A chore that is often forgotten or ignored is organizing your pantry. If you’re lucky enough to have a pantry you may know how easily it can sometimes look like one of those closets in movies where, when the door is opened, everything falls out. It can require a little discipline to keep your pantry organized but it’s worth it. Time spent re-organizing is wasted time. Money spent on things lost in there is wasted money. And having a well-organized pantry makes meal-planning and creating a shopping list much easier.
There are some tips to organizing your pantry –
Size Doesn’t Matter: Arrange the pantry by groups, not size. I like to keep breakfast items together. I keep pastas and jars of sauce together. Snack foods are another grouping. I don’t store oils or spices in the pantry but if you do it’s a good idea to store each group together. Decide how you use the foods in your pantry and group them together.
Location, Location, Location: In general, you’ll want to keep the items you use most frequently on the shelves easiest to reach; that’s chest to knee level. Items you rarely use or that are too heavy for the shelves can be placed on the floor.
Make It Easy for Others: My husband helps put the groceries away and, if he happens to be visiting, so does my youngest son. While my son is as disciplined about organization as his mama (his closet makes my heart swell with pride) my husband is the kind of guy who’d rather just throw things where they’ll stick and be done. I label each area of my pantry so my husband knows where each item should be stored. Most of the time the labels aren’t really needed since it’s obvious that a box of spaghetti should go with the pasta but the labels keep him from saying he didn’t know where to put something.
My Pantry Layout: You’ll want to arrange your pantry to suit your needs so this is just as an example of one layout.
Top Shelf – Cake mixes, chips & snack crackers, popcorn, dried fruits, marshmallows & marshmallow crème, and the sugary cereal my youngest grand kids get as treats.
Second Shelf (moving down) – Breakfast cereals, oatmeal (instant and quick cooking), syrup, honey, peanut butter, and jellies.
Third Shelf – Saltine crackers, canned soups, canned fish, salad dressings & salad toppings (croutons, etc.), sauces (barbeque, chili, pepper jelly), gravies (in jars), breadcrumbs in various flavors, and cornmeal.
Fourth Shelf – Pastas and pasta sauces, tomato paste, canned fruit and canned vegetables. I also have an ice holder from an old refrigerator on this shelf. I keep small boxes of baking mixes and seasoning packets in it.
Floor – White and cider vinegar, canned foods I use only when the grand kids visit (Spaghettios® and canned chop suey), a 6 lb. box of baking mix and potatoes.