A kitchen pantry can get disorganized. Here are 6 ways to keep your pantry orderly and clean, and not just for the weekend.
Your pantry can be a forgotten region in your home, and not one that you perhaps think about maintaining. Keeping an organized pantry doesn’t have to be a big hassle. With a few easy organizational tools, your pantry will stay organized and clean, and you won’t end up with expired food on your hands.
1. Get rid of expired foods
Depending on the state of your pantry when you begin, you may only need to get rid of one or two items, or you may be dragging out old soup cans you forgot you bought. Either way, the first step to an organized pantry is to get rid of everything that has expired, or that you somehow managed to acquire, but will never actually consume. This activity may inspire your next shopping list as well, both of what to buy, and what not to buy again.
2. Clean as you clear
Sometimes, you inherit a pantry when you move into a new place. Or, you’ve put the state of your current pantry out of your mind for a while longer than you intended. Either way, dust, bits of food, bugs, or other things may have accumulated in the corners of your pantry over time.
You’re already working on your pantry’s organization so this is the perfect time to clean it. After you get rid of expired food, take everything out and clean off your shelves. Dust them and wipe them down with a food-safe cleaner.
3. Arrange your pantry by groups
Depending on the size of your space and the types of food you and your family eat, this step will look a little different for everyone. You may want to group by food type, meal type, or cooking time. If you find your shelves getting cluttered, consider adding shelf organizers, baskets, or door organizers that will give you easier organizational opportunities.
4. Use labels and containers
Once you’ve determined where you want everything to go, label your shelves so the system stays in place no matter who puts the groceries away. Get containers for any food item (like cereal or pasta) that gets opened and then put back partially closed.
Not only will these keep your foods fresh, they’ll also keep out pests. Label your containers, and don’t forget to write the expiration date in a visible place on the container once you’ve taken the food out of its packaging.
5. Add new items by expiration date
Part of the reason food gets thrown away is the lack of one’s awareness of expiration dates. Instead of putting new things away wherever they fit, which is usually in the front, arrange your food by expiration date putting the freshest items in the back so they get used last. If you still find yourself with expired food on hand consider writing the expiration date on the box or can in a visible place.
6. Keep an inventory
Depending on how big your family is and how much food you keep in your pantry you may want to consider keeping a list of what you have in there. It’ll help you shop when you’re running low and it’ll remind you of what’s expiring soon. Use technology! Your phone or tablet can hold the information until you’re ready to call it up when out shopping.
Getting into new habits
Once you and your family get into the habit of putting things away based on the new system, keeping the pantry organized will become second nature. Enjoy the newfound ability to easily see what’s available and what you need to get next time you go shopping!