What is for dinner…what is for dinner? Can you decide by looking into a pantry that has no rhyme or reason? You are standing there staring a the fry-daddy you received for a wedding gift 10 years ago and never used, the 25 cans of cream of mushroom soup that you kept buying because you couldn’t remember if you had any. Are there jars of various holiday gifts from the office and boxes of dry goods that could stock a Salvation Army food kitchen. Sound familiar?
If you are like me sometimes meals are planned last minute and its hard to plan when you don’t know what your looking at and can’t put your thoughts in order. Pantry organization is key for many different reasons.
1. Plan instant meals.
2. Save time
3. Dish out a prompt to dinner party
4. Delegate meals to family members and babysitters.
5. Provide a designated “snack” spot for your kids.
6. Other family members can help put away the groceries.
Getting a hold of your food stock takes some thought. One of the biggest challenges is the odd shape and sizes of food packaging. This is a challenge whether you have wire or solid shelving pantry. Are you ready to organize? Are you ready to know what you have at all times? Are you ready for efficiency in your kitchen and food preparation? Grab a cup of tea and lets get going!
To begin your counters and kitchen table should be free of clutter. You will need this space.
- Pull everything out of your pantry (yes, all of it)
- Group all the items on your counters and table according to “like items”
- Assess what you have and think of containers or organizers that would help contain. For example: Snacks that are individually wrapped can be taken out of their boxes and kept in an open bin. This way they are easy to grab and take up less space. Small mix packages and pasta that is not in a box can also be stored in a bin. Shelf dividers are great for doubling your space. Think can storage.
- Clean the shelves and floors of your pantry
- Throw away any item that is just about gone or expired. An unopened package or can that you know you will not use, place in a box to donate.
- To place items back in remember this, snacks and cereal should be placed on a shelf that can be easily reached. Items you don’t use very often should be placed on the upper shelves. The lower shelves can be reserved for onions and potatoes, pop cans, larger storage items that are either heavy or need more space.
- Don’t forget about using the pantry door for storage and a free wall. Hooks can be installed for aprons, brooms and oven mitts. The options are limitless.
- Last but not least. If you don’t use it don’t keep it. The fry daddy you got for a wedding gift 10 years ago can go to Good Will.
If you are confused on what tools to use to organize your pantry, I suggest a trip to Bed Bath and beyond or Targets kitchen section to give you inspiration. It’s not that hard once you get started! To get your family on the same wave as you, label the shelves and bins to nicely remind everyone to do their part. Okay, now you can sit down and plan your grocery list because you can clearly see what you have. The best way to boast your accomplishment is to take a picture and face book it! Lets your friends pat you on the back. Congratulations, you did it. We are on to more things! Until next time, Cheers.