Last week we talked about reorganizing the pantry and why you should do it. (see last week’s article here)
This week we’re giving you tips on how to do it and how to keep it organized.
I just did this and I can’t tell you how great it feels. I love to open my pantry and just look at it in awe! I don’t think I’ve ever had it looking so nice.
Getting Started: Things to Help You Stay Organized
The hardest part is getting started, but it’ll go a long way to making meal prep faster and not waste food. Here are some things that you’ll need to get started:
Bins and baskets: Add bins, baskets, racks and Tupperware to help organize your items on the shelves. From wire baskets to plastic bins, there are plenty of inexpensive items you can find around your house or local box store to add more storage. If everything has a home, you’ll be less likely to “mess it up” when looking for what you need later.
These are also helpful in the fridge. You can prep and store fresh, chopped fruit and veggies in containers, so your family has quick, easy to find snacks.
Helpful hint: Measure your shelves first to make sure your storage containers actually fit! That can be an unwelcome surprise and headache if you have to return things.
Labeler or pre-made labels: Purchase labels or a label maker to identify items on bins, containers and shelves so everyone can quickly locate items.
Mini whiteboard: This is a great tool to write down meals for the week. Plan what meals you’re going to make every day of the week and write it down. This way it makes grocery shopping easier. Or you can use the whiteboard to write down when you’ve run out of food, so you can add it to the grocery list instead of guessing.
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Step 1: Pull Everything out…
Pull everything out of your pantry and clean the pantry before you start organizing. Toss anything expired.
Step 2: Group Like Items Together…
Once you have everything out of your pantry, group products by categories, like baking, pastas and snacks. The goal is to group things you typically use together, such as pasta and pasta sauce and sugar and flour.
Step 3: Make A List…
Make a list of all the items you have and keep that list in your pantry. You can add to it/take away from it as you move forward.
Step 4: First In, First Out Storage…
Place newer items in the back and the older items at the front to ensure you’ll use older items first and get through them before they spoil. Same goes with your fridge. Prep and store your fresh fruits and veggies toward the front of the fridge for quick, easy access.
Step 5: Put Everyday Items At Eye Level…
Place foods that you use every day at eye level and other items you use less often toward the top or lower shelves. If you have kiddos, place healthy snack options near the bottom for quick access and the once in a while snacks on the top shelf.
Step 6: Label and Date…
Once you have your containers in place, label and date them. Dating can be especially important for large packaged items like flour and pasta in your pantry and for items in your freezer and fridge. You always tell yourself you’ll remember, but you may not remember a month after the fact.
Step 7: Check In Once A Week…
We all know out-of-sight, out-of-mind, right? Our pantries, fridges and closets-really anything with a door-are easy places to let things slip and collect. Check in once a week to make sure things are still where they belong and to take an inventory of what you have and might need more of. It’ll take a few minutes, but it’ll help you in the long run.
I admit a couple of these are a bit extreme especially if you live alone like I do. I just can’t do step number 6. No way do I want to get to that level of detail!
Share with me what you have or haven’t done.
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