The Ultimate Pantry Makeover
  • Fiona
  • Kitchen Solutions, Organising Tips, Storage Solutions

The pantry is one of the hardest kitchen spaces to maintain. It is so easy to toss your groceries into it and assure yourself that you will remember them. A few weeks later and you’ll have completely forgotten what’s in the back of your pantry. The weekly flood of new groceries makes it too hard to take the time to go back there and look around. Now is the time to stop making excuses and face your messy pantry.

Keeping an organised pantry makes it easier on everyone in the household. Everyone likes a clean living space and the pantry is an extension of that. Before you dive into organising your pantry, we have a process for you to follow.

To start your pantry makeover and keep it neat for years to come, read on!

Pantry Makeover – Lay it all out

pantry stock

Intense fruity flavour by Nic McPhee 2007 | CC BY SA

Take everything out of the pantry and put it on the kitchen table or counter. Taking account of everything you hid back there will help conserve what you need and ditch what you do not. During this time, clean up any mess. Whether cans are oily, the surfaces are dusty or a collection of crumbs is spread everywhere, this all needs to be taken care of.

Get storage containers

It is entirely possible to organise a pantry without the aid of bins and plastic containers. A little elbow grease can create organised rows and areas for your dry goods. However, spending a little cash on something to hold your food items can save you a lot of time.

However, getting a container for all things is not the most efficient way to do it. We have three ways to organise the most common items in a pantry.

storage jars for dry goods

pantry-2 by Jules 2009 | CC BY

Dry Goods: This ranges from canned sauces to crackers. Food items come in many different jars and boxes that will be hard to organise together. A plastic container is best to hold all of these. However, if you are feeling motivated, we recommend re-packaging the items. Old pickle jars and plastic bags can hold almost any item and condense the space it would otherwise use.

Tools: Whether it is a spatula, a turner, a grater or a strainer, these items can be difficult to organise. The awkward angles and unique space needs of these tools causes them to constantly but head for space in storage. Using a simple basket can be best for this purpose. It will use up a specific set of space and never get larger than that. However, the space inside the basket should be more than enough for your pantry makeover.

Get rid of the unnecessary stuff

organise pantry items

Pantry Items After by Inner Urban 2010 | CC BY

You have picked out the right method to tidy everything up and you cleaned the space. Before you put everything back in, take a look at what your pantry holds. It is likely that some of these items have sat in there for weeks, if not months. Some of it may be well beyond its expiration date. Go through all of your pantry items and get rid of these expired products.

In addition to expired food, useless items can create a ton of clutter. You buy some foods with the full intention of using them, but then they just sit there though and do nothing. Are you really going to use that can of baked beans just because you found it again? If they’re still edible, donate them to charity. There are plenty of charity deposits that will give food to the needy. Put those baked beans to good use!

Among the expired and useless goods, you will find items that you can use, but will go bad soon. Make a note. Whether it is pinned on the fridge or sits on the counter for a day or two, prioritise that food as quickly as possible. Who knows what kind of cool ingredients a pantry makeover can remind you of!

Organise the smart way

kitchen pantry stock

Pantry by Robert Howie 2012 | CC BY SA

Any article about organising anything will eventually talk about how things should be grouped. There is a reason why large warehouses group items together in some form – it’s easier! This lesson can be applied to your pantry.

When cooking on a daily basis, think about what ingredients or spices you reach for the most. These should be the most conveniently placed. Arrange your new pantry with utility and ease in mind. Having useful things scattered about does not help anyone. At worst, it can lead to your pantry turning back into a mess.

Along with ease, consider grouping by variety. This may be a bit more strenuous than having the most used items nearby, but it will help just as much. This means keeping pastas, cookies, crackers, herbs and all other items with those that are like them. This will also be common-sense for any guests. If they are looking for a particular spice, they will probably look to where they see a lot of spices. It’s common sense.

Keeping it organised for the long run

kitchen pantry

Untitled by Matt Kowal 2010 | CC BY SA

After you have finished your pantry makeover, you need to keep it clean and organised. This is an effort that everyone in the house will have to help maintain. You have too much stuff on your plate to be worrying about the pantry.

This is where you will be grateful that you picked out a common sense system at the start. Make sure everyone knows how things are organised and how they can keep it that way. The easier the system, the easier it will be for people to keep with it. One person who does not follow this system can get everyone else to wonder why they have to do it if no one else does. Quickly, you are the only one who cares about a clean pantry.

Just as a closet says a lot about a bedroom, a pantry says a lot about a kitchen. Your pantry is the heart of your kitchen. An orderly pantry will help create a cleaner kitchen and simplify keeping up with groceries. Start planning your pantry makeover today!

Featured image: pantry-3 by Jules 2009 | CC BY