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If storage space in your kitchen is at a premium, a pantry can provide extra room to store your canned and dry goods. But a pantry can quickly become an unorganized mess. So, what is the best way to organize your pantry and what are some good storage solutions? Read on for some answers.
5 Steps to a Perfect Pantry
By organizing your pantry, you can speed up your meal preparation and always ensure that you have what you need on hand. The steps for successfully organizing your pantry are as follows:
Step 1: Declutter. Start by decluttering your pantry of any items you do not need. This process includes emptying out the pantry and wiping down all shelving.
Sort the current items in your pantry on an easy-to-reach surface, such as the kitchen table or a counter.
Check the expiration date on all food items, and throw away anything that has expired.
Also, give away or throw out any items you do not plan on using.
Step 2: Arrange items. Next, start arranging the items in your pantry by group.
Some common groups of items include:
- Canned items
- Bags of snack foods
- Bottles of oil, vinegar, and other cooking products
- Jars of spices
- Boxes of grains, such as rice, cereal, and pasta
- Larger items, such as bags of potatoes
You should also arrange items on the pantry’s shelves according to usage. Place items that are used most often on shelving that sits from knee to shoulder height.
Place spices at eye level so they are easy to find and use.
Place snack items higher up, requiring you to reach for them.
Finally, place heavier, bulkier items in the bottom of the pantry.
Step 3: Consider storage solutions. Containers can help make pantry storage a lot easier.
Keep often-used dry ingredients in airtight containers for freshness. Dry items like cereal, grains, and beans are designed to last a long time when stored properly.
Use large, clear bins to store what you need for a meal. Divide meals into separate bins. In addition, label the bins and attach the recipe to make preparation easier.
Place a double-decker turntable in the corner of the pantry for even more storage options.
In addition, baskets are a great way to store smaller items like fruits and some vegetables. Just make sure to use them before they spoil.
Step 4: Declutter frequently. In order to maintain the tidiness of your pantry, make sure to declutter it when needed.
A good decluttering schedule for your pantry is as follows:
- Weekly: Throw away and replace items that have gone bad.
- Monthly: As you declutter, also make sure that your item grouping still makes sense. Reorganize your pantry if you notice it is becoming cluttered again.
- Seasonally: Each season, take a look at your pantry to determine if you need to declutter more thoroughly, re-group your items, or implement new storage solutions. What was relevant for summer meals might not work for your winter meal planning. Adjust accordingly.
Step 5: Buy the right items for easier meal planning. You can also stock your pantry with some essential items to make your weekly meal planning and preparation easier.
The following items work well with a wide range of ingredients to make more flavorful and diverse meals. Meal-planning essentials for your pantry include:
- Olive oil
- White wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- Chicken or vegetable stock
- Pasta and noodles
- Beans and lentils
- Canned tomatoes (whole, diced, and crushed)
- Sweeteners, such as honey, maple syrup, or agave
- Coconut milk
By decluttering and properly arranging your pantry, you can devise a system that makes meal preparation a lot easier. By organizing your pantry according to group and usage, you can speed up the meal-making process and free up more time for other tasks.