You know how difficult it is to organize a kitchen pantry if you have ever tried to do it yourself. But what makes it even harder is the coordination it asks for from everyone in the house who opens the pantry door to keep it organized. An organized pantry allows you to find what you need when you need it.
Have you been in a situation where you open your pantry to find an ingredient, and just end up staring into chaos? Many times, you just rethink the recipe and omit the ingredient instead of scouring through the kitchen pantry. A structured kitchen pantry will help you improve your efficiency in the kitchen, and with a little help from all who use the pantry, you can keep it that way for long.
A hidden benefit to an organized kitchen pantry is the proper utilization of purchased kitchen resources. Meaning that in an organized kitchen pantry, you will not forget about something that you have bought a while ago getting spoiled and rotting, just because it is now not in the clear vision of you entering the kitchen pantry. Many times, people have even forgotten about fruit and vegetables because they were not in plain sight or were tucked away behind something less important, they were forgotten, later to be found stinking and rotting because of going bad.
10 Ways to Organize Your Kitchen Pantry
To help you achieve that perfect organized kitchen pantry, we provide you with ways that you can organize your kitchen pantry.
1) Clean Up Before Starting
A step that may seem unnecessary, but emptying the whole pantry should be your number one priority for a fresh start to a new pantry. Wipe the shelves and clean off any gunk or dirt that has accumulated over the years, even in the darkest corners of your pantry.
Find out what is expired and lead it to the garbage bin. Salt and sugar packs might have some leaked on the shelves and that can cause ants and rodents to appear. Clean those shelves like you clean the plates you eat from(1). Any unnecessary items, or impulse purchases that you have done over time, that you do not use or are just taking up space and are unnecessary, should also be dumped.
2) Purchase What is Missing
Now that you have gone through the things that you have on hand, you now have a general idea of what you use the most and what there is no need to purchase anymore. Apart from that, you now know your most used items as well and what needs to be restocked more often. Keep this in mind as it will help you restock your inventory on your own as well, without the reference.
Make a list of what is missing or what is in lower quantity. Add that to the shopping list in your next run to the grocery shop. So, the benefit of cleaning out the whole inventory will show here as you now understand how many containers you need to purchase and organize the pantry without wasting money on additional containers.
3) Divide by Likeness
Even if you have all the pantry on the floor while cleaning out, make sure to group everything to the type of items they are or how interrelated they are. A simple example of this is to gather all the spices and place them together, keep a separate stackable cabinet organizer for baking essentials, place your oils separately, and in general place things that are similar in a group(2).
Turntable containers, lazy Susan, and compartment boxes are something that will help you sequentially organize each item and will make it easy to find them when you need them(3). An important thing to do to be efficient in your kitchen.
4) Follow FIFO
FIFO or First in first out is a simple inventory management system that allows you to use perishables before they expire. Basically, this system says that what goes inside your pantry, comes out of it first as well. Note that this applies specifically to just identical items in multiple quantities.
If you have two packs of the same cookies, make sure that the one that you purchased first, is being used before the newer purchase. Additionally, it will also help to place the items that you bought before, in the front and the items that are newer, at the back, letting you instinctively reach for the older option, allowing you to use it before it expires or goes bad.
5) Use Clear Containers
Purchase a set of clear containers for items that can be visually identified and need storage for longer times. Lentils or Beans and popcorn kernels are some examples(4).
Note: – Purchase a “Set” of containers. A set because each container will be identical to the other, helping you place them more efficiently in the pantry, compared to irregularly sized containers, where one is larger than the other and one is cylindrical, and the other is a square-shaped container. This causes bad space management.
If you are a fan of black containers then it’s okay to use them but make sure to store often-used items or only to keep your tea leaves or coffee beans.
Additionally, each category of division that we did earlier can be stored into a similar type of container, help you reach for them without a second thought.
6) Be Smart and Do Labeling or Color Coding
Some like labels and some like colors. But there is a way you can do both and that is to print the labels on colored paper allowing for an amalgamation of both marking techniques for effective use. Clear containers, where you can see what is inside the container, will not need a label.
Color coding can be a huge help with the FIFO system as well. Things purchased recently can be coded with green-colored labels and the older things can be coded with red. So, without question, you will reach for the Jar or container that has red color coding to it and this will allow for better inventory management.
