When it comes to your pantry, are you like Old Mother Hubbard or a packrat? In other words, is your cupboard bare or overflowing? Learn how to organize your pantry in 6 easy steps and tame the pantry blues.
There’s nothing more frustrating than coming home, tired and hungry, to an empty pantry. Do you make a mad dash to the grocery store or order takeout – again? On the other hand, a jammed-packed pantry isn’t useful either. Sometimes it’s so hard to see what’s in there that it’s easier just to buy some more. Before you know it, you have 42 boxes of pasta and a pantry door that won’t shut – and you still don’t know what’s in there.
So how do you organize your kitchen pantry? The following steps will help!
Organize Your Pantry
1. Clear the Shelves
Take everything out of your pantry shelves so you can assess what you have. Toss any products that have expired and sorted everything that’s left into groups – for example, pasta, sauces, tinned vegetables, and so on. This will help you work out what you have plenty of and what things are missing.
2. Make Your Own List of Pantry Staples
Think about what you need to keep in the pantry cabinet. Remember, every household is different. There’s no point stocking up on baked beans if no-one is ever going to eat them. Instead, determine what foods you do eat. If you love Asian food, your staples might be noodles, rice, and soy. If Italian is more your scene, maybe your staples are tomatoes, olive oil, and pasta.
Of course, there are some basics that most pantries need, like cooking oil, sugar, flour, salt, and pepper. Don’t forget to stock up on these as well.
3. Have a Back-Up
Aim to have at least two items of each of your pantry staples: one open and one in reserve. When the open item is used up, grab the reserve, and then add the item to your shopping list. This way, you’ll never run out of anything again!
4. Have a System
There’s no right way to organize your pantry by category, but having some sort of system will save you wasting time looking for that packet of pasta that you ‘just know is in there somewhere.’ For example, you might like to keep all the breakfast cereals and spreads on one shelf and all the tinned food on another. Or maybe you’d prefer to group foods by cuisine or frequency of use – find a system that works for you and stick to it.
5. Plan Your Menus
OK, so planning meals in advance may seem a little too organized. But by thinking ahead and only buying the ingredients you actually need, you not only prevent any last-minute dashes to the grocery store, but you also stop filling your pantry with things that never get eaten. In other words, you save both time and money.
6. Go Through Your Pantry Regularly
Just about every pantry has at least one product that somehow never gets used. Every so often, go through your pantry and get rid of any out-of-date or never used products. This way, you get a feel for what your family is actually eating and what’s just sitting there taking up space. If you feel bad about tossing perfectly good food, consider giving it to a friend or donating it to a charity.
With the help of our tips on how to organize your pantry, you should be off to a good start to achieve balance!