About Author: Lilian Boukheir is the founder of the Matbakh, a food blog inspired by her Mediterranean heritage. The word “matbakh” means kitchen in Arabic, which is the center of her home where family and friends can come together over a delicious meal. She enjoys connecting with others through sharing her traditional family recipes.
Pantries come in many sizes and shapes, however, they all serve the same purpose: storing food and kitchen supplies. Whether you have a walk-in closet, open shelving in the kitchen, or a cupboard serving as your pantry, an organized pantry makes it easy to find what you need without being overwhelmed by clutter. Here are 11 tips for organizing any type of pantry, so you can be at ease when looking for what you need.
Tip 1: Use Large Glass Storage Jars for Bulk Items
Rice, flour, and oatmeal are all items that can be purchased in bulk and have a long shelf life. Instead of trying to find ways to reseal the bag these items originally came in, use a large screw-top mason jar. A screw-top mason jar is airtight, which allows the items to last longer. Additionally, the screw top is easy to open and close, so your pantry stays clean.
Tip 2: Reuse Small Glass Jars
Do you ever wonder what to do with the glass peanut butter jar you just finished? Wash and reuse it! Smaller glass jars are excellent ways to store spices, condiments, nuts, and homemade jam. The outside sticker on many glass jars can be removed with some soap and hot water.
Tip 3: Do a Pantry Clean-Out Every Six Months
It’s important to regularly check the expiration date on items in your pantry and discard everything that is past due. You will be surprised at how much extra space is added!
As a good rule of thumb, clean out your pantry every six months. It’s great to do an entire pantry inventory as well, mentally taking note of everything you have.
Tip 4: Group Items by Category
Do you ever buy something at the grocery store only to find it already in your pantry? It’s easy to forget what you already have in your pantry if items are hard to find. The easiest way to find what you need quickly is by having an organized pantry.
And the best way to organize a pantry is by grouping the items in similar categories. Depending on the size, shelf space, and shape of your pantry, the categories can be fewer or more elaborate. Below are five main categories to get started.
Tip 5: Group the Baking Items Together
When baking, many of the dry ingredients used (aside from spices) are great to store together. This includes white flour, white sugar, brown sugar, oats, powdered sugar, whole-wheat flour, etc.
Tip 6: Group the Canned Items Together
It’s easy to neatly organize the area of the pantry that contains canned goods. Stack the canned goods in a way that the labels are visible so it’s easy to find what you are looking for. If you have more than one can of a particular item, store the cans in a row. Additionally, if you have a lot of canned items, you can categorize the canned items in alphabetical order or by type (canned fruit, canned veggies, canned beans, etc.).
Tip 7: Group the Pasta, Legumes, and Rice Together
Pasta, beans, and rice can be stored together in their original bags (pasta) or in large glass jars (beans and rice). Depending on your needs, you can keep some of the items in their boxes or bags or transfer them to glass storage jars.
Tip 8: Group the Cereals, Oatmeal, Nuts, Chips, and Snacks Together
It’s easy to store snacks, nuts, chips, cereals, protein bars, and easy grab-and-go-type food items all in one place. Items that are individually packaged can be added to a snack bin—saving space in the pantry.
Tip 9: Group the Spices, Coffee, and Tea Together
If you cook with a lot of spices, then you know how difficult it is to find things if the pantry is not organized! There are several different types of spice organizers in the market nowadays, which makes spice organizing easy. It’s difficult scouring the pantry for a particular spice when cooking, so spice storage organization is vital for any kitchen.
Tip 10: Use Step Shelves in the Pantry If Limited in Space
Step shelves are a great space adder in addition to making everything visible. Step shelves typically double the space in a cabinet, allowing you to add more items as needed.
Tip 11: Do Not Overfill the Pantry
Sometimes it’s easy to go overboard at the grocery store and buy things not needed or in use. Every six months a pantry audit helps with this. When doing a pantry audit every six months, take note of the items that have passed their expiration. There might be a pattern in purchasing foods in bulk that expire before getting used.
Final Thoughts on Organizing Your Pantry
Regardless of the type of pantry you have, an organized pantry makes finding items easy and quick and reduces the feeling of being overwhelmed. The initial time investment in organizing your pantry pays off as you can navigate the pantry with ease.