I’m an organization nerd. I like symmetry and order even though I’m artistic by nature. Most people associate artistic types with chaos and disorder. Those aren’t my adjectives.
I recently started organizing areas of my home for a few reasons. One: to make them more efficient, two: because I can’t stand seeing stuff in my house that looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and three: because there are so many amazing organization containers in the world.
For Christmas all that I wanted was a set of pantry organization containers. When my friend saw the updated pantry she said, “It looks like Sleeping With the Enemy.” To which I replied, “Thanks. It’s just the look that I was going for minus the scary husband.”
Recommendations for successfully organizing a pantry:
Take everything out of your pantry and have a trash can right next to you to toss out expired/stale items and anything else that you deem trash. As I unloaded the food, I organized it on my kitchen table into groups like these: pasta, dried beans, rice, canned foods, sauces, baking, etc.
Donate any unexpired, nonperishables, that your family won’t eat. Spices should be trashed if they’re expired. If you never use a particular spice, I wouldn’t rush to the store to replace it after the purge.
Wipe down your shelves with a soapy, damp rag after removing everything from the pantry. This gives you a fresh start, like the day that you moved into your house. I have waxed paper sheets under my syrup and honey bottles, and paper towels under the oil bottles. They help to keep the shelf clean. Contact paper for shelves is another great option, but I like to use waxed paper and paper towels because I can easily replace it as needed.
Put dried goods like pasta, beans, rice, and baking items into containers (label them if you want with labels or painters tape and a magic marker). The containers don’t have to match but I do recommend air tight lids so that your food stays fresh. Recycled takeout food containers or mason jars are great for organization and you may already own them.
Now decide what you use most often and place it on the shelves that are within arm’s reach. Use the upper and lower shelves for items that you are less likely to need on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
Group like items together in rows by their height. I have a row for flavored vinegars, a row of oils, a row of canned green beans, tomatoes, refried beans, etc. Get into the habit of rotating the oldest products to the front each time that you purchase new items.
I have two large baskets for snack items like chips and crackers. The baskets are opaque and up high so we’re less likely to snack since they’re not at eye level. I like the idea of a large basket for paper plates, napkins, and straws as well. I avoid baskets for small things because they get cluttered and I can’t immediately see what I’m shopping for in my pantry.
Zip top bags, aluminum foil, cling wrap, etc. should be in the same area/zone of the pantry so they’re easy to find, baskets are good for these items as well if you don’t want them stacked up on a shelf.
Organize chip clips into a bowl and put it into the pantry for easy access to closing up bags and keeping food fresh.
I hope that these suggestions and photos will help you to know where to begin when trying to get organized.