The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Kristin at The Gold Project.
One of my big summer projects was to organize my pantry. This was actually one of my big projects last summer too, but I didn’t have a good system in place. It ended up looking really nice after the whole overhaul, but within a month, it was back to being a complete mess.
So, this summer, I decided to do a few things differently. I went in with a game plan and tried my best to create a system that worked. Only time will tell if my system will be effective, but I do have some tips that I learned through two pantry overhauls that I wanted to share with you guys.
Remove everything from the pantry.
In my opinion, this is the most important step of them all, which is why it is the first one I am mentioning. You want to start with a clean slate. If you try to organize a messy pantry, your mind may be cluttered before you even move the first item. My brain can’t see past the clutter. Plus, actually moving items out of the space shows you how much you have in there. This can help with evaluating whether you really need or want something too.
Evaluate your space.
Once you have taken everything out, look at your space. How many shelves do you have? Do you have any space that appears tricky to organize? Do you have any doors to consider? With my pantry, I have a regular size door that opens into the space. This is good, but it can be a nuisance too. I try to place things behind it that I do not want my kids to get into and things that aren’t used or eaten as often.
Throw away expired food.
This one gets me every time. It doesn’t matter how many times I clean out my pantry; somehow, I always end up with a couple of expired foods. I don’t know how it happens either. We try our best not to get food that will sit in our pantry. We make a list and purchase only what we will eat that week. It makes me sick to throw away uneaten food. It is like taking dollar bills and throwing them in the trash can. Even with this method, we still end up with expired food from time to time.
Categorize your pantry items.
I have found that it works best for me if I place all like foods together. Snacks go together. Spices go together. Canned foods go together. And, the list goes on and on. So, when I walk into the pantry to get sugar, I know exactly where to look. No searching needed.
Evaluate your food containers first.
I was really tempted this time around to go out and buy all matching food containers. I blame Pinterest for this desire. You search for pantry organization and a ton of beautiful pantries fill your page. But, honestly, it is a pantry. People do not walk into my house and immediately go check out my pantry. My husband, kids, and I are basically the only ones that step into it. Therefore, it needs to be functional, not magazine ready. Plus, why spend that extra money when you already have perfectly good food containers?
I am a huge fan of labeling. I like to label every area just in case things get out of order, I immediately know where everything should go. Right now, I have them labeled with a piece of scratch paper and a pen. I am not exactly sure what type of labels I want to use yet, but at least I have a start.
Remember that not every pantry solution is created equal.
When I started this organization project this summer, I knew I wanted to use Alejandra Costello‘s lazy susan idea in my pantry. She created a lazy susan in her pantry using marbles and two cake pans from the dollar store. Thankfully, I did not go out and purchase these items before starting. As I was working through my pantry, I realized that system would not work for my space. My pantry shelves are pretty wide and I would need about 6 lazy susans. Long clear plastic bins worked a lot better for my space. I am going to keep the idea in the back of my head, though, to use somewhere else in my house.
What other pantry organization tips would you add to my list?
My name is Kristin and I am a middle school career education teacher by day and a mommy/wife/blogger by night. I am married to my high school sweetheart and we have two loving children. We recently made a life-changing move to Arkansas, so our new house is always under construction. I get excitement out of finding new creative, functional, and cute ways to organize things! I also enjoy writing and documenting life as it happens. So, I put these loves together and created The Gold Project. With the help of my husband, I am attempting to turn our house into a home. So, check out this special place of mine and take this journey with me!
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