5 Steps To Organise Your Pantry

Pantries – big, small, walk-in, pull out, you name it, I’ve seen it. It really doesn’t matter what size your pantry is (mine is teeny tiny and works for four people), it comes down to how organised it is. If your pantry is well organised it will make cooking more enjoyable, it will save you time looking for things and it will save you money because you won’t buy things that you already have, but can’t see.

It may seem like a daunting task but rest assured, it isn’t. You will reap the benefits so let’s do this together

Step 1. Take everything out

Make sure that your kitchen counter or kitchen table is clear so that you can put all your contents in one area. This way you will be able to see everything clearly and get a clear picture of what you have. Check expiry dates as you are emptying and throw out anything that is out of date. If there are things that you use and they are out of date, add them to a shopping list now so that you don’t forget. Once you have emptied everything, give the pantry a good clean. This is a really good opportunity to reassess your items and how much “stuff” you really need.

Step 2. Group like items together

Baking goods all together, spices all together, tinned food all together, pasta all together, and so on.

Step 3. Zone your items

What I mean by zoning is, either on a piece of paper or in your mind, map out exactly where you want your items to go. Baking will have a zone, spices will have a zone etc. This way, you will be able to see if the zones will work prior to filling up the shelves. Zone your items according to how you work, you may want baking goods near spices, pasta near tinned food, do what makes sense to you. Here are some ideas if you are unsure how to zone:

  • Keep items that you use most regularly at eye level, it is the easiest place to get to.
  • Store snacks on the lower shelves. This is really handy especially with little ones. It makes things easy to reach (if that’s what you want!) and it makes emptying crisp packets or snacks quick and easy.
  • Store things that you use the least on higher shelves.
  • If you have a small pantry, think of your pantry as a U-shape. Place taller items around the edges and smaller items in the centre so everything is easy to reach. Or, work in levels. Place taller items at the back and smaller items towards the front. Shelf risers help so things at the back are easy to see and easy to access. These are Kmart (first two) and IKEA, there are lots available to suit any budget.

*Remember to adjust your shelves. Make your pantry do some of the work for you. It’s easy to forget that the shelves are adjustable.

Step 4. Containerise

This is a big one and for good reason – there are SO SO many options and I think that this overwhelms a lot of people. Don’t worry, I have done the ground work for you and my wallet has too.

Here are my suggestions:

  • Pick airtight containers (for perishable food) that are clear and that stack well. This means you can see what you have at a glance and it will also save space as you can stack them.
  • Large containers are handy for easy maintenance and you will have fewer half open packets. If you do have half open packets and aren’t too sure what do with them, have a designated “back stock” area and always check this before heading to the shops.
  • For items that don’t require airtight containers (chip packets etc) I use open containers. They are quick and easy to refill and it’s easy to check stock levels.
  • Cans are great on tiered shelving.
  • Spices are also great on tiered shelving.
  • Use the back of the door if you need more storage space. This is handy if you have a small pantry. The door can hold anything from pot lids, spices, oils, all sorts of things.
  • Install pull-out shelves or drawers – this is a little expensive but really helps if you have a deep and narrow pantry.
  • A carousel/Lazy Susan can be great for storing spices or condiments. It keeps them zoned together and is handy in corner cabinets where things tend to get pushed to the back and forgotten.
  • Under shelf drawers help if you are limited for space because they instantly give you more storage.

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