Is your pantry the Bermuda Triangle of the kitchen? Well no more with this step-by-step kitchen pantry organization guide.
This year let’s create a haven at home with the 52-week home project. Small, managable weekly tasks and challenges to create a space that promotes peace, inspires creativity, nurtures your family and is not only more organized but also runs with more purpose and intention.
To catch up on all the previous projects, head here.
Last Week’s Project
I don’t know what it is about the pantry but maybe it’s because you can close the door and forget about the mess? Random opened boxes and bags, cans stacked with no order, it’s almost impossible to find that one small bottle of the ingredient you KNOW you bought at the store but now it has mysteriously vanished.
Can you relate?
This week we are going to conclude our 4-week deep cleaning of the kitchen with a little cleaning, purging and organizing of the kitchen pantry. We are going to remove all the food, rearrange the shelves, and create a little order.
One, of the many, benefits of having a clean and organized pantry is money saved. When you open your pantry now you will know exactly what it is there which, combined with the freezer inventory you made last week, will make meal planning a breeze!
Alright, let’s roll up our sleeves and get busy!
Project #11: Food Storage
Remove all the food. Take everything out of the pantry and place on the countertop. Check for expiration dates and food that is past it’s prime. If it is open but still good and you know you aren’t going to be eating it, create a pile of food to donate to your local food pantry. Spoiled food past it’s expiration date should be removed.
Clean the inside. Starting from the top shelf working down, use warm, soapy water to wipe down all the shelves, walls, drawers and door compartments. If the shelves and drawers are removable, it might be easier to take them out to clean.
Bulk food storage. Create an organizational system to store bulk or packaged food in to keep from spilling. This might look like storing foods in plastic food bins or ziplock bags to seal for freshness. Clearly label all containers and bags.
Organize your shelves. Keep like foods together and in reach of convenience. If you want your kids to easily access certain snack foods, place them at a level they can reach. Stack cans and glass jars together. Condense packaged foods in baskets or containers.
Kitchen Pantry Organization Tips
Create zones in your pantry. Most pantries are tall or wide but not very deep. You want to store food that you use most every day on the shelves that are at eye level, or where the kids can reach. Use the bottom and top shelves for those items that are only used periodically.
Maximize vertical space. If you have the option of changing the space between the shelves to better use the space, rearrange the shelf spacing. If that’s not an option use containers to stackable shelves to layer items but do be cautious to stack so many items on top of something that it becomes laborious every time you need to remove and put something back.
Use the door space. The space behind the door is valuable real estate. Perfect for spice racks, small baskets to hold snack items or beverages. I’ve even seen people use over-the-door shoe pockets to house like items together. You do need to be vigilant about measuring the space between the closed door and the pantry shelves to make sure you allow for plenty of room to close the pantry door.
Use storage containers to fit more into less space. Clear plastic bins or glass containers can be used to store dry goods such as cereal, pasta, beans, baking supplies, and other items that might come in bulky or awkward packaging. Plus you can save space by keeping items stored in uniform containers. Make sure they are airtight so you don’t waste any food. The dollar store is an excellent place to find plastic containers if you are on a budget but it’s also worthwhile to invest in some high quality food safe containers.
Don’t have a designated pantry space? Use cabinets or closets nearby. You might not have a pantry in the kitchen but could the nearby hall closet be transformed? You might even have to really creative about how you use your kitchen cabinets to store both dishes and food.
My Progress and Results
I’m going to be really honest with you… I did not get the chance to organize my pantry this week. I had to deal with a problem that took all of my mental capacity. The good news is I have already completed this coming week’s project (scroll down) so I will use this week to tackle the pantry.
A New Project for a New Week
Each week I’ll share a new challenge to help us tackle one small area of our homes.
Some weeks it might be a deep cleaning task, some weeks it might be a decluttering task, some weeks it might be a challenge to help you create a space you love, and some weeks it might be a combination of a few different challenges.
The goal for the 52-Week Home Project is to have a home that is not only more organized but also runs with more purpose and intention and just feels more peaceful and calm.
The Next Project
I decided to camp out in the kitchen for a few more weeks. Not to do anymore deep cleaning but to do a tad bit more organizing and planning in the kitchen.
Part of running a kitchen efficiently is knowing what meals to cook, what your family enjoys and to have easy access to all those family favorite recipes. Sometimes though we create a lot of clutter (behind a closed cabinet door) by all the recipes and cookbooks we have accumulated.
Be really honest with yourself… how often do you use all those recipes?
This week we are going to sort through, purge and organize all of your recipes and cookbooks, both physical books and paper clippings, as well as all the digital recipes you have stored on your computer, Pinterest board, or e-Cookbooks.
Project # 12: Recipe Organization
Start with your physical recipes & cookbooks first
- Gather all of your cookbooks. Search high and low too. Are there cookbooks stored on your bookshelves, boxed up, stored with your holiday belongings? Round them all up.
- Sort through them. Be ruthless. Only keep the cookbooks you actually love and use. The one exception might be a “coffee table” cookbook, one that’s too pretty to actually cook from but you love looking through the pictures.
- Separate them into 3 piles: to keep, to donate/sell, to throw away (if it’s falling apart, sticking together, lots of cooked on gunk… then it’s probably best to get rid of it. Decide where you will store your cookbooks you are keeping and place the rest in the giveaway box or trash.
- Gather all your recipe clippings. Next gather all of those recipes you have clipped out of magazines, printed off the internet, written down on notecards/recipe cards or any recipe that is loose and not stored in a cookbook. (This also includes a recipe binder or recipe box if you have one.
- Sort through every single one. I know this may sound tedious but you really want to sort through every recipe. How many do you have clipped that you have never, nor will you probably ever, make? How many have you made that turned out to be duds? Recycle them. Only keep those beloved recipes that you refer to again and again and maybe a small collection of recipes you really do want to try. Be honest though, read through the ingredients and directions to see if it would even be worth your time or your family’s preference.
- Store your recipes neatly. If you have never made a recipe binder, now would be a good time. Organize them by dish and hole punch to place in a 3-ring binder or transfer to a small recipe card to store in a small box.
Next move on to your computer and/or eReader
- Delete those digital cookbooks. How many times have you downloaded a free cookbook but have never actually opened it? Again be ruthless. If it’s been on your computer for more than 6 months and you haven’t read it, chances are great you never will. Delete them.
- Get those Pinterest boards in order. Same theory applies here, how many recipes have you pinned but have no plans to ever make? Sort through those pins. Save the ones you honestly do want to try but delete the rest. Even digital clutter is still clutter!
Next Sunday I’ll share my progress as well as give our next challenge in the 52-Week Home Project so be sure to stay tuned.
Missed a project in the 52-Week Home Project? Head here to see the complete list of all 52 projects!
How did you do with your 52-Week Home Project this week? Share your results in the comments below, including a link to your blog post or photo you shared on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with the hashtags #The52WeekHomeProject