Sign up for Organizing Tips, straight to your inbox!

Organize The Pantry

Um long have we had this cereal?! Is it time to Organize The Pantry?

First, go get the camera and take a "Before" photo!

Now if you are ready to organize the pantry, begin by taking everything out and grouping food items into some or all of the following categories:

Breakfast: Cereals, Pancake Mix, Syrup, Granola Bars

Soups: Canned, Boxed, Starters

Condiments: Ketchup, Mustard, BBQ Sauce, Salad Dressing

Dry Goods: Pasta, Beans, Rice

Baking: Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, Vanilla

Snacks: Chips, Popcorn, Crackers

Spices: Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder

You get the idea...

Check expiration dates and throw away anything you won't use or if it is still good, give to a Food Pantry.

Store open bags of dry goods and snacks either in Zip-Locks or clear plastic containers both for freshness and for easy identification. If you have the time and inclination, consider purchasing some stacking containers in a variety of sizes.

Make sure the containers are four-sided as round containers are not efficient use of space.

There are several ways to store canned goods so that you can easily see what you have. One way is using a gravity-feed can rack which dispenses a can and allows you to view all cans inside. Another option is to stack cans on a two or three tier shelf, but make sure that the labels are facing forward so that you can read them at a glance.

Spices can be stored in the pantry but ask yourself if it makes sense to store them closer to where you normally assemble dishes which call for them. Make sure you check each jar for freshness. A general rule of thumb is to shake the jar and then smell. If you do not smell anything, you probably won't taste much. Also, throw away spices that you don't like or plan to use. Unless you just have a few spices, I recommend that you use some sort of spice rack or organizer. There are lots of spice organizing options from using a utility tote with handle for easy portability to elaborate custom-made units. The important thing is to contain them and make sure that the labels are facing out.

Now put everything back in logically. Put the breakfast items in a spot that is convenient for everyone, including children. Put like items together, i.e., cereal boxes, oatmeal. Then put larger items toward the back of shelves with smaller items in front of them for quick visibility. You can also use "stepped" organizers or turntables.

Continue to load the pantry in this way until you are satisfied with the location of everything and the neatly arranged look of it. Some of you may even want to label the shelves so that other family members can help put the groceries away!

Stand back and admire! Oh yes, and take that "After" photo!

You like? Yes? Then let's continue...

sign up for Organizing Tips, straight to your inbox!