Here are some tips on how to organize your pantry like a pro, or at least like someone who knows what they’re doing. I’ll be using examples from properties in Salt Lake City, because that’s where I live and because I’m biased. But you can apply these principles to any pantry, no matter where you are.
Step 1: Empty your pantry and clean it
The first step is to empty your entire pantry and clean it thoroughly. This will give you a fresh start and a chance to see what you have and what you don’t need. Check the expiration dates of everything and toss anything that’s past its prime or that you don’t use. You might be surprised by how much space you free up by getting rid of the clutter.
Step 2: Categorize your items by theme
The next step is to group your items by theme, not by size or shape. This will make it easier to find what you need and to plan your meals. Some common themes are:
Snacks: This is where you keep your chips, crackers, granola bars, nuts, dried fruits, etc. Anything that you can grab and go or munch on while watching Netflix.
Baking: This is where you keep your flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla extract, chocolate chips, etc. Anything that you need to make cookies, cakes, pies, or bread.
Drinks: This is where you keep your coffee, tea, hot chocolate, juice, soda, etc. Anything that you drink or mix with water.
Condiments: This is where you keep your ketchup, mustard, mayo, salsa, soy sauce, vinegar, etc. Anything that you add to your food to enhance the flavor.
Cooking: This is where you keep your oils, broths, canned tomatoes, canned beans, pasta, rice, etc. Anything that you use to cook your main dishes.
You can also create more specific themes, such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, spices, or international cuisine. It’s up to you and your preferences.
Step 3: Use clear containers and labels
The third step is to use clear containers and labels to store your items. Clear containers will let you see what you have and how much you have left. Labels will help you identify your items and keep them organized. You can use glass jars, plastic bins, baskets, or whatever works for you. Just make sure they are stackable, airtight, and easy to open and close.
Here are some examples of how to use containers and labels for different themes:
Snacks: You can use large open bins or baskets to store your snacks. Label them with the type of snack, such as chips, crackers, or nuts. You can also use smaller containers or ziplock bags to portion out your snacks and keep them fresh.
Baking: You can use glass jars or plastic canisters to store your baking ingredients. Label them with the name and the expiration date of the ingredient, such as flour, sugar, or baking soda. You can also use measuring cups or spoons to scoop out the amount you need.
Drinks: You can use glass bottles or plastic jugs to store your drinks. Label them with the name and the expiration date of the drink, such as coffee, tea, or juice. You can also use a coffee maker or a kettle to brew your drinks.
Condiments: You can use glass jars or plastic bottles to store your condiments. Label them with the name and the expiration date of the condiment, such as ketchup, mustard, or salsa. You can also use a lazy Susan or a turntable to rotate your condiments and access them easily.
Cooking: You can use glass jars or plastic containers to store your cooking ingredients. Label them with the name and the expiration date of the ingredient, such as oil, broth, or pasta. You can also use a rice cooker or a pressure cooker to cook your ingredients.
Step 4: Arrange your items by frequency of use and accessibility
The final step is to arrange your items by how often you use them and how easy they are to reach. You want to keep your most-used items in the front and center of your pantry, and your least-used items in the back and top of your pantry. You also want to keep your heavy items on the bottom shelves and your light items on the top shelves. This will make your pantry more efficient and ergonomic.
Here are some examples of how to arrange your items for different themes:
Snacks: You can keep your snacks on the middle or lower shelves of your pantry, where you can easily see and grab them. You can also keep some snacks in a basket on your counter or in a drawer in your kitchen for quick access.
Baking: You can keep your baking ingredients on the upper shelves of your pantry, where they are out of the way but still visible. You can also keep some baking tools, such as a mixer, a whisk, or a spatula, in a cabinet or a drawer near your pantry for convenience.
Drinks: You can keep your drinks on the lower shelves of your pantry, where they are cool and stable. You can also keep some drinks in your fridge or in a cooler for optimal temperature and freshness.
Condiments: You can keep your condiments on the middle shelves of your pantry, where they are easy to reach and rotate. You can also keep some condiments in your fridge or in a spice rack for better preservation and flavor.
Cooking: You can keep your cooking ingredients on the lower or middle shelves of your pantry, where they are handy and organized. You can also keep some cooking utensils, such as a knife, a cutting board, or a pot, in a cabinet or a drawer near your pantry for efficiency.
And that’s it! You have successfully organized your pantry like a pro, or at least like someone who knows what they’re doing. Now you can enjoy your pantry and your food without any stress or hassle. And if you ever need to reorganize your pantry, you can always follow these steps again. Happy pantry-ing!