Do you put blinders over your eyes as you try to stuff another item in this wasteland and quickly shut the door before another can, jar, box or one of 10 bottles of ketchup topples out and hits you in the head or toe?
Stop throwing your hard-earned dollars away on purchasing duplicate items or forgotten items left to perish in the deepest corners of this area.
Taking the time today to clear out and reorganize your pantry will save you time and money allowing you to make meal planning easier & healthier.
Before we begin, let's take a moment to define what a pantry is. Many homes are not equipped with a huge walk-in-style pantry, or even a full size pantry closet. Whether it be a row of cabinets or shelves, wherever you store your food or other kitchen items is technically your pantry.
Here is my 5-step process towards creating a perfectly organized pantry so that you will never fear opening up your pantry door again.
Before you tackle your pantry take some time to ponder how do you want your pantry to look? The good news is, even without a fancy pantry, you can have great storage and a very functional pantry area. Start by looking at magazines, on Pinterest, and around the web for unique designs. But, most importantly, look for inspiration to create an organized pantry for your particular needs. Once you have your plans in place it's time to put some protective gear on (just kidding) and give your pantry it's long over due clean out.
- As with any organizing project, you must start with a clean slate and completely empty out your pantry. During this process group like items together on a table or counter.
- Give your empty pantry a good cleaning.
- Carefully review all dates on food labels and purge all items that have expired.
- Those items that are still good that you know you cannot possibly use before the expiration date, donate to your local food pantry.
Let's get started putting your pantry back together.
- Take an inventory of remaining items and put items together in groups or zones that make sense to you. Creating zones will allow you to quickly see what items you have on hand eliminating the need to buy duplicates. Here are some suggestions:
- Canned Foods
- Baking Items
- Dry Goods
- Oils, Dressings, Vinegars
- Pastas, Rice and Noodles
- Jarred Items like Olives, Pickles, Sauces
- Items that are used daily should be kept at eye level making them easier to locate.
- If you have a small pantry, try to arrange it so you have the most frequently used items stored up front and center.
- Place all cans that will expire first in the front so that you can plan to use them for your next meal.
- Storing bulk items such as flour, sugar & cereals in stackable clear containers will keep foods fresher longer as well as maximize your shelf space.
- If you buy large quantities of dried food items, find food-grade quality five gallon buckets and store your bags of beans, rice, etc. in the buckets with a tight fitting lid. Store these items on the floor or stack them in a separate closet area. Keep a smaller airtight container in your pantry with some of the dried food items for your more frequent cooking needs.
- After the time and effort you put into getting your pantry organized, you don't want it messy again. Now is the time to make sure you have all family members on board. Train everyone to respect “a place for everything and everything in its place” and your beautifully organized pantry will stay that way.
These are just a few of many steps that will help you create an organized pantry that the whole family can enjoy and use without fear.
Your journey into an organized pantry doesn't end there. I am a firm believer that if you take the time to declutter an area why not add some fun and practical organizing solutions that will utilize the space to it's fullest potential as well as make the area look more attractive.
In part II of my two part Pantry Makeover, I will share 7 fun organizing solutions and tips that will add some flavor to your pantry and make your friends green with envy. Until then, why not go amaze your family with a quick and healthy meal courtesy of your organized pantry.
© 2013 Debbie Tremblay
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Debbie Tremblay is the "Organizing Genie" a Professional Organizational Expert & Clutter consultant, writer, and speaker. Her passion in life is to use her lifetime of acquired organizing skill sets to help those who have had enough of clutter and disorganization and are ready to transform their homes and lives into an organized and clutter free oasis. You can learn more about her services at www.OrganizingGenie.com.