5 Simple Strategies for an Organized Pantry
If the kitchen is the heart of a home then the pantry is definitely the blood vessel that feeds it; which makes it all the more important to give it the love it deserves. Having an organized pantry has so many benefits. It means significantly less food waste, since things don’t get lost in the back and expire. It also allows for quicker meal prep as it’s much easier to find what you are looking for and it promotes healthier eating by allowing you to keep nutritious options right at your fingertips.
Achieving a food storage space that is functional and beautiful is not as difficult as you may think. If you want to tackle your pantry then try keeping these next five strategies in mind.
Less is More
While you obviously want to maximize the storage capability of your pantry, the goal shouldn't be to pack it so tightly that you’re worried about a possible avalanche when you open the door.
Ideally the pantry space in your kitchen is reserved for items that are open and currently in use. Meaning that the giant box of canned beans, the twelve jars of tomato sauce and the Costco sized bag of flour shouldn't live in that space. Ideally those extra items can be stored in a separate back stock area. You don’t need a whole other room dedicated to this, some inexpensive shelving in your garage or basement will do the trick. Try keeping just one can or bottle, and decanting some of the flour into a jar. By keeping just the essentials in your kitchen it makes it much simpler to see what you have and easily find what you are looking for.
If you are only going to pick one of these strategies to employ today, this is it. Containment is key to an organized space. Most of us don’t have custom built walk-in pantries and need to make do with the builder-grade spaces. Unfortunately those are typically narrow, deep and it’s all too easy for food to get lost in there. The best and easiest way to counteract this is to use bins and baskets to contain the food by category. Using container solutions means that you will only need to move one thing (the bin) to access the food in the back, instead of all the smaller items separately.
A few key things to think about when choosing the right containers: measure your space to be sure they will fit, look for bins with high enough sides to prevent food from toppling out, and lastly get a variety of sizes but stick to a single colour to reduce visual clutter and get that streamlined look.
Keep Like with Like
This strategy goes hand in hand with containment, in that you want to group similar items together into categories that make sense for you. Keeping like items together makes cooking and baking that much simpler as the ingredients you need are easy to find. Taking out the “baking bin” when you want to make your favourite muffin recipe will take a fraction of the time that it would have taken to find the flour, sugar, baking powder and chocolate chips individually. So when you are ready to tackle your pantry, take everything out and sort it into categories before loading it back into the cupboard. You’ll be amazed at the difference it can make.
Label Label Label
Try to think of labelling as the roadmap for your household to follow in order to get to the right destination. Labelling your pantry makes it easier to maintain your newly organized space. It eliminates the need for guessing where something should go and helps everyone to get onto the same page. Think of how much easier it might be for your children to prepare their school lunches if you have a bin labelled “school snacks” that they can just choose from. Using the right words in the right place can make a world of difference in access and maintenance.
Finally, Make It Easy
Maintaining your space should not be burdensome. If you have set up the right system that makes sense for you and the way you use the space then it shouldn’t take monumental effort to keep it that way. One of the keys to ensuring that is to think of the easiest thing you can do to solve the problem at hand. For example, if you have oatmeal for breakfast every morning then the breakfast bin with said oatmeal should be right up front. Storing it in the back of the pantry would make it hard to grab and put away and you’ll just end up throwing it in there and slamming the door. Think of your kitchen space in terms of having prime real estate and less desirable properties. You want to save that prime real estate for the food you love and use all the time. Save the less desirable spots, like the space up high or too far in the back for less used items and you should see a big difference in how easy it is to keep up your freshly organized pantry.
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