off labels from boxes, bags, packages, and containers. Then, all you have to do is affix the appropriate label with clear mailing tape onto your new storage container.
You could also cut out nutrition information and preparation instructions for foodstuffs for easy future reference. If you want a more uniform look in your labels, you can use a thick black marker and pieces of masking tape to create handwritten labels in a pinch.
Turn those labels forward.
You know how supermarkets and grocery stores have all of their product labels facing forwards? You’ll want to do the same at home. Yes, this tip does seem like a no-brainer. However, turning those labels forward does have its benefits.
Firstly, doing so can instantly change the look of a pantry from chaotic to clean. You’re making use of the existing packaging to bring structure and form to your own kitchen. Secondly, taking a few minutes to align all labels means you’ll be able to find items in seconds, as opposed to minutes.
You can also easily see what’s missing, should you need to stock up on items on your next trip to the store.
Rotate products weekly.
Rotating your pantry not only helps keep foods fresh, but it can also save you money! The idea is to simply rotate your existing pantry stock whenever you make new purchases to prevent food from spoiling. The process is really quite easy to do.
Let’s say you have two cans of vegetable soup already sitting in your pantry. You buy six more cans of vegetable soup on sale at the store. When you arrive home, you simply move those existing two cans forward, and place the six new cans towards the back of your pantry shelf. And there you have it; properly rotated pantry stock!
How about you? Which of these tips do you think you’ll try out in your pantry? What concerns you the most when it comes to keeping your pantry organized? Let’s see if we can’t help you out. Join the conversation and leave a comment below!