Not every kitchen has a pantry. Some people have to content themselves with putting silverware, condiments, and napkins in little baskets on the kitchen counter like a cafeteria because they simply don't have the space to store everything. If your kitchen comes with a pantry, you're among the lucky few that might actually have adequate space for all the utensils, pots, plates, snacks, dry goods, and other items that make up the average modern kitchen.
Unfortunately, we have a tendency to fill empty space (when was the last time you saw an empty spot on your shoe rack) and pay little attention to organization. You might end up with cans of soup interspersed between bags of chips and boxes of cereal, leaving you wasting precious minutes scouring the pantry for what you need. In other words, chaos! What can you do to correct this oversight and create a clutter-free home pantry? Here are a few great tips to try.
1 See What You Have
If you find yourself staring at your pantry with the same confusion you usually assign to your teenager's angry outbursts about the unfairness of life, it's time to take stock of the situation.
- Roll up your sleeves, crank up your favorite house-cleaning music, and pull everything out of the pantry
- Group items by type (canned goods, cereal, pasta, baking goods, etc.)
- Check dates and toss anything expired
- If it's been sitting long enough to gather dust, put it in a box to donate to your local food bank
- Think about how you can put the rest back in a way that saves space and increases efficiency
Now that you've done the prep work, it's time to go full Martha Stewart and turn your pantry into a well-oiled machine. You can skip the decorative wallpaper if you're strapped for time.
2 Take Measurements
Imagine if you bought a couch without taking measurements first. You might get it home only to realize you can't get it through the front door. Measuring your pantry shelves will ensure you find storage drawers and other organizational solutions that fit.
3 Spring for Appropriate Storage Solutions
Once you've found the time to clean and organize your pantry, the next step is resigning yourself to spending the money on bins, jars, storage baskets, and other organizational tools. It can be spendy up front, but it's a one-time expense, and the ease it adds to your life is well worth the cost.
4 Make Labels
Skip the Post-It notes and the old-school label maker and opt for an altogether more attractive option. Chalkboard decals can be purchased online or at craft stores, along with chalk and erasers. This organizing solution pairs practicality with presentation.
Bad habits are hard to break. Adding organizing baskets to your pantry won't automatically make you a neater person. Use the right tools i.e. pour the flour into an airtight bin or place the pretzels in a glass jar. Your efforts will result in ease of use, extra space, and time saved when you can actually find what you're looking for at a glance and see when you're running low on essential items.