The Perfect Pantry


pantry (Photo credit: donaleen)

Need help getting your kitchen in order? Try these tidiness tips.

You know the routine: You stock up on your favorites or go a little crazy when there’s a big sale, and before you know it, your kitchen pantry is overloaded. You can’t find what you need and end up frustrated.

But the solution is easier than you think. In fact, you can reorganize your pantry in about an hour. Then you can restock it mindfully and keep it in super shape.

Clean it out. Start by pulling everything (yes, everything) out of the pantry. Sort it into categories: things you use daily, stuff you use less often, items you don’t know why you bought and products that are past their prime. Toss the expired items. Consider giving unwanted staples to a local food bank.

Clean it up. Before you put anything back, thoroughly wipe down of all the shelves and any floor space.

Restock strategically. Take some time and think through what you use most often and put it front and center, at eye level. Items you use less often can go in the back. Keep similar items, like baking goods, together. Heavy items and appliances go on the lowest level. Kids’ snacks should be where they can reach them without moving other things.

Compartmentalize. Consider bins, turntables and tiered shelf organizers that add multiple levels to a single shelf. Use bins as if they were drawers or to keep smaller items tidy. (They don’t have to be fancy: Try old shoeboxes, for example.) Turntables are good for keeping everything accessible, and they’re also great for items that can leave a mess, like bottles of oil or honey.

Buy wisely. Although it might seem savvy to stock up when something’s on sale, if it takes up too much space or you just can’t use it before it goes bad, it’s no bargain. If you have the luxury of a walk-in pantry, it may make sense to buy some things in bulk, otherwise, stick to what you think you’ll use in the short term.

Don’t ignore the doors. You can hang door hooks or even narrow bins or pouches designed just for that purpose inside pantry doors to give you extra storage space.

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