Creating a workable kitchen can be a challenge. While some people have a natural knack for design and organization, others struggle day in and day out with endless piles of kitchen clutter. The pantry is often the worst culprit. How do those masters of pantry organization manage to get, and keep, their kitchens so tidy? We decided to dig deep and pull together some of the best pantry organization techniques to share with you. If you have any special secrets of your own please share them in the comments section below!
Sort it Out
When it comes to kitchen efficiency, nothing beats an organized pantry. When you’re constantly looking for that one elusive ingredient that has fallen behind everything else, it can double, or even triple, the amount of time it takes you to prepare a meal.
To avoid losing that pack of spaghetti behind a pile of cans, try organizing your shelves with categories. Storing similarly packaged foods together will help to maximize space and prevent smaller items from getting lost or misplaced. Shelf labels can also be helpful. Not only will they will make it easy to find exactly what you're looking for but also it will also keep others in line when adding new items to your pantry when you're not around.
Throw Out Expired Food
Although it may seem obvious, you might be surprised how many expired items are hiding in the back of your pantry. Throw them out! Don’t think twice about keeping expired cereal you bought four years ago. Not only will clearing out the expired food keep you safe, it will open up much needed space for you to organize. The extra free space will allow you to use the entire depth and height of your pantry as well.
Contain Your Containers
Different-sized bags and plastic containers stuffed in your pantry will make it difficult to organize effectively. Loose zip-tight bags are always falling over or spilling, making more clutter instead of order. Cereal and cracker boxes are often torn because of their fragile cardboard containers. To avoid pantry messes, transfer items out of their industrial packaging and directly into firmer plastic containers. Gathering tea bags and dried fruits into baskets or bins can also help to organize and maximize space.
Round & Round
This classic idea is always a welcome addition to any kitchen: the Lazy Susan. If you have a lot of smaller items to store, this is the perfect solution to stacking. Though people typically use this method to store spices, be creative! A medium-sized Lazy Susan will also hold cans, bottles, and small boxes. Some are also built with pullout sliders for bread or chips, which is a great way to keep your crushable products safe and out of the way.
Things Are Looking Up
Don’t forget about the vertical space in your pantry either. You can use adhesive hooks or racks to store mugs or measuring cups on the wall – freeing up cabinet and pantry space. This will also highlight your dishware as an element of your kitchen design, adding an extra spark of color and texture to your workspace.
It's a Wrap!
If you like to economize by bringing home large bags of snacks such as pretzels, dried fruit, or chips, it is useful to re-package them when storing away. Divide big "Family Size" packages into smaller helpings that are more manageable for your family. This could mean mini-snack bags for the little ones and full-size sandwich bags for older children or hungry husbands. This makes snacks easy to grab for lunches or when on the run. Of course, we just talked about how cluttered bags can get in the pantry, so don't forget to organize these snacks and place them in a labeled basket or bin!
Keeping your kitchen organized doesn't have to be a daily chore. With these tips, you can invest your energy and focus solely on the meal at hand. Let the work you've put in to cooking and decorating stand out, without the looming monster of a mess in the pantry.
Images used with permission, courtesy of www.bigstock.com and www.dreamstime.com