I worked on my pantry this morning, and followed my fiance’s advice on how to keep it clean and organized, with a few ideas of my own. Here is how I organized my pantry in less than an hour and got it into usable condition so all of my items are easily viewed and reachable for easy pantry use.
First, take everything out of the pantry. Everything. Then wipe it out, shelves, floor, etc so when you put your items back in you are starting fresh. Plus, taking everything out lets you know if mice have been in your pantry by all the little turds you will find (I didn’t find any- thank goodness).
Decide where your stuff is going to go. Baking and cereal stuff I always keep together, and they used to be on the top shelf. However, that high up I have to get a chair to grab a box of cereal or syrup, and so do the kids, and I’m in the cereal every day. What you use the most of (or your kids), place on the lower shelves. I also put chips and cookies and such on the same shelf as the cereals.
Keep canned goods together according to type. Vegetables together, sauces together, soups together etc, newest in the back, oldest in the front for use. I keep my boxed pastas and canned goods together, as well as regular pastas since I usually cook with them together, so I arrange the cans first. then pasta boxes, and against the wall go the individual pastas so they don’t get knocked around.
If you keep cat and dog food in your pantry, make sure they’re bagged tightly (I pour cat food into old coffee containers, and dog food goes in plastic bucket with a lid). This keeps mice and critters at bay, and if your cat is like mine and chews holes in everything, keeps them from spilling your pet’s food as well. Place pet food on the floor of the pantry if you can, or move it to the closet where you keep the broom.
The stuff you use the least should take up the highest shelves. In my house, that’s flour, sugar, and anything that requires a meal to be made from scratch. When you put the stuff up high that you use all the time, you’re more likely to knock stuff down reaching a lot or forget entirely the good stuff you have. Breads I recommend keeping in the freezer, as well as bagels, muffins, and other pastries. When you want to use them, take out what you need. Saves storage space and keeps your bread items fresher longer.
Now my pantry is delightful, and doesn’t spew crap at me every time I open it up. I even put labels on masking tape in marker to distinguish one shelf from another to avoid mixing up items in the pantry. Easy to maintain, and certainly makes it easier to decide whether I have spaghetti sauce or not, since all the items are in plain view.