You know it, I know it, the pantry is not on the top priority list. But it should be! We use this area almost, if not every, day and it houses one of the three essential human needs (shelter, water and ) FOOD! The home for our food should be shown a lot of respect and care. When we keep it tidy items are easier to find, grab and run back to the pan with. Our kids (husbands) can find their
Fruit by the Foot snacks faster and we are not over stocking items we already have.
Here are some quick and easy tips for getting the pantry back into shape.
EMPTY OUT YOUR PANTRY & PUT IT ALL ON DISPLAY
ALL OF IT. It’s a serious shocker when you see all those cans and boxes spread out in your kitchen. You will find things you never knew you had, wonder how the toys ended up in there, find empty boxes, the works. It’s OK it happens to all of us, it’s called life.
GET RID OF THE EMPTY BOXES
I am a supporter of saving boxes but most of these will be squished, ripped, dented or stinky. Toss it. Invest in bins that you can wash. I bought the plastic bins at DAISO and used some Dollar store plastic bins as well. It doesn’t take much more than 15.00 to make a pantry functional. Invest in nicer materials later (or now if you have the cash!!)
CHECK FOR EXPIRED ITEMS AND TOSS
There is no excuse. I know some people say that they write expiration dates far before items ACTUALLY expire…but no dollar amount is worth the risk of your health. Dump it and spend a couple bucks on a new can of soup or box of macaroni.
TAKE ITEMS OUT OF BOXES
Boxes take up a ton of room especially when they are half empty. You will have a new way to store them that is functional and will allow for other items to cozy in and take up valuable pantry real estate. Short of ziploc bags or napkins they really don’t need packaging and can look pretty in a jar or can be cleverly hidden in a bin organized with like items.
PUT LIKE ITEMS TOGETHER
And I mean like items of purpose, not of material. If you put all of your cans together you could be putting your fruit with soup instead of with baking and when you grab the materials to make a pineapple upside down cake you don’t realize that you had a can of pineapple already! A lot of items we buy we purchase with intention. For dinner, lunch or dessert. Put those items together.
ONE STEP STORAGE
I cannot stress enough how important it is not to stack items on top of each other. Humans are simple, we like things to be easily accessible and uncomplicated. Our brains are wired to find the easiest and most efficient route, so when you stack boxes you are less likely to open, pull out or put back the bottom box. Have everything at one level and add a wire rack if you need to use more vertical space. When placing items into bins, stack them vertically and do not pile them on top of each other because I promise 9 out of 10 times you will not dig in to see what is under there.
If you like storing cans outside of bins get a can shelf that has steps so you can see the cans in the back and easily grab them. When all the cans are one behind the other on the same level you will be less likely to see the items in the back at a glance when putting your shopping list together.
I like to make it fun like put “lunches” or “dinners” and “snacks” so that when someone looks in for ideas they can browse the box, and I will know when I am cooking and need a rice-a-roni box. I also have labels for “baking” (cake goods and cup cakes, pumpkin pies, etc.), “cooking” (cans for meals and Peruvian dishes I love, bouillon cubes, etc.) “aprons”, “food storage” (all the extra ziplocs and plastic wrap etc. I only have ONE of each extra and they are stacked vertically to take less space in a bin)
That’s all she wrote folks. You can be super creative and find what works for you, modify it to fit your pantry
but this is really a great solution for getting things in order quickly and having a functional finish ;).