How To Organize Your Kitchen Pantry
Your kitchen may have a large, beautiful pantry with all the space you’ll ever need, but if you don’t know how to organize it well, it can become a black hole instead of a beacon of light. Having a well-organized pantry means your household will never run out of the staples, so you will always have what you need on hand.
Organizing your pantry is all about knowing what your family’s basic, “go to” items are, and then determining the best way to store them, based on your available space and the frequency with which you go through those supplies.
When planning to stock your pantry efficiently, think of your must have kitchen items in two categories: edible and non-edible and begin by taking stock of what you have and how often you use it. Consider which items provide the most convenience (have you ever gone more than a couple of days without paper towels?) or the best protection against unforeseen circumstances (your kids bring home six unexpected teenage guests after school… what do you feed them?). If you’ve planned well, your pantry will hold enough paper goods and non-perishable items to restock any on-hand supplies that may suddenly run out.
Pantries don’t require you to invent a complex organization system. A few simple steps will help you make the most of the space you have.
- Begin by decluttering your pantry. Determine what is useful and which items are just taking up space, making it harder to find the important things you actually need. Throw out any expired items, or any foodstuff you haven’t touched in nine months or longer. (If you haven’t been inclined to use that quinoa since you bought it last year, chances are you’re not going to cook it next week either. Let it go.)
- Arrange what is left in logical groups so you’ll know where to look for something when you need it: all canned goods go together, jars with jars, and so on.
- Make sure it’s all visible… so you don’t forget you have it! Visibility is what makes a pantry truly functional. Collect smaller cans or bottles and store them in slide-out baskets or on a hanging door rack. Label higher shelves if you can’t easily see what’s up there, and add a Lazy Susan to deeper shelves to prevent things from disappearing into the dark spaces in the back.
Maintaining your organized pantry is simply a matter of tracking your usage. Keep your pantry filled with valuable supplies, instead of those hopeful alternatives that you end up never using. Take inventory of what non-perishable items your family uses most, by tracking the in and out of food products and other sundries for at least a two week period. Fill the pantry with back-up quantities of each storable item they go through regularly. If you find a new product you like, make sure to buy extra (twice as much as you would need before your next trip to the grocery store) and stash it in the pantry. A good rule of thumb: if there is an open bag or box in the kitchen, there should be a second in the pantry. This only works if you have storage for the extra items. Without the storage space, you’re creating extra clutter in your pantry.
An organized pantry will save you time and money, and can make meal planning and grocery shopping easier. Have you made the most of your kitchen pantry? Is it filled with items that you need often, or are its contents covered in cobwebs? Share your tips for creating a dream pantry in the comments below and inspire our readers to get their pantry in shape for a happier, more organized kitchen.