*New!….Organizing Your Pantry…by Lita Lane
Published September 16, 2013
If you’re lucky enough to have a walk-in pantry, planning it will seem like a daunting task but once you figure out a system that will work for you it’s going to save you countless minutes trying to find specific foods when you need it. So let’s get started because not only will you have a well organized pantry you will have one that looks fabulous, it will be neat and tidy and you will discover you have more space than you originally thought.
Firstly if you begin the task with a “blank canvas” you will be able to envisage and plan the space much better so I would suggest that you empty the whole pantry of its contents.
Next I recommend you separate your food groups i.e. cereals, cookies/crackers, soups, canned goods, water, drinks, dog/cat foods, honeys/syrups/jams, pickled items, savory condiments, rice/pasta, flour/sugar/dry goods, coffee/tea, oils/vinegars, baking supplies, foil/wrap/bags. Additionally, if you have some additional space place all your small appliances and platters in the pantry: rice cooker, blender, food processor, ice cream maker, slow cooker, electric skillet.
Now, this is where I use my labeler. I have small children, grown ones and some that just act like it, either way they periodically enjoy raiding the pantry, so I’ve found if it’s labeled not only does everyone knows where it goes they know where to find it. Also, when planning mine I established that I would need to purchase a few extra shelves so that I wasn’t wasting my vertical shelf space. For instance platters, if they’re stacked on top of each other you’re more likely to use the top one rather than dig to the bottom of the pile, so if they are each on their separate shelf you literally have them at your finger tips.
Okay, now we’re ready to start putting items back, remember you’ve separated the foods into groups so I suggest you start with the items that are used most frequently such as cereals and because it’s utilized several times during the week it should be placed on a central shelf – group your cereals tallest to shortest and whenever possible show the name of the product on the exposed side panel. Label the shelf “cereals” or “breakfast foods”. Carry on filling the central shelves in the pantry with the categories most commonly used, next you might do “pasta and rice”, then “dry goods” when sorting out dry goods please invest in some air tight containers all identical for uniformity and ease of stacking or storing.
You’ll see from the pictures I use low baskets for the majority of my shelves, I’ve done this for two reasons, tidiness and so that I can slide the tray out whenever necessary. Additionally, I put each small appliance in their own tray and shelf and again LABEL the shelf so that when you’re done using the appliance that empty space in your pantry is waiting for the item to be returned.
Anyway, you’ve got the idea now, have fun with it and know when you’re done, you will be delighted!