How are you all doing with the kitchen organization? Today we are tackling a big project – the pantry. The pantry is the workhorse of the kitchen. Unfortunately, if it is cluttered it won’t serve its purpose in expediting meals and grocery shopping. Today we are creating a pantry that makes our kitchen more efficient and fun…yes, fun.
The pantry below belongs to a client. I have a cabinet pantry and I will share pictures below. You can have an organized pantry whether you have a walk-in pantry like the one below or a cabinet pantry, like mine.
1- Look at your pantry (before emptying it) and figure out what can change and what can stay the same.
Before you start organizing, figure out what works and what doesn’t. There is no reason to put items back in the same spot if it is not working for you. Maybe there is a better spot for the cereal or the juices. Maybe you want the kids to be able to access their snacks, or maybe you want to keep it out of their reach. Maybe the bread is jammed in an area where you dont see it so it gets moldy because you forget its there. You get the point, just re-think your pantry and don’t be afraid to change things up.
2- Empty the pantry.
Use a nearby kitchen table or counter to empty the contents.
3- Purge the pantry.
This is a great opportunity to discard expired cans and set aside a bag of items that you can donate. Many times we buy a specialty ingredient for a recipe that we never make again. Get rid of spices that are probably stale or you don’t use. I love these turntables for spices. Before purchasing turntables, make sure they fit your cabinet.
4- Clean the pantry shelves.
Clean the shelves as they collect crumbs and spices and oils.
5- Categorize the items that you are keeping.
Try to categorize as much as possible. You can put the tomato products together, or categorize by cuisine, or have a breakfast bin. There are many ways to contain the pantry so that everything is easy to find and replenish. Pick a system that will work for you.
6- Choose containers to group items while adding them back into the pantry.
It is no secret that these are my favorite containers. They are not inexpensive but sometimes you can find them discounted at TJ Maxx or other discount stores. Choose quality containers for the frequently used items. I love seeing what is inside the container and I know that the contents will last longer than in it’s original packaging.
7- Place snacks in a large basket.
For snack size items, baskets and bins are the best solution. Also, baskets are great for hiding messy-looking snacks. If the basket is not see-through then you can throw cereal bars and snacks inside and your pantry still looks tidy.
8- Designate zones in the pantry.
Choose whatever zones you want for your newly-organized pantry. Maybe a breakfast station, or a kid station or a baking station.
9- Re-stock your pantry.
The fun part! Place everything back in it’s place. You may have to move things around more than once to find the perfect spot for your new zones. Lastly, consider labeling the shelves or the containers.
10- Enjoy your hard work.
Sit back and stare at your pantry for a long time, while members of your family look at you and wonder what you are doing. Then look at them and smile periodically. Yes, they will wonder about your sanity but 1) they probably won’t pressure you for dinner 2) they clearly don’t know the joy of having an organized pantry.