The first step in the organization process (after deciding to get organized) is to a do a little housekeeping.
- Take everything out of the pantry including food, food storage containers and junk/trash that may have accumulated.
- Dust the pantry, starting with the highest shelf, and then wipe down each shelf one at a time. Be sure to cover the tops of doors and check the ceiling for cob webs.
- Line up the food items in one space so you can see everything at once. Suggestions: kitchen table, dining room table, or even the floor. This way you'll be able to spot duplicates, spoiled foods and get a general sense of how much space each type of item will need.
Common Pantry Clutter Culprits:
GiftsThose Harry & David gift bags are delightful to receive in the mail, but once I'm done eating the canned nuts, the scone mixes and bags of dried fruit tend to go stale in the back of my pantry. One way to combat this is to bake any mixes and give them right back to the person who gifted you in the first place.
One-Off PurchasesLike the saffron example I shared or anything else that strikes your fancy walking through the grocery store. You may be thinking "I'd like the be the kind of person who eats anchovies more often." Again, only buy new/interesting items if you are committed to using them right away.
Junk FoodI never buy junk food because I don't think a bag of potato chips or a box of cookies would survive more than a few hours in my pantry without being devoured. But if you regularly buy junk food you may find bags of Lays potato chips about ¼ full of crumbs, some stale popcorn remnants, or broken cookie pieces.
Assess each item one-by-one and ask yourself these questions:
- Has this expired? If yes, throw it out.
- Do I use this? If no, throw it out.
- Do I like this? If no, throw it out.
Even if you have all of the pantry space in the world, why would you want to keep extra (slowly rotting) food? You can find a better use for that space.
Next step is to start grouping remaining items, like with like. I'll show you how: How to Arrange Items in the Pantry
Kitchen Pantry Organization
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