Your pantry is probably the most used and busiest cupboard in your whole house, you use it, hubby uses it and depending on the age of your children, they use it too. When you have all those big and small hands rummaging through the pantry each and every day looking for something to eat it can get out of control in no time.
So, how do you get a well-organised pantry, that is also practical/easy to use and will stay that way.?
First, you need to remove everything from the pantry, this way you can see what you actually have in there and you can work out what are the best storage solutions for your pantry. While everything is out of the cupboard check all use-by dates. Unfortunately, items can end up pushed at the back, some you may not even know you had – and now they are out of date. It’s also a good time to assess if there are products in there you won’t or don’t even use.
Looks different empty doesn’t it, it probably looks even bigger now that it’s empty and free of clutter. Do you see any air-tight containers that were in the pantry? If so, where were they located, could you SEE them? Could you access them? If your shelves were stacked with other foods and these containers were pushed to the back, chances are they were hard to find and to use – now is a good time to check these food items aren’t stale.
Unfortunately, the very top shelf of a pantry is usually hard to see and to use, worse if you are short, this means it was either not used, or contains items you didn’t even know where there.
Now that you have removed everything from the pantry it’s time to sort items together so you get an idea how to organise the pantry. Try to place all the food items where you can see them on kitchen benchtops, etc, don’t take items into another room, you’ll forget they are there, if needs be use your ironing board as another flat surface.
Once everything is out, use a warm cloth and wipe over all the shelves. While that is drying – if you need to head out to the shops and get some good quality storage boxes. A plastic set of 16L drawers is helpful and some larger storage boxes (without lids) are perfect to be placed on the bottom of the pantry – here you can stock all the *double up* products – chips, pasta, biscuits, cereals, all the items you grab when they are on special. The drawers are handy for storing any medications and small bags of loose chips – from share packs, muslie bars etc.
For all your canned goods, if you can’t find a tiered shelf, buy some long narrow storage containers and stand them upside down. The bases then make a good platform for you to be able to stand tins on. This way you can see 2 rows of tins and labels which make it a lot easier to find when you need something, you can also organise them into *fruit* at the back and vegetables at the front.
You may find that a lot of clutter in the pantry was from boxes and snacks for the kids, if you take them out of the boxes and place them into some 5.7l plastic drawers you’ll not only create space but eliminate clutter – a box with one muslie bar takes up the same room as a box that’s full, you’ll give the kids easy access, so they can pack one for their lunches, or they know where to go for an after-school treat. You also get to keep an eye on how fast the food is *disappearing* so you know what you need to buy or stock up on when you go grocery shopping. If the kids have their own space or shelf, they know where their food is and it will stop them rummaging through the rest of your pantry looking for something to eat.
Taking any opened packets of biscuits and transferring them into smaller airtight containers will not only help keep the biscuits fresh, they’ll be easier to stack and to find.
Store all your oil and sauces together in one storage container and spices, noodles and packet mixes in another. This way you can grab a box from the shelf, search for what you are looking for and place the box back when you’re done. By keeping all of the same/similar items together you also make items quicker to find.
While you may not have to throw out a lot of food, just by finding better storage solutions you can make room and now everyone in your family can find what they are looking for.