Organize your pantry with a five-step makeover

Organize your pantry with a five-step makeover

We confront it everyday, morning and night, for one of our most basic needs – the search for food.

If your pantry is a mess, it can bookend your day in frustration.

Fortunately, it’s also one of the quickest organization projects that offers one of the biggest returns in improved efficiency and peace of mind.

Follow the same basic steps:

1. Assess your needs.

Take note of what works about your pantry. Then, list the things that make you crazy about it.

The stuff that gets used every day needs to stay near the middle. The things that children help themselves to should be within their reach. The less often an item is used, the higher or lower up it can live.

Ask yourself: What is your goal?

A lot of time people have the space, but they don’t know what to do with it. They just see a series of shelves.

The organizer starts envisioning what can be grouped together, taken out and added to improve the functionality.

2. Empty it out.

The next step is to empty out the entire pantry. It sounds daunting, but it’s truly the only way to get a handle on everything that is hidden there. People will often discover they own multiples of the same product or have a backlog of expired foods.

If you don’t see it, you won’t use it. You can discover several unopened bottles of vitamins and supplements that had been purchased with good intentions but lost in the recesses of the pantry.

3. Sort into categories.

The next step is to group like items. Buy a few storage containers in which you can group all the protein bars, and fruit and nut bars roaming around. Create a section for snacks, one for breakfast items, pasta and dinner, spices, grains/rice and an entire shelf for baking.

4. Toss the excess and expired.

First, you purge. Get rid of things that are stale or expired.

Also toss the tupperware that was missing lids and consolidated things into empty jars that kept turning up.

Taking note of the redundancy in the pantry can help cut down future costs. It can be a money saver. Think about the money wasted on food that gets thrown away, excess items and impulse buys. It can help with menu planning to keep a grocery list on the inside door of the pantry and make a note of things you needs before you shop for the week’s meals.

5. Put the puzzle back together.

Add a few storage baskets that grouped together certain items, such as teas, spices or lentils. You can add Lazy Susans for soup cans. Add labels on each shelf as a reminder for everyone who uses the pantry.

Move the largest box of cereal to a middle shelf where our children could reach it more easily. Group it with the oatmeal and other breakfast foods. Tear the loose box tops off of boxes to make the overall space appear cleaner.

For shelves that don’t pull out, it’s important to use the vertical space, so everything is within eye level. This may require buying a few tiered shelves.

In the closet pantry add a few more storage containers.

It’s like putting together a puzzle. Some pieces fit better in different configurations and it takes a little bit of trial and error.

A pantry project is a good start for those who want to become more organized. It doesn’t take as long. It gets you motivated and lets you feel successful.

In less than an afternoon and less than $50 in supplies, you can make enough tweaks in an area of the house you use every day to have a significant impact on the rest of your day.

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