Geralin Thomas

Article Summary:

How to re-organize your pantry.

How to Organize your Pantry

The pantry is truly one of the quickest ways  to get your family organized and save money, time, and shelf space.  Foods stay fresher longer  in airtight containers and buying in bulk is easy if you have containers made for storing the larger, more economical sizes. 

1. Begin by discarding anything stale, spoiled, or expired in your pantry.

2. Wipe down the shelves and walls.

3. Paint the shelves and walls a bright white.

4. Use sturdy plastic containers with tight fitting lids such as Tupperware's Modular Mates containers to hold dry goods such as flour, sugar, pasta, teabags, coffee beans, and cereal. Remember square containers take up less space than round ones and fit better on shelves. Tupperware's ovals are "squared off" at each end so there is no wasted space.

5. Group like items together:  breakfast items, snacks,  baking goods, etc.  Pay attention next time you are in the grocery store; arrange your pantry in "sections" like they do in the grocery store.  Then, make groups within groups (like in the canned goods section separate the tuna from the tomatoes and the soup from the beans)

6. Label the shelves (condiments, beverages, etc.) as well as the individual containers (baking chips, sweetener, rice).

7. Don't forget to save room for your paper products--napkins, paper towels, lunch bags, etc.

8. Recognize that not everyone can do everything alone all the time.  Get help from friends, family, or a professional organizer.

9. Whether your home is sleek and sophisticated or warm and traditional, there are many options for containers which can help make your kitchen pantry appear more stylish and organized.  Splurge on containers; they are an investment and will last a very long time.

10. Make sure your lighting is excellent; replace the bulb if necessary.

11. Add a shelf.  Always think of using as much vertical space as possible.  Lowes and Home Depot have expanding chrome shelves made by companies like Rubbermaid and ClosetMaid.

12. Don't forget the back of the door.   This is the perfect spot to hang a shelf for spices.  There is a system by Elfa that lets you hang the rack over the door and adjust the shelves.

13. Have a basket that your children can reach and put snacks like applesauce cups, pudding, jello, fruit cups, fruit chews, pretzels, etc.

14. Restock your pantry with some of these most commonly used items:

Broth
Canned Soup
Canned Beans
Canned Tomatoes
Tomato Paste
Tomato Sauce
Tuna
Baking Powder
Baking Soda
Flour
Sugar
Vanilla Extract
Pepper
Paprika
Oregano
Salt
Oil (Olive oil and whatever you use for baking)
Pasta
Couscous
Potatoes
Rice
Soy Sauce
Vinegar
Ketchup
Mustard
Mayo
Olives
Pickles
Peanut Butter
Jam
Cereals
Oatmeal
Pancake Mix
Raisins &Dried Fruit
Nuts & Seeds
Syrup
Honey
Sweetener

Who knows, after getting the pantry organized you may feel inspired to start planning healthy family menus and gatherings for family and friends.  Best of all, an orderly pantry makes it easier to keep track of food choices and spending. 

Geralin Thomas of METROPOLITAN Organizing is experienced in both residential and home office organizing. She always considers the lifestyle, budget, and personality of each client. Geralin works with homeowners, designers, builders, architects, and businesses creating organized environments and enhancing client's lives. Metropolitan Organizing is located in Cary, NC and can be reached at (919) 380-7718 or via website at: Metropolitan Organizing.com.

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