A messy, overflowing pantry is a depressing sight. It makes food preparation difficult and leads to waste. Often people buy multiple copies of the same item because the original is hidden from view.
A well organised pantry that allows easy access and visibility is a pleasure to use. Here are some tips to help you to save on time, money and irritation by getting your pantry working efficiently.
Clear as much space on your bench tops as possible. Bring the bin close to your pantry. Remove everything from the pantry. Consider each item as you take it out; has the use-by date passed? If it has, throw it out. Is it something that you will use in the future? If the answer is no, get rid of it. Give things such as sauce bottles a wipe with a damp cloth if they need it. Group like items together when you put them on the bench. This will make it easier when you are deciding how to place things when you put them away. When your pantry is empty, give it a good clean.
To keep your food fresh and prevent infestation, store it in sealed containers rather than opened packets. I’m a fan of working with what you’ve already got instead of buying new containers. However, if you would like new containers, here are some ideas to consider:
- Purge first, then you will know how many containers and the sizes you need.
- Choose clear, stackable containers that are easy to open and close.
- Choose square or rectangular containers over round in order to maximise the efficient use of space.
As you fill each container, label it. I also include the use-by date on the label if it is something that I don’t use very often.
You may also like to consider using some of the many storage products that are available. Examples include: shelf racks, lazy susans, free-standing pull-out drawers (great for accessing lower shelves), baskets/tubs (great for grouping things like baking supplies and snacks) and stepped shelf organisers.
TOP TIP: My favourite storage solution is installing baskets and racks on the inside of the doors of the pantry. You can fit a lot into these, and they make it easy to see things and access them.
The “prime real estate” in your pantry is the shelving located at eye level and just below. Have a think about which things you use every day or most days; these are the things to keep on those “prime” shelves. If the top shelves are difficult for you to access because they are too high, store things there that are rarely used. Store heavy and/or bulky items on the bottom shelf.
Grouping items into categories makes it easier to find what you are looking for.