Even if you like to keep a very clean and organized house, there are some corners of your universe that might sometimes slip through the cracks. The pantry is that chaotic place where you have to stick everything that doesn’t fit in the rest of the kitchen, and sometimes those items are very inaccessible! So here are some strategies for organizing the pantry... and maybe keeping it tidy, too!
Spring cleaning is upon us! I don’t know why I’m dragging you into this, because I am the one who usually dreads spring cleaning. I don’t like tidying up. At all. So my basic strategy in life is just trying to not make a mess and keep things manageable every day so that chaos doesn’t mount an attack on my life. Unfortunately, I can’t escape spring cleaning. It’s that time of the year when everything I have been pushing back – like a dam – starts to show its face. And it’s that time of year when I really have to do a thorough sweep of the whole house.
When I do that, I usually find that the pantry is the darkest corner of my universe and that I have been putting too many things in there. Things I don’t need or I barely use. It takes almost half an hour to find what I need. And since I’ve been trying to expand my culinary experiments, I need more and more things from there. I recently set out on a mission of organizing the pantry. So I can sleep well, not dreaming of mountains of food items falling out of the pantry when I open the door. Here is what I came up with.
4 strategies for organizing the pantry
1. First, take everything out
I’ve tried to swap one item for the other, to get a sort of system going, but it was all too complicated and I didn’t have the groupings of the items that clear in my head. So instead of fumbling around in there, I decided to take everything out and start from scratch.
2. Figure out how you want to group items
This is up to you and what kind of system you come up with. I think it’s like with bookshelves. Some people like to organize them chromatically, while others go for the size of books, and still, others choose to organize by publishing house, collection and so on. So you have to come up with your own idea about what works best for you. I went for a basic: all spices in the same place, group the canned goods in another, all my flours and breadcrumb bags and so on. The shapes of the containers decided this for me.
3. Get some organizing tools
You will need plenty of jars, maybe even a label maker, if you feel like choosing the containers in which to keep your food. I don’t like to see all the brand names in there, so I chose to transfer everything. I would also recommend you use some trays or baskets, to group the similar items on a tray. It’s easier for cleaning, too. There are plenty of ways of creatively making the space bigger.
You can use magazine racks, crates, or old cookie boxes – I know I have plenty of those – to keep the items in. But labeling is important, so don’t forget that!
4. If you’re a fan, go for see-through containers
This is a personal observation: if I see what’s inside the jars or the containers, I can keep track mentally of what I have and what I don’t have in an easier way. I can see if something has gone bad. If one of the containers is almost empty, it’s pretty evident, and I make a note to restock it. Transparent containers are a pretty cool way of organizing the pantry.
If you have colored boxes or jars with big labels, how often do you open them to check out their status? It’s better to go for see-through. That is how you avoid that terrible moment when you are cooking something and find out you’re missing an ingredient.