Have you ever gone to your pantry only to be faced with overstuffed shelves, expired food and things lurking in the back that you don’t even remember buying?
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Here are some simple, easy and budget friendly tips to create a well organised pantry.
Keep things visible
By keeping everything visible you make things easy on yourself and those around you. You can see exactly what you have on hand. It will help eliminate repurchasing items you already have and it will also prevent you digging around in the back of the cabinet and finding food stuff from 2009! Here are my suggestions to improve the visibility in your pantry:
- Use clear containers wherever possible. They allow you to see at a quick glance exactly how much you have on hand. Using containers also keeps your food fresher, reduces the likelihood of you buying excess and it looks nicer (which is important too).
- Label the containers. You don’t need to be using your precious brain power on trying to identity the difference between plain flour, self-rising flour and caster sugar.
- Can stack. Cans are meant to be stacked. Utilise this! Make sure you have the same products together and stack larger cans at the back. That way you can still see what you have without needing move a whole bunch of stuff first.
Home for your food
This one might seem a bit silly but you should make a home for your food. When things have a home, they are more likely to be put away. This can be applied to your food too.
- Think of your pantry like a supermarket. The middle shelves (eye level) are the prime location and where the most frequently used foods should go. Least used items go to the peripheral shelves (top and bottom) and everything else goes in between. Once you figure out where everything is going, make sure you return it ‘home’ once you are done with it.
- Like with like. Always store items that are similar together. For example, all of your cans should go together in one area, all of your sauces in another and all of your baking items in one area not spread out in multiple locations. That would just be a recipe for frustration. By keeping like with like you will instinctive know where to go when you need a can of tinned tomatoes – to the can section of course!
- If you have a lot of smaller items that aren’t used very often, contain them. For example, I have a box for all my party supplies. It has a large label on the outside of it and it stored on the bottom shelf of my pantry towards the back.
- Weight is important. In addition to the above make sure you think about the weight of an item when you are finding it a home. General rule of thumb: light goes high, heavy goes low. You do not want to store something really heavy up high and then for it to fall on you when you are trying to get it down.
- Once all of this in place make sure you stick with it, put things where they belong, especially when you are unpacking groceries. It does take a little bit of persistence at the beginning to set this system up but it will soon become automatic.
Use what you have
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to be organised. Use what you have.
- Boxes, coconut oil jars and jam jars are all great options for organising. For example, a great idea for items that come in single serve is to cut the top third off the box so that you can see the contents. That way you always know exactly how many are available. Sometimes the best option is the simplest.
- If you still need containers my favourite places to buy storage solutions are: Bunnings, Reject shop, Kmart and IKEA. Your money can go a long way in these stores just make sure you are only buying the things you actually need. Write a list and stick to it! Also make sure you declutter and sort your pantry BEFORE you go looking for anything new. There is absolutely no point buying things when you don’t need them.
- Use what you have can be applied to the contents of your pantry too. I would suggest doing a ‘round up’ once a month. Basically, you take stock of what is currently in your pantry and try and use those items in the meals you have that week.
These are all pretty basic tips but they will make a massive difference in your pantry. Trust me it won’t be long before you notice the benefits of getting this space sorted.