You can't find the box of pasta you bought yesterday. Shelves are overflowing and in disarray. The kids reach for their favorite box of cereal, only to knock 5 other items off of the too-crowded shelf. A can of veggies rolls off and lands on someone's toe. Does this scenario sound all too familiar?
Today is the day I am sharing organizing secrets to getting your pantry in order. Here are 5 simple tips that will help them transform their pantry from cluttered chaos to clean and pristine, all while setting up easy-to-maintain systems for year-round organization.
1. Remove Before Re-Stocking
This is the most important step - start by removing every item from your pantry. You read that right, EVERY SINGLE ITEM. Read all of the expiration dates and throw out what has gone bad. Also toss anything opened and stale. Then wipe down the shelves for a fresh start.
2. Create Obvious Categories
Now its time to sort. Sort all of the items your plan to keep before putting anything back. Keep like with like in a system that makes sense for you and your household. Maybe cans stay together. Maybe group baking supplies together. Here are a couple of my favorite categories: pasta, baking, can goods, breakfast, oils, place of origin (ie: Mexican, Italian, Greek, etc.), condiments, snacks, paper goods.
3. Select Helpful Storage Solutions
To best keep your categories organized I recommend using various storage solutions. My favorite places to shop for these are Ikea, Bed Bath and Beyond, and The Container Store. More affordable solutions can even be found at Walmart, Target, and even your local dollar store (you'll be surprised what you can find there!). When looking for storage solutions, I recommend glass over plastic, using turntables, and a single style or brand of storage solutions to avoid further clutter and frustration in the pantry, etc.
4. Pare Down the Packaging
I suggest using new containers instead of the packaging items come in, where possible. Pour new cereal into those sealable, clear containers. Flour, sugar, etc. can be stored similarly. This will help your pantry not only look beautiful, but it will keep your items fresh longer, and you can see exactly how much of an item you have.
5. Make a Plan to Maintain
Get your family on-board with using the new system. Labeling will help to keep everyone accountable in returning items to their proper place. Remember that quarterly maintenance is key - remove expired or forgotten items, dust and clean any spills, make tweaks as needed to ensure the system is still working for the household.
You are well on your way to enjoying the bliss of a well organized pantry. It is possible to have a pantry you're proud of while also making it functional for your family.
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