Getting your pantry in order has many benefits that extend beyond the organizational appeal. For starters, it facilitates cooking – now, you can find everything easily! This is definitely one of the more useful DIY projects that can reap big dividends for the overall appearance of your kitchen and cooking area.
Before you begin, it’s worth taking a minute to look over the entire space; this way, you’ll have an idea of the food storage solutions that you’ll be getting from Walmart or Target. With further ado, check out this list of organizational tips on making a pantry you can be proud of!
Civilizing Your Pantry
Right before you begin, keep in mind that you want to organize your pantry in a manner that makes maintenance easy – you should be proud of your handiwork in the months and years to come. This isn’t the kind of thing you should need to do every few months, so let’s get it right the first time:
1. Cleanliness is Next to Godliness
Your very first official act in pantry organization is fairly straightforward: get to cleaning! All those Ziplock bags and tuna cans that are strewn about need to be brought to heel. Take this opportunity to go through all of your canned goods, in fact, and search for the ones with an expired use-by date – if you’re anything like us, you certainly have at least a handful.
Additionally, throw out any cans that, although the date might render them okay, you are certain you won’t be using. Diets and preferences change, and you may no longer be a fan of canned salmon (for example). The point is to obtain as much space as possible, and render the remaining spotless.
At this point, you can start grouping all the similar foods together, and making a note of any plastic (or other) storage solutions you want to pick up to section off the space more economically.
2. Ideas for Pantry Organizers
A tentative budget for rectifying your pantry is ~ $50 – you can get a lot out of it if you shop at the right places. Consider a combination of storage bins usually used for fabrics, as well as mason jars and generic pantry organizers. Whichever you choose, make sure to have keep an aesthetic consistency as a constant throughout; you don’t want to mix and match different styles for your pantry – otherwise it will look disorganized even when it’s technically organized. Whatever you do, try to avoid mismatched packaging/storage!
On of the primary reasons you might want to favor Mason jars for storage is the ease with which they can be labeled, as well as the sturdiness of the glass against meal moths. There’s also, of course, the fact that they are perfectly transparent. With a marker, you can label the type of food (if necessary), the date you put it inside, and a more readily-readable expiration date. The jars will run you between $8.99 and $10.99 for a dozen of them – which, depending on the size of your pantry, may be all that you need.
Other Pantry Storage Solutions
Pantry organizers just may be the best things since sliced bread. These wooden pull-out drawers can make mincemeat of your pantry space, conveniently sectioning off large areas for similar foods. The fact that they are pull-out reduces the chances that cans or stored goods remain in the back of the cabinet for years at a time; all but forgotten.
If you don’t have any that came with your cabinet set, then you can spend a bit on a set of food storage canisters from OXO for $49.99. This, ultimately, of course depends on your budget – you can get a handful of them at this price, which should be more than enough for any but the largest pantries/set of cabinets. These will put you over budget if you set it at $50, however; but you can always shop around at places like Target or Walmart for similar storage solutions.
Make space for baked goods in with clear canisters or BPA-free plastics with an air-tight seal. These will ensure that flour and sugar remain fresh for an adequate length of time; as well as facilitating inspection of the contents. A white top for these containers is best, so that you can quickly see writing that denotes the important dates (when you bought it, when it expires, etc).
Lastly, you might find it useful to dedicate a smaller drawer space to all of your cooking spices. If your house is anything like ours, you’ll be learning about the benefits of new spices all the time – and will want to add small bottles of them to catapult your cooking to the next level.
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