Have big plans for the weekend? As the carefree vibe of summer pivots to a routine of school and a get-down-to-business work schedule, now is the perfect time to take charge of your pantry. After all, it will help your daily lifestyle run more smoothly and efficiently. Whether you are packing lunch for yourself or whipping up a wholesome after-school snack for the kiddos, an organized pantry is a more usable space.
Ready to tackle this rewarding house project this weekend? Here are some steps to follow to ensure Monday morning’s prep is a breeze.
From “Where?” to “There!”: 4 Steps to Your Organized Pantry
Stop wasting time searching your pantry for that elusive spice you know you have but can’t seem to find. As the saying goes, “a place for everything and everything in its place,”—this concept that will save time and prevent frustration in the pantry. Let’s get organized!
- Purge: First up . . . out with the old. Without doubt, there is at least one “How long has that been in there?” item on your pantry shelf. It happens to everyone. Another common one: “Where did this come from?” For these offenders and others, simply check the expiration date. Next, decide, in quick fashion, whether each item is usable. If it’s old or something you’ll never use in a recipe, pitch it. Shelf space comes at a premium in the pantry, and there is no room for extraneous items.
- Take inventory: Now that you’ve pared down the contents of your pantry, it’s time to assess what’s left. Can the items on your shelves be grouped into categories? Do you have unnecessary duplicates, of which some could be donated in a food drive? Is there enough space for all your food? Answer these questions before you get to work on the task. Authors Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin of The Home Edit admit, “The hard part about a pantry is that it’s an enormous Rubik’s Cube, and once it’s pulled apart, it can be tedious to reassemble. . . . So make sure to take stock of your space and have a plan of attack before you empty each shelf.”
- Gather storage supplies: When it comes to the pantry, organization solutions are limited only by your imagination. Here are some classic ideas
- Baskets and bins. Group items in a way that makes sense for the flow of your family and your cooking habits. Sturdy, transparent bins are ideal for containing similar items so nothing gets lost and everything is easy to see and access.
- Lazy Susans. Perfect for grouping bottles (oils, vinegars, spices, etc.)—one quick spin and everything is accessible. Use a single layer for taller items and maximize space with a double-decker lazy Susan to store shorter items.
- Bookends. Prevent rows of boxes (cereals, cake mixes, crackers, etc.) from toppling over with the simple addition of bookends. Use two or pair one bookend with the wall.
- Jars. Not only do clear jars look chic but they are a smart, space-saving, airtight way to store staples such as beans, nuts, seeds, and pastas.
- Under-shelf wire baskets. These shelves utilize wasted space without taking up valuable top-shelf area. Ideal for chips, cookies, or any item at risk of being crushed.
- Do it!: You’ve expended time and effort to get to the “doing” part—don’t give up now! The challenging part—the purging and the planning—is done; now it is time to finish the job. Be realistic in how long the task may take, set a timer, and get busy!
Bonus tip: Keep it family friendly: A well-organized space should sustainably remain that way. Have a lot of people milling your pantry shelves? Make sure your system is easy and conducive for all to do their part in maintaining the organization. Children especially benefit from having a kids’ section that’s reachable and stocked with healthy, grab-and-go snacks.
With a little prep and intentionality, you can enjoy a clutterless, efficient pantry system by weekend’s end! Happy organizing!
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