Kitchen cabinets and pantry spaces tend to be some of the most frequently used storage spaces in the home, and because of that, they can become the most chaotic, cluttered spaces. Frequently used areas are like that, and really need to be evaluated once in awhile, to see how our organization is or is not working.
I can say without shame (ok, maybe a little), that I frequently have to tackle my own pantry and kitchen cabinets!
With a wedding and lots and lots of company over the last few months, once again my pantry had turned into a disaster because of neglect. I've been so excited the past couple of weeks to have some breathing room in my schedule to start taking care of my home, and all the things behind closed doors, that needed some tidying and organization!
One of the first things I tackled was my pantry. I whipped this bad boy into shape with mostly baskets and bins I already had, either in use or lounging in my basement.
It's not fancy, but I am so pleased that after getting it all together, I now know what I have AND where it is!
So after many years of reorganizing this extremely used space,
Here are my top 10 Tricks for Organizing Your Pantry:
1. Taking everything out and wiping down the shelves is the best way to get started on your pantry or cabinets.
This way you can see what you have, get rid of what's expired or what you know you won't eat, and put similar items together.
2. It's good to ask questions like: "Are we keeping things we don't use? Should we move something to another more convenient area? Do we have too many of one thing that we could pass along? and as far as food items... Do we have expired foods taking up valuable space in our cabinets and pantries?"
3. Baskets and bins work so efficiently to group like items together. They can also function as sort of a drawer that you can pull out to see more easily what you have in the back. (Make sure to put heavier items on lower shelves, so you don't pull something down on your head, but at the same time, keep unsuitable items up out of the reach of children). Baskets or bins also seem to give a tidier more uniform appearance to a space.
4. Labels are so helpful too, especially if you have multiple people putting groceries away. The can see at a glance where things go.
5. With prepackaged items, it can save so much space, if you take the individual items out of the boxes. It's almost crazy how much less space it takes. At the same time, you can cut off the bottom of smaller boxes (like cereal boxes or ziploc bag boxes) and use them as little bins for holding things.
6. Turntables, extra inexpensive wire shelving and glass or food safe plastic storage containers with lids are all helpful ways to add more space for your food.
7. One of my favorite tips for pantry organization is a shoe bag hanging on the inside of the door. I've done this for years, and it's perfect for corralling little items or snacks that might get lost floating around in the pantry or kitchen cabinets.
Just be sure to keep only the items that are safe for your children's age within their reach.
8. I love under-shelf baskets because they can help use up some of that wasted vertical storage that many shelving areas have. I like to use them for baggies, foil or waxed paper, but you can also use them for beans in bags.
9. Something you might not think of using in a pantry are magazine holders. They can be used to hold food wrapping materials or even canned goods turned on their sides.
10. Storing larger items in the back and smaller items towards the front of your shelves helps the little things not get lost or buried.
Small or oddly shaped items can take some thought on how to store, here are a few handy tips:
Take those tons of empty plastic shopping bags to a recycling center, and keep just enough for yourself. An empty tissue box attached with velcro to the back of a cabinet or pantry door, makes a handy place to store them.
There you have it, my 10 tricks for organizing your pantry! What tips would you add?