When it comes to kitchen organization, your pantry is the command center, where dry foods, canned goods, and spices are stored. With such a cavernous storage area, it’s easy for items to get lost in the shuffle. That’s why we believe it’s important to regularly assess your pantry, get rid of unnecessary items, and use more effective kitchen organizers so that you can find any ingredient at a moment’s notice. Below, we’ve outlined a few techniques for cleaning up your pantry, so that cooking becomes a more joyful activity.
Purchase Clear Containers and Labels
First, you’ll need to invest in kitchen organizers that are easy to locate and store. We recommend clear containers, because they allow you to see exactly what kind of food is inside (ex. penne, spaghetti, or rigatoni), as well as how much you have left. For even more context, you can stick a write-on label on each container, and then revise the label to reflect whatever’s inside. It’s also a good idea to buy a few mesh baskets for fruits and vegetables, so that they aren’t forgotten in a bowl or on a dimly lit shelf.
Assess Which Items are Truly Necessary
Once you’ve invested in a few home organization tools, it’s time to take everything out of the pantry and decide what to keep, donate, or throw out. Yes, we mean everything. First, lay the items neatly on a kitchen counter or table, so that they’re easier to sort. This will also give you a rare opportunity to dust and wipe down the entire pantry, from the highest shelves to the floor. Next, look at each item and ask yourself: has this food expired? If not, will I actually eat it? When deciding which items to keep, you need to be ruthless. Get rid of stale food and one-off purchases, so that next time when you look in the pantry, you only see fresh and delicious items.
Stick to a Cleaning Schedule
The first time you take everything out of the pantry, it may take hours to assess and clean. Once you’ve established a more organized pantry, though, it’s so much easier to maintain. We recommend taking a few minutes every week to see what items you have, what items you need, and what you should avoid buying in the future. This can help immensely with meal planning, so that ingredients are actually used for specific dishes. When you only buy items that are necessary in the short tem, your pantry stays spacious, and grocery costs go down.
Arrange Products By Group, Shape, and then Height
It’s common for pantries to be organized by size first, because it’s more visually appealing. However, it’s much more important that items are arranged according to their purpose first, and then ordered by size. For example, canned foods, snack bags, and spice jars should each be kept in their own designated section. Once you’ve established where each group goes, you can refine the placement of individual items according to your needs. For example, you’ll probably be using olive oil more often than truffle oil, so keep the olive oil bottle in a location that’s easy to reach.