Imagine this: you have a serious snack craving that must be satisfied. You wander aimlessly through the kitchen opening cupboard after cupboard with no luck. You turn to the pantry and are greeted with a mess. You can’t find anything through the bags of half-used pasta, a dozen or so half-used cereal boxes and a mishmash of spices.
If not, how about this one: you make a list of grocery items for dinner the following week. After spending an hour or so at the store, you come home to put away your groceries and realize that you already have half of the items already shoved in your pantry.
We all can relate to either one or both of those stories. Who hasn’t purchased something they already own or fail at satisfying a snack hankering because our pantry is so out of whack? You don’t have to live this way. Having an organized pantry will eliminate unnecessary stress and save you money (see purchasing the same item you already own). With these simple steps, you can whip your home pantry into shape with little stress and on a dime.
First, clean out your pantry. Bring everything out and take inventory of what you have. Toss anything that is expired, stale or unwanted. Be realistic- if you will not use something anymore donate and it is not expired, donate it to a local food bank.
Once everything is removed, clean the pantry shelves and walls thoroughly. Take it one step further and paint. If you are taking the step to clean out the pantry, go all the way with a fresh coat of paint. Get creative and cover the wall behind the shelves with decorative paper. A fancier pantry will entice you to keep it clean.
Be smart about storage
Sitting items on a shelf is just a mess waiting to happen. Invest in glass jars for baking items like flour, brown and powdered sugar, pancake mix, etc. The clear glass will allow you to visually see when you are running out of an item, plus it is visually attractive. Baskets and other clear jars can hold items like fruit snacks, breakfast bars, etc. These are ideal for individual packaged items that often get jumbled once opened.
However you decide to store things is up to you but make sure that every item has a home. Take it one step further and get fancy with labels so everyone in the family will know where each item should go.
Storage bins will actually increase the space in your pantry by eliminating bulky (and usually ugly) packaging. For cans and other similar items, invest in a can storage rack for easy and economical storage.
Make it user friendly
Put frequently used items at eye level, and lesser used out of the way. Put kid’s items like fruit snacks, crackers, etc. at their level for easy access and less frustration. Heavy items should be near the bottom or on the floor to avoid injury.