It can be a cupboard in your apartment, a shelving unit in your garage, or a separate room in your house. Whatever it looks like, a pantry acts as a functional space for storing canned goods, baking supplies and anything you just HAD to buy during that last double coupon offering at your supermarket. With winter months quickly approaching, it is a perfect time to start stocking up on non-perishable food items and creating an organized area for them. All the squirrels are doing it. Why not you?
Here are 5 easy ways to help your ‘inner squirrel’ get your food pantry organized…
Use Helper Shelves
Helper shelves (one of my favorite organizing products) double the horizontal space in your pantry, offering more space for canned goods, boxes, bottles, etc. They often come in 3-4 different widths and heights—some are width- and height-adjustable. Helper shelves can be found in the same aisle as other kitchen organizing products and purchased at general stores like Target or in specialty stores such as The Container Store. Helper Shelves = Saving Space
Group ‘Like-Foods’ Together
Group foods and/or products by type, brand, or ethnicity for easy retrieval. For example: Put all canned fruit in one area, brownie mixes on another part of the shelf, and all spaghetti sauce jars and boxes of pasta on a shelf separate from the other two. Now go to your pantry and gather ingredients for tonight’s lasagna dinner. How quickly did you locate the pasta and sauce? Probably, pretty darn fast since they’re now grouped together in one place…Grouping ‘Like-Foods’ Together = Saving Time
Keep it Neat and Orderly
Place cans/jars/bottles on shelves with labels facing front. Line up boxes with their ‘spines’ facing front (like library books) or facing forward depending upon your space limitations. This way you can scan the shelf quickly and find what you need in a matter of seconds. Disorganized shelves are a big time, money, (and food) waster. Orderly Shelves = Saving Time and Money
Before you go to the supermarket, take inventory of your pantry shelves. Helpful Hint: Line up your cans/jars/bottles from the back of the pantry shelf to the front edge with labels facing forward. Depending upon their size as well as the size of the shelf, you may be able to line them up 3-4 deep. When you need a can/jar/bottle, take it from the front. When you see you have one left (hugging the back wall of the pantry), it’s time to put that item on your shopping list. Taking Inventory = Saving Money
Rotate Your Food
How many times have you found cans or boxes of food languishing behind an extra large cereal box? You don’t know how long it’s been there and you’re not planning on serving botulism for dinner, so that old can of peas you unearthed is money down the drain. Whether you line them up one in front of the other or stack them, it is important to rotate your boxes/cans/packages of food. If you usually buy cans of tuna in bulk and stack them 6-high on your shelf, don’t pile five new ones on top of one old can. Put that remaining can in the fridge and stack the new ones behind the old stack. You can take it a step further by dating your canned/boxed goods. It takes a bit of work but it’s worth it. Even non-perishables can perish…Rotated Food = Saving Money
What pantry items will you start organizing today?