As a Professional Organizer, one of the most common requests from clients is pantry organizing. Most of us are in our pantry several times a day so if it's disorganized our stress level increases each time we attempt to access the pantry. How many of us have had a can drop on our foot because we can't easily reach the item we need. An added bonus to having an organized pantry? You'll save money because you will be able to see what you have rather than make duplicate purchases.
The first step to organizing the pantry is to take EVERYTHING out- Yes I know you've heard me say that before in previous blog posts. As you take all the food out, group like items together such as canned goods, cereal, food packets, chips, baking items, etc.
You may want to sort the canned goods further into vegetables, soups, etc.Be sure to check expiration dates and toss those items past their date.
Donate to a local Food Pantry unopened items that you know you will not be using soon. Some things get pushed to the back so decide what you will use in the near future.
Don't forget the spices. If you're not sure about the freshness of a particular spice, take the lid off and see if it still has a fresh, strong scent. If not, toss. If you find duplicates, keep the freshest bottle and toss the others. Spices can be organized alphabetically or by how you use them. You may want to group all of your baking spices together, etc.
Wipe the shelves clean and add or replace shelf paper or liner.
Time to put the food back in! Remember, keep like items together. I like to put the canned goods at eye level. If you have the height between shelves, a tiered shelf organizer is nice because you can see the back cans so much easier. Small plastic bins or baskets are nice for food packets. Larger baskets work well to keep chips together and upright. I keep all my vinegar and oils on a plastic turntable. I can quickly see what I need as I spin the turntable and it's easy to clean the drips of oil. Follow this link to see the turntable and other pantry organizing containers. http://www.organizedatoz.com/Shelf-Organizers-s/46.htm
Put items you want the kids to be able to reach at their level. You may want to put small appliances or paper goods on the very top shelf. Generally, you want items that you frequently use in the space that's easiest to access. Put lesser used items on harder to reach shelves.
It's best to keep flour, sugar and other dry good in sealed, stackable, clear containers. Be sure to label. Powdered sugar looks a lot like flour. Some people label the shelves with the general food group so all family members can contribute to keeping the pantry organized.
You're done! Your pantry should be clean, categorized and organized! I hope it makes you smile the next time you reach for that box of cereal or can of tomatoes.