Clutterbuster Series: 'P' is for Pantry
Creating A Beautiful and Organized Pantry For Your Home
When home buyers are listing their priorities for their wants and needs for a new home, a food pantry is one of the items that are on the absolute top of the list. Having a place and room to store this week's groceries is both a want, AND a need.
Have you ever discovered a package of food in the dark recesses of the kitchen cupboard, and didn't remember purchasing it in the first place? Knowing what you can make for dinner in the spur of the moment, or being able to locate that forbidden snack in the wee hours of the night when a craving hits makes your life just that much easier. Having an organized space for food also makes people feel better - after all, without food - we wouldn't feel very good at all.
So what are the keys to an organized pantry? The Ask Cathy team pulled together some of their best practices for organizing your food space no matter what it looks like, or what size it is.
Plan & Prioritize
Plan your pantry. Decide if the food space that you currently have is where you want it to be moving forward. If not, identify where your new pantry will be. If it is a separate piece of furniture, where is the best location that makes it easy for you to access its contents?
Decide what to store in your pantry: Only food? Serving pieces? Small appliances? Pet food? Once decided, gather what you want to ideally store in there all together so you know how much needs to go in, then go over it again, carefully selecting the most important items. Be realistic with the space you have. Your goal is to have a clean, organized pantry so that you can locate items easily.
Proceed & Purge
Proceed to remove everything out of where you are keeping your food now, absolutely everything. If your food is staying in the same spot, give the space a good cleaning. This is also where you can have some fun. Give it a fresh coat of paint if you so desire. Add a fun or eye-catching wallpaper or accent paint color for visual interest if you would like as well. Your pantry should not only be functional, but should make you happy when you look at it too.
Purge expired food and donate any food that you will not eat that is still good. With food prices climbing, it might feel like you should keep everything - thinking you are going to use it someday. Give yourself a pass, and allow yourself to let those items go that you know deep down, you just won't use.
Think Outside the Box
Permit yourself to think "outside the box" and look at your food space with fresh eyes. Rework shelves if needed, remove or add new ones. Sometimes more narrow shelves work better for seeing everything there is to see. If your shelves are deep, use can risers or lazy susans for items placed further back. Building special shelves on an unused wall that is the width of a soup can, salad dressing, or pasta sauce jar will amaze you as to how much space it frees up on your main pantry shelves. If you don't have a wall, try a back of a door organizer for doors or cupboards to achieve the same effect. Maximize space and use height to your advantage, storing bulkier items out of the way either up high or down low.
Place & Promise
Identify the "zones" that your food frequently falls into. Some suggestions are:
Place all items in "zones" within the confines of your food space. Label containers for even easier sorting. Promise yourself that you will keep the integrity of your newfound organizational space. Purge items you aren't using regularly, and replace what you use frequently. Strive for continued organization, and if something isn't working for you, give yourself permission to change it.
Using these tips can help you give yourself and your food the exalted space that it so deserves.