How often do you go to your pantry, perhaps looking for inspiration, and feel immediate frustration because there’s so much in there that you can’t see the wood for the trees… A well organised pantry is not only a joy to behold, you’ll also save time and money.
Imagine how much easier it would be if you could see at a glance exactly what you’ve got, and you can access any item without having to move several others. You also won’t be over-buying on food that you didn’t realise you already had. I once worked with a client who had 6 packets of the same type of pasta and at least 5 of rice! She said she kept buying these items because she couldn’t find them in her overstocked pantry.
Believe me, it is possible to have a lovely organised pantry and here are a few tips to make it easy:
- I generally start by taking everything out of the pantry and grouping items. Lay everything out on your bench space to make it easier to sort and group.
- Obvious groups will be: cans and non-perishables with soups and quick meals; herbs, spices, vinegars and oils; cereals and spreads; baking items: flour, baking powder, yeast, sugar; pastas, rice, legumes.
- Once you have your groups you can decide which shelf you are going to use for which foods. Eye-level shelves are best for most often used products, which may be your breakfast cereals, and perhaps quick meals such as soup and canned foods. It’s useful to bear in mind items which the children need to be able to reach.
- Plastic containers are useful to keep small items contained, such as herbs, as it’s so much easier to keep them all together and to immediately see what you’ve got. You don’t necessarily need to use the container lid, as long as the container is deep enough it will neatly encapsule like products together.
- Do keep foods with close expiry dates accessible and near the front of your pantry so you don’t forget to use them.
- I also do a regular cull of my pantry, and fridge and freezer, to make sure I’m not keeping foods which are well past their expiry dates.
- I always suggest to clients to invest in a couple of stacking stands for your shelves so you use the top of the stand for small items such as herbs, soups etc, and underneath you can line up canned food, or your pastas and rice. You can find these stands at many of the $2 and $3 shops, and as they come in various sizes you’ll be able to get the size to suit your pantry.
- If you’re fortunate enough to have a large pantry area you may be able to use the floor of the pantry for a couple of bins, baskets or stackers for pet food, potates and onions, and even a small wine rack.
Remember: you need to be able to see and to reach anything in your pantry without knocking things over, or having to move items to get to those at the back. If you can place individual items alongside each other, rather than in front – that often works well, particularly in the case of large cereal boxes and baking products which come in boxes such as baking powder, custard powder etc.
I hope these tips will inspire you to get stuck into your pantry. Believe me, once you’re done you’ll be thankful you took the time. And keep in mind your plan, and why you’re doing it so you don’t get sidetracked or bored – I always have fun organising these spaces because I know what a pleasure it will be once I’m finished.
I hope you have a wonderful month, and a lovely Easter break.
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