Wednesday, January 18, 2012

7 Steps to an Organized Pantry | Kitchen Economics

I'm on a roll. I cleaned off my desk and reorganized our home office. Now I'm going through our kitchen cupboards--all in an attempt to make my life easier. How can a girl make a grocery list when her cupboards look like this mess?

I don't keep a large stockpile, because of my lack of storage space. We don't have a pantry closet, so I use several cupboards in my kitchen for food storage and some shelves in my garage for any overflow. Because of my lack of space, I am more of a ‘shop as I need’ kind of person and I use the sales flyers to plan a week’s menu.

When my cupboards are in disarray, I wind up with duplicates, out of date food, and wasted time. No matter how big or small your pantry is, these steps will help you organize it to be more functional and less frustrating.

7 Simple Steps to an Organized Pantry

1. Remove everything from the cupboards and clean the shelves with a damp cloth and dry.

2. Sort food items by category, such as baking items, breakfast, canned goods, coffee/tea, condiments, pasta/rice, snacks, etc.

3. Place your foods near the spot where they are used. Where do you use each category? All of my spices and herbs are in a cupboard next to my stove. All of the cooking oils and vinegars are above my stove. My coffee is stored right by the machine and all of my baking supplies are stored right above the counter where I use my mixer.

4. Face the food labels forward for easy viewing.

5. Alphabetize your herbs and spices.

6. Donate any food that you probably won’t eat and is not outdated to a food bank.

7. Discard any outdated food. I found this bottle of Ground Cayenne Pepper with a August 2000 date on it. That was 2 months before I got married and I was not much of a cook back then, so I'm not quite sure what I was doing with a bottle of Cayenne. I guess it has been some time since I weeded out my spices. I ended up throwing 7 bottles of out-dated spices away...OUCH!

A clean and organized pantry will make menu planning easier for me.

I think it is safe to say that I don't need to replace the cayenne.

What does your kitchen pantry or food storage area look like? Does it need a little attention? Let us know in the comments.

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  1. Great minds think alike - I just organized my pantry this weekend! For me, when I organize my spices, I have them divided into three categories (I have 3 skinny baskets that hold my spices): special blends or spices - old bay, my asian spice blend, my cajun blend, taco seasoning, etc., go in one basket; then my most commonly used savory spices - garlic & onion powder, cayenne, paprika, thyme, basil, etc.; then my commonly used sweet spices go in the last basket - cinnamon, vanilla extract, allspice, cloves, etc. That way, depending on what I'm cooking, I can grab the basket I need (like if I'm baking) or just a couple of spices, but I know which basket to go to. This method has worked better for me than alphabetizing my spices. Just thought I'd share!

    1. Great tip on the spices. My spice cabinet is very narrow, so I have a lazy susan that helps to keep it organized, but I love your basket tip.

      Thanks for commenting.

  2. I really appreciate these 7 points of organizing our pantry and keeping it clean.I think,it's really necessary to alphabetize the container of various spices as it will help to choose while cooking.Immediate disposal of any food items which has reached expiry date is very essential.Cleaning the shelves of cupboard for at-least once in a week is also necessary.

    1. Credit Card Settlement - Thanks for the comments. You're right, disposing of food once it has reached expiration date is essential, fortunately, no one touched the cayenne in 10 years, so no harm done ;)

  3. Wow, what a great post! I would love it if you linked your tips up to my organization link party this week. I know my readers would love to see them:


  4. Organization is the key to everything! I will try it to organize my pantry.

  5. great tips on pantry organization, this is very helpful!


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