But if you do not like the idea of color-coding, you can just print the item, with its expiry date on the container itself, allowing for a readable tag on the expiry date.
7) Make Use of Doors
Door racks are common with many kitchens and they are a very organized system of adding additional storage space to your kitchen pantry without making any permanent changes(5). They can be used to fit in Containers and Jars that you need in a hurry, like canned food for example, which you can just open the door of the pantry and reach for instantly, like a refrigerator.
Some door racks even allow foldability, making the door rack a very useful tool, if need be, or it can be folded and stored away. Especially helpful when you are out of storage space in the regular pantry and you just made a grocery run and are looking for space to place the new food items inside the kitchen pantry.
8) Learn Pantry Management from Grocery Stores
Just like grocery stores, place the most used items at eye level and within arms reach. A huge help when you are frantically searching for ingredients that you use the most. And the higher you go, place lesser-used items or once in a while used items. The top shelves where you need to stretch yourself to reach, should not have salt and sugar, which are very frequently used items.
Keep the lower racks for heavier items, like the floor the 5kg floor bag, or the bulk bought oil can. The reason for heavier items to be placed on the lower shelves is in case you accidentally drop something heavy from the top shelf, you might hurt yourself in case it falls directly on you.
9) Kids are Friends
The biggest culprit of disorganization in a kitchen pantry is kids. They take things from one place and place them somewhere completely random, if they ever put things back that is. But they can be taught to use items and place them back. And what helps with this is keeping an allocated kids-friendly space in your kitchen pantry.
A kid’s space or kid-friendly space in organizing a kitchen pantry that contains all the items that your kid frequently uses or needs will give them a dedicated place to search for when they come rushing to the kitchen pantry, without disturbing anything else. And this also will motivate them to place things back where they picked them up from because now they know that everything is organized and if the item they love is not where they placed it, it is not anywhere else.
10) Line Your Shelves
Shelves are will get dirty, and this is a fact because they will be used frequently, and sometimes, things fall on the shelves making them dirty. And it is an understatement to just call the shelves dirty, as they are very difficult to clean, and what makes it even difficult is to clean them regularly to avoid build-up over time. And wired shelves will cause things to fall on the floor.
Lining your shelves with shelf liners will help you mitigate this problem. Shelf liners will prevent things from falling through to the ground from the wire shelves and can be swiftly replaced in case they get really dirty. A cheap way to do shelf lining is to use magazines and newspapers or advertisement and promo papers to line your shelves, which may be a bit less effective compared to quality liners but will do the job without costing a lot(6).
Most Important Pantry Organization Tip
Involve your whole family and ask them to keep it organized as well. For anyone too lazy to actually help, as them for a single favor, and that is to place anything they use, back where they picked it up from in the kitchen pantry after using. Additionally, regular cleaning is required so please make sure that your kitchen pantry is not infested with ants, floor beetles, or rodents.
Why it is important to keep your kitchen pantry organized?
The biggest reason is hygiene. If your kitchen pantry is not organized and regularly cleaned, you will have some sort of infestation because things that expire rot and attract microorganisms and insects. Even rats and rodents like to have a party in an unhygienic and unorganized kitchen pantry.
Another reason is efficiency in cooking. If you know where everything you are going to need is exactly placed, finding that desired thing will be instant and will save a lot of time and energy in the process.
Lastly, you save money, as now, you will effectively use what you have purchased and will only buy things to replace in your pantry and not unnecessary things. If done right, organizing a food pantry will also cause minimization in wastage.
Wrapping Up Your Pantry Organization
Pantry is where kitchen supplies rest, and many great chefs say that a free-standing kitchen pantry or any regular one should be as clean as your plate. Organizing a kitchen pantry will help you achieve this goal more effectively. It will also prevent things from expiring in the pantry.
Combined, the above-mentioned ways of organizing a kitchen pantry will help you kick start your quest to keep your pantry organized and clean.
Remember, each member of the house, who has anything to do with a kitchen pantry, is just as responsible for keeping the kitchen pantry organized and clean, as you are. So ask for their help in keeping the kitchen pantry organized.