Thanks to Debra and Anna you've probably already managed to organize your bedroom closed
and overhaul your linen closet
. Now it's time to tackle that dreaded pantry.
My pantry was haunting me, overflowing with cracker boxes and craft supplies, just begging for a makeover. Last night I took on this project and I'll share the process with you here.
What you'll need
- Baskets (various sizes, that fit in your pantry)
- Tupperware containers
- Cleaning supplies
- Garbage bag
- Flat surface for sorting
After the break, I'll take you through my pantry transformation.
How to organize your pantry
- Take everything out
Take everything out of the pantry. Put in all on a flat surface (the floor if you have to) where you can see everything you have.
- Have a garbage bag handy
Don't be afraid to trow things out. If you've had the same seasoning go through 2 children and three moves with nobody using it, they probably never will. Take this chance to start fresh and get rid of any stale food, or foods that you know you'll never use.
- Wash the shelves
It's pretty rare to have a completely empty pantry, so take this opportunity to give it a good clean. I was surprised how much spilled flour and rings of honey were plastered to the shelves.
- Sort into baskets
When you have sauces lined up in front of each other it can be hard to know what you have. If it's all in a basket you can just slide it out and have a look, then put it back neatly. I have a basket for pastas and rices, and another one for sauces. I used smaller baskets for packaged soup mixes, and seasonings. Be realistic about what amount of each item you typically have on hand. Leave plenty of room, so that you have a place for new things.
- Put your bulk into containers
Buying in bulk can be a great way to save money and control portion sizes. My pantry had dozens of bags of bulk foods thrown on the top shelf. I never knew exactly what I had, so I was continually buying duplicates and wasn't really using them.
- Re-stock your pantry
When you're putting things back in the pantry, consider what you use most, put those items in easily accessible areas. Things that you're not using as often can go on the top shelf; they're still organized so they won't get lost in the shuffle, but you don't need to access them everyday.
We store kid's craft supplies in our pantry. It's a central place, and we're short on storage otherwise. I found that things were starting to get mixed us, tape appearing in with canned foods, and glitter surfacing with behind jars of pasta sauce. It's important that you designate areas in the pantry even if they are sharing the same general space. We're keeping craft supplies on the bottom, and organizing that too made things much easier to manage.
It feels so good to have a clean and organized pantry. The baskets will encourage me to put groceries away in their specific spot, and keep track of what I have and what I need to buy. The bulk containers should ensure that we actually use the things we're buying. The whole thing took less than an hour, and it will only take a little bit of discipline to maintain.