This week I have been working on my pantry. I put a lot of thought into how to best organize this area to make everything easy to find. If your pantry is in tip top shape, cooking and meal planning becomes so much easier, meaning less stress for you!
To start clear off your counters and dining room table. This is where you will put everything from your pantry. Clean out every single item. Take advantage of a bare pantry and wipe it down and scrub the shelves. I usually just use a bucket full of hot soapy water and some elbow grease. A great homemade cleaner is equal parts hot water and vinegar with a few drops of Dawn dishsoap.
First things first, wait to see what items you keep and plan out how you are going to structure your pantry before you buy baskets and organization tools. I love a good decorative basket any day of the week, except in the pantry. In this space you are constantly getting in there to cook and reevaluate your stock so that you can meal plan. It can be difficult to see what is in the bottom of a basket. This is how you end up with food hiding and expiring. If you are going to add baskets, make sure it’s for a good purpose. For example, organizing paper plates, cups, napkins can be difficult, but in a basket they stay all together in a nice orderly fashion. Or a small basket for something like taco season packets or oatmeal packets is a great idea to keep them all in the same place. I only have a handful of baskets in my pantry for items that are difficult to sit on a shelf. Use them for a good purpose and not just because they look pretty. Clear bins are a great option too.
Planning out your pantry is a critical step. Keep like items in the same area. I have 8 main groups:
- Paper plates, plastic utensils, and napkins
- Breakfast items
- Lunch items
- Dinner items
- Baking items
- Big food items (gallon of apple juice, chip bags, etc)
- Small appliances that will not fit in my cabinets
Yours will look different than mine, of course. The point is to figure out where each item fits and put it with like items. This will make it easier to find that one particular item if you know what category to look in.
I hope that this quick guide to pantry organization has been helpful. I love having a clean organized pantry. It helps me plan my menu and shopping list easier when I can quickly look in pantry and see what I already have. Leave a comment and let me know what you thought.
P.S. A simple meal planning guide and process will be coming soon!