How to organize your pantry
Since Jorge and I bought our first home, a LOT has happened, and one of the first things I did was creating a pantry that was neatly organized and worked for our lifestyle.
In case you haven't noticed, I'm a bit of a freak when it comes to my kitchen and especially to our pantry. I dreamed of having a place where I can have everything neatly organized but, after checking the services of experts, it was too expensive, and I decided to do it myself. It took me one trip to Target and one day off from work to do it.
I found inspiration in one of my Pinterest boards aptly named "organizational porn" and got a head start. Not gonna lie, I've been dreaming about labeling things in my pantry forever because, why does one want a pantry without obsessively organizing it?
So let's do this, shall we?
1. Measure your space and clean it
Clean out the pantry (this is the hardest part) by removing everything and wiping down shelves, throwing away old gross stuff and getting rid of food you aren’t going to eat. Also, make sure you check the labels on everything. Dude, one rule of thumb for proper adulting: if it's expired TOSS IT! Food poisoning isn't cute.
2. Find what you need
I used clear baskets, clear containers, raisers, cute black labels and a chalk pen. The great thing about using clear plastic storage bins is that you can see everything without having to root around at the back of your pantry. They also make grouping items together easier. You can choose to group similar things, or like in this example, group items you use together.
3. Started from the bottom and now I'm...
Our pantry isn't big, but it has enough space for me to keep everything visible. You need to start by identifying food and cooking categories that suit your lifestyle (weeknight dinners, portable lunches, baking, etc.) and pick a shelf for each. The most used ones should be within easy reach.
The only caveat is that I'm 5'2, so it's particularly challenging to reach the higher shelves, I saved those for Jorge's cereals and things we don't use that often like canned food and peanut butter (sorry folks, I'm deadly allergic to peanuts).
My organization plan started by taking everything out, clean it and decided where things were going to be:
- The lower level was reserved for cleaning supplies and Lola's stuff.
- 1st level from the ground up: paper products, snacks (things that are too big to put on a clear basket like Costco sized popcorn).
- 2nd level: sauces, condiments, baking, and bread (we love our carbs)
- 3rd level: everything that goes in containers, I chose BPA free acrylic jars and labeled them.
- 4th level: bigger boxes and cans - use a raiser for the cans; it makes the shopping list better if you can see what you've got. Don't hunt through mountains of cardboard boxes, use clear containers and label them.
4. Spend 10 minutes every day keeping your pantry neat
If you cook every night (like us), it's well worth to spend a few minutes organizing your shelves, that way it gives you visibility to make your grocery list accurately and also, it looks better.
5. Need help?
Let me know; I can answer pretty much any organizational question at this point!