Spring is for new beginnings. And after a long winter, there are probably spaces in your home that need a refresh. Like your pantry.
Pantries come in all shapes and sizes – from a single cabinet to an entire closet. I’ve even created a pantry in an unused back hall. No matter the size or space, pantries are great for storing dry goods, kitchen supplies, bulk items and infrequently used appliances.
Whatever the size of your space, you’ll get more use out of it if you organize your pantry well. There are three important guidelines to follow:
- Group like items together, such as snacks, baking items, coffee and tea, etc.
- Use clear containers and/or labels so everyone knows where to find (and put) things.
- Don’t overstuff it!
As with any organizing project, the first step in organizing your pantry is to de-clutter. Go through everything and toss any expired or unwanted food. If you have any non-perishables you’re just never going to eat – “why did I buy that can of garbanzo beans?” – donate them to your local food pantry.
Once it’s de-cluttered, create zones within your pantry space. Pantries function best when you have specific zones related to activities or types of food. For example, if you have kids, have a snack zone that is easy to reach, so they can help themselves. If you love to bake, have a baking zone where you can store all of your baking supplies.
Within those zones, group related items together. Pasta and sauce in one container, breakfast items in another, etc. Think of how you will consume them.
One you have created your zones and put like-items together, you get to the fun part. Containers! When it comes to organizing your pantry, noting beats uniform containers that fit the space. Here are some of my favorite solutions.
Airtight stacking storage containers
Ever had pantry moths? If so, you know why I recommend airtight storage containers. They’re ideal for storing food in your pantry. These clear, stacking storage containers come in a variety of sizes, so you can store pretty much anything in there. The best part is that they open and close in a snap!
Clear storage bins for easy viewing
Pantry life is so much easier if you can see what you have. The airtight bins I mentioned above are clear, but if you want larger open bins for loose items, then go with something like this. The built in handles make it easy to pull the bin off the shelf.
Lazy Susans for deep spaces
I’ve always wondered where the name came from. My sister’s name is Susan and when she was young, she would ask for something and my mom would say, “It’s on the Lazy Susan”. For years my sister thought my mom made that up as a way of calling her lazy. J In all seriousness, Lazy Susans are a great addition to any pantry or cabinet, especially when you are dealing with a deep shelf or space. They work wonders in corner cabinets. Lazy Susans come in a variety of sizes, so you can find one to fit just about anywhere. Use them to store taller items like oil and vinegar bottles, or for spices. Simply spin and voila, there it is! If the Lazy Susan is located above your head, be sure not to fill up the middle, or you won’t be able to see what’s beyond the first layer.
Wire baskets for produce
Keep your produce fresh by using wire baskets instead of plastic containers for better air circulation. Stack them to maximize space. Tip: put an apple in with your potatoes to keep them from sprouting and keep onions separate, their gasses will cause potatoes to spoil quicker.
Racks to corral your cans
If you have a lot of canned goods, then a rack will help corral them. Instead of having all of your canned goods lumped together, sort them by type: soups, sauces, vegetables, etc. This makes it so much easier to know what you have when it’s time to plan a meal.
Try this: Use a small adhesive hook to hang a measuring cup from your bulk storage containers. Choose the correct size cup for the portion you need. This will take the guess work out of measuring the right amount. You can use this trick for everything from oatmeal to coffee to dog food.
Now that your pantry is organized you might want to label your containers and/or shelves, just so there is no question as to what’s inside. This will help you be able grab things quickly, but also help family members put stuff away! Keep your pantry from getting overloaded by checking your stock before you shop. This will be easy to do once your pantry is de-cluttered and organized.
You’ll be amazed at how simple solutions like these can change your pantry space and also the way you think about cooking. Bon appetit!
You might like this related post about more ways to refresh your home this spring.
For more information on organizing your home and the spaces in it, visit OrganizingU.com.