Tackling a Messy Kitchen Pantry
Does the sight of your disorganized kitchen pantry make you want to simply shut the door and order a pizza instead of cooking? If so, you are not alone. Because the pantry is used so frequently by all members of the family, it can get messy quickly. The good news is that by taking simple steps, you can get this area of the home under control, making it easier to get meals on the table with minimal hassle. Keep reading to learn how to tackle your messy kitchen pantry and finally get it organized.
Work Shelf by Shelf
Getting organized can be a big job, and you don’t have to do it all at once. If you have a lot of time and want to work on your pantry over the course of a few hours, then consolidate these tips. Otherwise, plan on working 15 to 30 minutes per day until it’s done. If you’re looking for even more tips on organizing as we head into 2020, check out Dave Kushner’s blog post at Closet Decor & More, titled How to Get Organized in 2020.
Rather than taking everything out of the pantry at once, just work on one shelf at a time at first. You probably have items that are expired and need to be thrown away, and some of your items might be dusty and need to be wiped off. Take everything off of one shelf and place it on your counter or kitchen table.
When you have one shelf cleared out, wipe it down with a damp cloth and a mild detergent. Over time, crumbs and dust accumulate on both wire and wood pantry shelves. Get out your handheld vacuum and clean up any crumbs in the corners, too.
Only put away the foods that your family will eat. Start a box for donations. If you have foods that are likely to just sit in the pantry until they expire, put them in the box and plan to drop it off at your local food pantry once it’s full.
You can just put items back where they were for now. Getting the shelves clean and purging the foods you aren’t using or that have expired will free up some room. Organization will take place after you have cleaned all of the shelves.
Create Zones in the Pantry
Now that you can see what you have and know what items you are keeping, it’s time to create some zones in your pantry. Here are some common zones that you might need to have:
Canned goods. Put these all together on a lower shelf. You can organize them in various ways. Some people organize the cans by size (big cans of crushed tomatoes would not, in this case, be kept next to the small cans of tomato paste). Others by type: vegetables on one side, then fruits, then meat and dairy products. Still others organize by color. If you are looking for peaches or carrots, you will know to check in the orange section. Do what makes sense to you!
Jarred goods. This is the same concept. Organize your jars in whatever way works for the way you think. These should also be on a lower shelf so they don’t have far to fall should one get knocked over.
Breakfast foods. If your family eats cereal, oatmeal, pancakes, and other foods that you keep in the pantry, consider keeping these items together.
Pasta and rice. These items often stack easily, making them easy to keep in one corner of the pantry. They’re also lightweight and won’t hurt anything if they fall, so they can be kept on a higher shelf if desired.
Beverages. Many people keep extra bottled beverages on the floor of the pantry. A low shelf will also work.
Baking items. If you’re a baker, you will probably want to keep your baking items together for ease in finding what you need.
Seasonings and spices. If you keep these in your pantry, you will want them all in one place.
Paper goods. If you are keeping paper plates, small plastic bags, aluminum foil, and similar items in your pantry, the top shelf is a safe and easy place to keep them.
You will, of course, want to tailor this to your own pantry and what you use. As you decide where the zones should be, simply move your items to where they should go. Keep smaller items in containers. You might have a spice rack, baskets, bins, or other receptacles that can hold small items. Talk to your custom pantry organizer about installing pull-out shelves to hold items that could easily get lost in the shuffle. A lazy Susan is another great tool to have in your pantry for better organization.
Create a System for Putting Groceries Away
Once your pantry is in good, tidy condition, it can be a challenge to keep it that way. After all, everyone in your house is likely using the space. When you put your groceries away each week, take a few minutes to reorganize the pantry.
Place newer items behind older items of the same type. If you purchase a new jar of peanut butter or new breakfast cereal and you still have some of the old container left, make sure the new one is put toward the back of the pantry so everyone uses up the old one. This prevents waste as well as having multiple items open at once. You might also want to designate a high shelf for duplicate items if this is often a problem in your home.
Check expiration dates frequently and make an effort to use up items before they go bad. If you aren’t going to use them, then plan to donate them before they expire. Going through your canned and jarred goods on a monthly or bimonthly basis can help prevent food waste.
As you keep your pantry neater and get into a good system for putting groceries away, you’ll be better able to anticipate what you will need when. This can help prevent you from running out of staple ingredients.
Consider a Professionally Designed Custom Kitchen Pantry
If you are hoping to get your pantry in great shape this year, you can depend on the kitchen pantry organizers at Dream Closets. We can come to your Phoenix home to take a look at your pantry and make recommendations based on how you are using the space. This visit is free and it includes a free custom design. Contact us today to schedule your no-cost, no-obligation consultation for a newly organized pantry in your kitchen.