10 Tips to Organize Your Pantry

10 Ways to Organize Your Pantry from CouponsAndKids.com

It’s very important to keep your pantry organized so you know what you have.  If you don’t remember what’s at the back of that cupboard or shelf, you might keep buying things you already own.  Keeping your pantry shelves lined and in order saves money.  Here are some top tips to help you stay organized.

1. De-clutter 

Go through the pantry and check all the expiration dates on all the items in it. Remove every last item from the pantry and throw away what has expired. You might have items in your pantry you bought on a whim and will likely never use. Donate those items to the local food pantry that provides food for those who need it. When you are done, you should have a clean slate with which to start over.

2. Clean 

Since you have already removed everything when you de-cluttered the pantry, you can now clean off the shelves to get rid of dust and any spills. You always want your pantry to be pristine because just one thing that falls out of a package is an invitation to pests like insects and rodents. If you like, put knew shelf paper down.

3. Categorize

Now you can take each item and put it into a category. Use laundry baskets to achieve this sorting process and then you can just pick the basket up and replace what is in it in the pantry when you are done.  Consider getting a colorful pantry organizer to sort different containers together.  Sample groupings might include:

  • Cans and Jars – put all soup cans together, all vegetable cans together, all jelly jars together and all sauce jars together.
  • Baking Goods – this would include flour, sugar, confectioner’s sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper.
  • Boxes – keep cereal separate from pasta, crackers, cake mixes and other boxed mixes.
  • Packages – these items would include egg noodles, dry beans, rice not in a box, and anything else that does not come in a box, can or jar. (See below about containerizing these types of foods)

4. Sort

Now that the items previously in the pantry are in categories, sort them by height. Put the long skinny spaghetti box at the back of the pantry with smaller boxes in front so you can see everything. A big can of kidney beans would be in back of regular canned vegetables.

5. Pay Attention to Expiration Dates

If you have four cans of spaghetti sauce, sort them by expiration date. When you put them back in the pantry, place the one with the expiration date that expires first in the front so you use it first. This will help you to use the oldest product first and not waste it. When you use the other two sauce jars, buy new sauce and put it behind the one that was left in the pantry.

6. Sort

Now that the items previously in the pantry are in categories, sort them by height. Put the long skinny spaghetti box at the back of the pantry with smaller boxes in front so you can see everything. A big can of kidney beans would be in back of regular canned vegetables.

7. Containerize Irregular Packages

It is really hard to get a package of egg noodles or dried beans to sit neatly in your pantry. Usually the plastic packages are slippery and they slide all over the place. Bulk items you might buy are usually placed in the plastic bags too and they do not store well. Besides being a nuisance in the pantry, the packages do not necessarily keep the product fresh for a very long time and if you do get a pest in the pantry, they can access foods in packages very easily. Place these items in wide mouth canning jars and put a lid and screw top on. The jars store neatly and no pest can get through glass. You can also get heavy plastic containers that will do the job too.

8. Label Items

It is important to put labels on items especially if you put them in canning jars or other containers that you cannot see through. It is also nice to label the area in which you put your categorized items. You can label and area for soups, for drink mixes, for cereal etc. You can get a label gun with adhesive strips easily and cheaply but you can also use envelope labels and just write the heading on them. It is a good idea to write the expiration date and instructions on the label too especially if you are taking the product out of the original packaging.

9. Make an Inventory Sheet

Keep a written inventory of everything you place in the pantry. You can make yourself a regularly used items list and put the number of each thing you have in the pantry. Hang this sheet on a clipboard that hangs from the door of the pantry with a little adhesive hook. Every time you remove something from the pantry, cross it off on the inventory and every time you add something, add it to the inventory. Putting your inventory on a dry erase board will eliminate the need for making a new paper inventory when you go to the store and have to add items.

Staple items should be kept in a pantry, like flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pasta, sauce, powdered milk and other non-perishable items. But, you can also keep items you frequently use for making dinner, like vegetables, fruits, cream of mushroom soup, tomato soup, macaroni and cheese and the like.

10. Check the Pantry Before Shopping

Before you go to the grocery store, make a list of all the things you might need. It will save you a great deal of money to make a meal plan and write down ingredients you need for those meals on a shopping list. Take the list to the pantry before you leave and check off anything you already have in there by looking in the pantry or looking at your inventory. How many times have you thought you needed a can of tomato soup only to find it was in your pantry all along and you didn’t have to spend the money to buy it.

Bonus: Maintain your Pantry

Once or twice a year, do general maintenance on your pantry. Clean it out, vacuum or dust the shelves and clean up any messes that might occur. Check all your expiration dates and get rid of what has expired.

These tips will help you keep an organized, and efficient pantry that will inevitably save you time and save you money.

Learn how to make something with the things in your pantry.  See our post on Easy Shepherd’s Pie/Budget Friendly and Delicious.




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