How to Organize Your Pantry in 12 Steps & the Essential Products You Will Need
Follow these pantry organization tips to make grocery shopping and meal prep a breeze!
Organizing the pantry is no small feat! This tedious task will feel completely worth it when you go to use your pantry and find everything in its right place. Once organized, cooperation from everyone in your house will be necessary to maintain order. To help you get things started, we have listed 12 crucial steps for organizing your kitchen pantry - the right way!
We will also share some must-have products to help you keep it from getting cluttered again.
1. Start With a Clean Slate
Empty your entire pantry, and thoroughly clean all of the surfaces inside before you begin the organization process. Toss out anything that has expired or is not frequently used - you can often give unwanted items away locally to food pantries or otherwise if they do not expire for a month or more. Starting fresh will help you to keep things organized for much longer.
2. Take Inventory
After clearing out any old and expired items, you can easily see what is left to organize which will help you from purchasing unnecessary storage containers for unwanted items. Make a list of the staple items you want to keep in your pantry and update it regularly so you know what you have and prevent running out or overstocking. When it comes time for grocery shopping, take this list with you to make for easier decision-making about in-store deals.
Place like items near to each other for convenience. A lazy Susan is an easy way to store oils, snacks or baking essentials in one place that is simple to browse. By using items like these, you can save a lot of time when looking for what you need in the pantry. Your easy-to-burn recipes will thank you for having the foresight to store these ingredients more efficiently!
4. Use Containers
Store bulk food items in baskets and bins to save space. Oddly-shaped packages and bags might fit easier inside of storage containers. Clear plastic or glass canisters with sealed lids are ideal for storing decanted dry foods. We like the idea of reusing glass mason jars from past purchases as a cheap and easy solution that not only keeps food fresh for longer, but is also incredibly eco-friendly! *When storing perishable non-dry items in mason jars, be sure to follow proper canning methods to prevent food waste and dangerous health outcomes!
There are a number of ways to label bins, containers and shelves so that every member of your household will easily be able to find where different items are located. Stickers, chalkboard decals, and many more products are very affordable and easy to find. You can also take it old-school and mark items with a Sharpie, although this is a relatively permanent solution on most surfaces, so opting for something where you can change and update the labels would be great if you rotate items in your pantry or change stock according to seasons. With technology advancements happening all the time, there are even Bluetooth label makers available for quick labeling - making this a handy gadget worth investing in, as well!
6. Utilize Doors
If there are doors on your pantry, one way to optimize storage is to hang organizers over them to free up some shelf space. Many canned goods, spices, oils and jars can be held in these types of organizers - though we recommend keeping in mind not to store glass in ways that risk shattering. Shoe organizers can hold larger containers and packages in your pantry while over-the-door hooks help to hold bagged items such as garlic and similar dry goods. Many storage brands are now also marketing solutions made specifically for this purpose!
7. Kid-Friendly Space
Fill a bottom shelf with snacks so kids can put away their own groceries and easily grab a snack on their own - teaching them responsibility and tidiness. Visibility and labeling are key so kids can help keep up the organization method by knowing where these items are stored. On the flip side, keep items you want out of reach of children store on the highest shelves.
8. Use Extra Wall Space
If you have some to spare, wall space can be a game-changer when organizing a pantry. Use of hooks can provide convenient storage of non-food items such as aprons, brooms and reusable shopping bags. You can also use a bag dispenser to hold grocery bags kept for reuse which helps to keep them within reach. Installation of small caddies and additional shelving on the side walls of your pantry can help provide additional storage - get creative with it!
9. Get Stacked
If you are limited on shelves and they're spaced apart enough to do so, stack similar items so you can create more space for other items and containers. Canned goods are an especially easy pantry item to stack on top of each other. Under-shelf baskets or caddies are another convenient way to stack more items and use up any excess space between shelves.
10. Add Shelf Liners
Shelf liners can be used to prevent food from falling through wire shelving and also helps to stop boxes from tipping over. Liners can also keep baskets and containers from slipping off of pantry shelves. Contact paper can be used as a cheap and easy liner solution for some types of shelves. Removable trays can serve the same type of purpose. Additionally, the use of trays or liners make for quick and easy clean-up of crumbs and spills on your pantry shelves!
11. Back to Front
Quite possibly one of the very few times you will ever receive those words of advice in life but working from "back to front" with your pantry items will prevent expired items from piling up. Watch the grocery store stocking crew next time you're in the supermarket and you'll notice that all of the oldest items are moved towards the front, where they can be the first to be accessed and therefore - more likely to be used up before they can expire. Every time you unpack your groceries, be sure to shift the older items towards the front and place newly purchased items of the same kind right behind these since they will outlast what you already had. Eliminating food waste helps your pockets and the environment so this is a win-win!
12. Keep It Up
We hate to point out the painfully obvious on this one but your pantry can wind up being disorganized again after time and use. Try your absolute best to put items back in their appropriate spot, and get the whole family on board by keeping food both accessible and visible. We recommend adopting a twice per month tidy up to make sure that everything is clean and in its right place so you won't have to spend hours organizing it allover again.
We hope these 12 tips help you to feel more like your pantry is usable space rather than just a stressful portal to some other realm where cans of sweet corn and green peas go off to die.