How to organize your kitchen and pantry

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To get the most out of your kitchenyou need to take advantage of every inch of space and maximize storage.

Kitchens come in all shapes and sizes with or without pantries, which can be large, small or single-storey, with drawers, shelves and pull-out compartments. Whatever your layout, optimizing space goes through organization. An organized kitchen will make meal preparation easier and save you from buying groceries that you have already put away.

Take inventory

The first step is to get everything out of your cupboards. Clear enough space on a kitchen counter or table where you can sort as you go and see everything at once. This will allow you to take stock and make the process of decluttering and organizing easier.

  • When your cupboards and pantry are empty, clean all the shelves well.
  • Now examine what you have. Check expiration dates and discard items past their expiration date or that you no longer use. If you come across long-lived items that you know you’ll never use, set them aside to donate to charity. There may be collection points at your local supermarket.
  • Add items to your shopping list as you go so you don’t end up without the essentials.
  • The next step is to group what you have into categories. For example, place all baked goods in one place, cereals in another, spices and herbs together, etc.

Storage

Use clear airtight containers to store all your food to make the most of your storage space and keep food fresh longer.

  • Choose containers that stack easily and are large enough that you won’t end up with half-packs of food that won’t fit. Label all containers so you know what’s inside.
  • For items that don’t require airtight containers, use baskets, bins, or racks to maximize space and visibility in your pantry.
  • Tiered shelving works well for cans and bottles, and storing reusable and plastic grocery bags in baskets helps keep the floor clear.
  • Use open bins for snacks and store them below eye level so you can empty snacks into the bin and the whole family can see what’s available.
  • When deciding where to store everything, store the items you use regularly at eye level and those you use less often higher up.

General

Once your kitchen is organized, you will waste less food because you can see what you have and nothing will be hidden in the back of the cupboards.

  • Place opened packets in secure containers to avoid pests like ants and weevils.
  • For deep shelves where items tend to get lost or forgotten, add a tiered shelf against the back wall to make them more visible.
  • Label shelves so everyone in your household knows what goes where and can help store groceries and keep the kitchen organized.
  • Organize the sections in baskets, so they can easily pull out of the pantry and rummage through it.
  • Baskets are great for herbs and spices if you label the lids so you can see what you have on hand.
  • If your pantry is small, buy only what you need next week. You can also use another cabinet in your home to store items you don’t use daily, such as cans, paper plates, and napkins.
  • A turntable is ideal for storing condiments and sauces that you use regularly.
  • Develop menus for the week ahead, as this will help you use up any items that are nearing their expiry date or anything that you may have over-purchased.

Your organized kitchen space will inspire you to cook and eat healthy. Plus, building your shopping list will be easy as you can quickly and easily see which items are out of stock.

Writer: Sarah Jane Meyer


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