A well-stocked pantry is like money in the bank. There is never a doubt as to what’s for dinner because you have everything you need to make dinner right before you. Well sort of. The can of tomatoes you need is some where in there under that box of pasta you’re pretty sure you bought last week….Maybe.
As a rule of thumb, you want to take inventory of what you have and discard outdated items.
With the right long-lasting staples, you can take advantage of fresh, seasonal foods, stop impulse purchases and even try new recipes without having to scout out every last ingredient. Pulling together entire meals from a fully stocked pantry, will save you time and money.
Store Food Methodically:
Commonly used items like canisters of flour, sugar and bottles of cooking oil should be stored at a convenient level for easy access.
Less frequently used items like canned goods should be stacked on lower shelves with the labels facing you so that you can quickly see what you have.
Lightweight items, such as potato chips, cereal, rice and pasta, are perfect for high shelves.
Choosing the Right Containers:
Glass is convenient because you can see what you have with a quick glance, it can be microwaved, refrigerated, and cleaned in a dishwasher. Plus it’s very modern. However, glass, of breakable so if you have little kiddies accessing your pantry often be sure to store glass containers safely. Choose glass containers with rubber seals to lock in freshness.
Plastic is durable, safe and generally cost efficient. It also offers the same value of glassware, as it can be refrigerated and cleaned in the dishwasher. If you do opt for plastic, be sure to buy containers free of Bisphenol A (BPA-Free).
As for your cabinets, eliminate having to deal with unmanageable stacks of random cups, plates, bowls every time you use your pots and pans, by storing these items neatly. Easier said than done, I know. I recommend stacking plastics and separating them entirely from glassware. For the fancier dishware, place a metal or wood rack in your cupboard, and store vertically. These life savers can be found at your local Target, Walmart and my all time favorite Bed Bath and Beyond. It saves so much space and it looks pretty chic! Find what you need FAST.
When organizing pots, pans and lids, eliminate having to search for the right lid again by investing in metal or wood racks for your cupboard. Line up the lids vertically. Arrange lids from smallest to largest (top to bottom), with their companion pans stacked close by. Lid racks can be found at your local retailer.
I highly recommend organizing dish rags and sponges because these items are breeding grounds for salmonella and germs. Don’t let dish rags, cleaning solutions and dish washing gloves clutter under your sink. Use easy to remove hooks, like those made by Command®, or other over the door hooks. Hang rags on the inside of a cabinet door, where the items can stay out of sight as they dry. Arrange cleaning solutions neatly, so that you know where to find them when you need them.
The kitchen is one of the busiest rooms in your home. Often it becomes a dumping ground for everything that comes in. Developing a routine for sorting through mail, storing food, dishes and utensils is an absolute requirement to maintaining an organized environment.
Here’s a thought! Don’t put it down – put it away. Create “homes” for all items to be stored. Know where it goes when it comes into your home, and where to go to find what you need when you need it.