Here are my top methods to keep your pantry essentials minimized, sorted, and organized. Don’t miss these 4 pantry organization tips.
First and foremost: this post applies to people who have kitchens of all sizes, and whether they have an actual pantry or not. I live in a house with a small 1940s kitchen. I would give my left arm for a walk-in pantry (ok, that may be a bit of an exaggeration) but alas it’s not in the cards for us. I’ve had to get creative with storage in other ways, but more on that later. This post is all about keeping your pantry items organized.
How to Keep an Organized Pantry
Here are my 4 top pantry organization tips:
1 – Sort and Store Smart
Invest in clear containers and labels for everything. No need to make it fancy. If you have a label maker, use that. Otherwise grab some inexpensive labels from the craft or office supply store.
And don’t feel like you need to go spend a fortune on matching food storage containers. Re-use glass jars or hit up your local thrift store. Seriously, some of my favorite food storage jars are the Aldi salsa jars. They’re perfect!
You just want to avoid having 3 different partially-used bags of rice or other dry good.
Added bonus: clear containers make any space look bigger.
2 – Minimize Your Pantry Staples
Even the largest kitchens don’t have room for every pantry item you’ll find at the grocery store. This means that you will need to minimize your pantry staples.
How should you minimize your pantry staples?
It’s all about the way that you cook.
Look through your pantry and pull any herbs that you can’t remember using or baking supplies that expired three years ago. These are not your pantry staples.
Whatever recipe you bought them for needs to never be made in your kitchen again.
I have personally made the conscious decision to never cook/bake with the following ingredients: pumpkin pie spice, arborio rice, baker’s chocolate, canned vegetables (aside from tomatoes if you really want to go there… is it a fruit, is it a vegetable… who am I?!?!?!), shortening, and I’m sure there are plenty of things I don’t have that you would consider essential .
But here’s the thing: My essentials don’t have to be the same as your essentials.
The key is to find your rotation of favorite recipes, find a common denominator among the ingredient lists, toss recipes with “once a decade” ingredients, and be content making your favorite foods from the staples that you can comfortable keep in your kitchen.
3 – Take Regular Inventory
Once you’ve pared down your pantry staples, this process becomes easier.
Take inventory on a monthly basis to avoid buying duplicates and use up what you have. Take note items getting old and put them into your upcoming meal plan. Anything that’s running low can get added to your shopping list.
4 – Think Outside the Pantry
When we moved into our house (complete with a small 1940s kitchen) I was faced with a choice: give up my baking supplies or find a new home for them. I decided to put our dining room to work: I added a baking pantry that I made from an antique cabinet. Now we have so much more extra storage space, and I can’t tell you how many compliments I have received on this antique piece.
Looking for other ways to maximize storage space?
- Look to the back of cupboards: Hang measuring cups and spoons from hooks. Keep foil and other food storage items in a handy caddy attached to the inside of a bottom cabinet door.