We’ve all been there. Best of intentions didn’t pan out, and now the kitchen pantry looks like an earthquake hit home. The holidays and the in-laws are coming, and you need to do something fast. How can you tidy up your pantry and keep it clean all year long? Here are eight great tips to whip your kitchen pantry into shape and keep it that way.
Split your pantry into zones for ease of use. Place baking items, canned goods, breakfast foods, dinner items, condiments, oils, and sugars in their own locations. By zoning your pantry, each section will be well-defined. Make weeknight cooking easier by quickly accessing needed items and organizing them on your natural stone countertops, so you’re ready to cook. Zoning will also help with the putting-away process. Label each area clearly, so your children and spouse can locate the proper area for each item.
- Clear Containers and Labels
Empty sacks of flour, sugar, raisins, nuts, pasta, and any other loose items that come in bags into clear plastic containers. Using clear containers allows you to check quantities and know when to add foods to your shopping list. Airtight containers will keep dry goods fresher longer than if they were in their original packaging. Using containers for loose items clears up wasted space and keeps shelves neat and organized. Finally, add a label to each container that clearly states what is inside. Labels will prevent you from picking up flour when you needed baking powder instead.
- Storage Bins
Use storage bins for loose, bulky items like potatoes, apples, and root vegetables. These are traditionally root cellar items but are often stashed on countertops and shoved out of the way. Instead, keep them accessible. This ensures their regular use in meals and minimizes waste due to rotting. Keep them available in your pantry, and you’ll never have potatoes that start growing roots or apples that turn mushy on your countertop. Plus, you’ll keep your natural stone countertops free of clutter and looking beautiful.
Use small bins for loose items like individual packets of dip mix, taco seasoning, marinade, and drink mixes. Separate them according to use and place them into their proper zones. You’ll never wonder where your taco seasoning or lemonade mix went again.
Hooks are perfect to use in your kitchen pantry for organizing reusable grocery bags, aprons, and kitchen items that don’t receive regular use. Hooks can be placed in “waste space,” areas of your pantry that don’t have shelves and aren’t conducive to anything else. Areas for hooks are high above or just under light switches.
- Pull-Out Drawers
Use pull-out drawers for canned goods such as soups, veggies, and pasta sauce. Label the tops of cans or organize them by the alphabet for a quick assessment of what is on hand. Pull-out drawers are perfect for hard-to-reach pantries with deep shelves.
Pull-out drawers are also perfect for storing boxed items such as snack crackers, cereals, and other snacks. Be sure to stack the tallest boxes in the back and the shortest in the front. Stacking by height will help you see what you have on hand at a glance.
- Door Storage: Pot Lids
Don’t clutter up your natural stone countertops with excess pot lids that you don’t have room to store. Place door rods on the inside of your pantry door to house these items. The door is often considered “waste space” because there is no shelving or storage traditionally placed here. This is a perfect location for thin objects such as the lids to your cookware. Label lids to correspond with labels on your pots, and you’ll quickly grab the right top to match the pot you need.
- Door Storage: Spices
Using door storage for spices is another excellent option for using the “waste space” on the inside of your pantry door. Install shallow shelving onto your door, and you’ll have a spice wall. Better than a wire rack in your pantry cupboards, shelving on your door will fit fifty to sixty spice bottles. The best part? You can install shelving to accommodate different size jars. Bulk spice containers can sit on the top shelves, or you can install shelves with enough room for bulk-sized containers at every level. This allows for alphabetical organization of your spices.
- Check It Daily
To maintain a clean and tidy pantry, do a quick assessment every day. Put things back in their proper place if they have been moved and take stock of items on hand. Use this time to add items to your weekly grocery list that are running low. Sweep up any crumbs that might have spilled and check your produce to ensure quality. By taking a few minutes every day to tidy your pantry, you’ll avoid the frustration of cluttered shelves items and enjoy an organized pantry all year long.
Writers Credit: Nancy Gray