Maybe you enjoy cooking or baking. Maybe you consider yourself at least somewhat organized. But if you dug deep into your pantry right now, you might be surprised at what you find. Old cans and powdered mixes that expired months or even years ago. Old pasta boxes that have like 12 noodles in them. Most of us have some extra time on our hands right now, so let’s come up with a system to organize that messy pantry and prevent you from wasting anything. Here’s how:
Pull Everything Out
Your pantry should feel like a tool kit, not a dumping ground for things you don’t know what to do with. To get started, get everything out and toss anything that’s expired. Once it’s all out in the open, clean all of the surfaces of your pantry for a fresh start.
Grouping Similar Products
As you’re removing items, try to sort them into categories like baking, dinner, and snacks. Keeping items that are normally used together in close proximity to each other will prevent you from searching for things when it’s time to cook. Ideally, you only use one cabinet, drawer, or shelf to hold everything you need for common scenarios in your kitchen.
Your pantry might be overstuffed and you’ll quickly realize it may be impossible to keep it well organized with the space you have. Think about some items that could be moved elsewhere. Snacks, coffee, or tea are usually good candidates. Maybe you have a cabinet full of pots and pans that could be moved to make more space. There’s almost always free wall space. A pot rack of some kind can free up a lot of room for pantry items.
Most kitchen cabinet shelves are adjustable and you don’t want to waste any vertical space. You might even find that you can add a shelf or two, or add a wire shelf to create an additional elevated level on an existing shelf. Try to avoid stacking items on top of each other. You might feel like your fitting more into your pantry but you’re also creating a future obstacle, making things behind the stack harder to get to.
Bins, Pullout Organizers, and Lazy Susans
With the right accessories, you’ll never lose anything in the back of your pantry again. Use clear bins or wire baskets to keep things that might come in bags, like pasta or rice, organized and upright. No more bags dropping out when you open your pantry door. There are also alternatives with slides that fasten to your shelf, like Simplehuman’s pullout cabinet organizers. Lazy Susans can also help make smaller cans or jars and spices easily accessible. These will prevent you from searching in back corners or lifting one item at a time trying to find what you’re looking for.
Once you’ve got everything in place or at least a plan of where everything will go, and you’ve got your new bins and Lazy Susans, labeling is your last step. You could use a label maker if you have one, but don’t worry if you don’t. Wet erase markers work great for plastic bins and containers, or use masking tape and a sharpie. Whatever you use, labeling shelves and containers make it easier to find things and will also help you to stick with your plan in the future.
That’s it! You now have a professionally organized and hopefully a visually appealing pantry!
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