Organize Your Kitchen Pantry
It's one of the highest-traffic spots in your house. It's no wonder you cringe each time you open your pantry to reach for an ingredient. Make cleaning and organizing this kitchen workhorse a priority. The good news is that it can be a fast, relatively painless job if you take small, manageable steps.
Clean First and Organize Second
Here's how to clear the way. Begin by throwing things out. It feels great and alleviates a big part of the task. Start by grouping items in one of two piles. The first pile? Items to throw out - including products that are past their expiration dates, stale, or have been crushed. These items are no longer safe for your family to consume. The second pile includes items you've not used in the last nine months. If you haven't needed that Basmati rice in three-quarters of a year, you probably won't be reaching for it next week. If the food is still safe, donate it to your local food bank.
Ready to organize? Here's our top tips on putting everything in its place.
#1: Make Every Inch Count
The secret to an easy-to-use pantry is visibility. You should be able to see everything you have. Remove smaller items (such as spice bottles or small cans) and place them in a basket or in a door rack. Adding a riser shelf or Lazy Susan will double your pantry space and help you find things quicker. You can find great storage options at the Container Store.
#2: Embrace FIFO
FIFO is the accounting term for ‘First In First Out' and it's a great idea not only for figures. When it comes to your pantry, place newer items in the back and use up older items first. You're less inclined to let good things go bad. It's also a good idea to keep a pad of paper and pen inside your pantry door. Simply jot down items that need replenishing. The next time you go to the store, your list will be right there.
#3: Organize For You
No two families or pantries are alike. When arranging yours, think about what will work for your hungry crew. This may be stocking items by type (e.g. bottles, cans, bags), by family members (you, your kids, pets), or by their purpose (e.g. snacks, sweets, ingredients). There is no right answer. Just find the way that works for you. Bon appétit!
Sarah Welch and Alicia Rockmore are the co-founders of Buttoned Up, a company dedicated to helping stretched and stressed people get themselves organized. They are also co-authors of Everything (almost) In Its Place.