Tip of the Day

Organize your Kitchen Pantry aka: Your Costco Closet

Today’s (tasty) Goal: An easily accessible pantry stocked with only staple, regularly used ingredients and basics for you and your family.

As a professional organizer and space designer the pantry is one of my favorite spaces to makeover. A well-stocked and organized pantry saves time by allowing you to keep essentials on hand, thus cutting back on trips to the store. An organized pantry also helps you save money by eliminating the need to eat out because “there is nothing to eat.”

Pay attention and make a list of food your family regularly eats – pasta, cereal, low-sodium canned vegetables and fruit, beans and tomatoes, nut butters and baking ingredients. When you see these items on sale, stocking up on a few of each of item can ensure you always have a go-to solution to feed your family.

By the same logic – pantries should be designed to be accessible to everyone in your family. Everything should be in airtight containers, clearly labeled and easy to access; placing items for the kiddos’ snacks on shelves at their eye level. It IS important to remember that the pantry should NOT become a dumping ground for expired, strange or never-used ingredients. While some storage of less-used appliances, paper towels, and other items might be necessary, the primary purpose of a pantry is to store FOOD.

How to get ‘er DONE today!

  1. Take a “before” picture of your pantry.
  2. Remove and put away any items that belong in other rooms. If necessary, use a basket to collect items, then distribute to their proper places in your home.
  3. Empty your pantry of ALL contents to sort.
  4. KEEP only the staples your family eats during a typical four-week period, and is not expired and unopened.
  5. Discard any open/expired items. Rarely used ingredients that are unopened should be donated to your local food pantry.
  6. Place items in the pantry in an organized fashion. Pair like-items together and turn labels forward so they can be easily read. Place items with expiration dates far out at the back. Pasta and dry ingredients can be re-packaged or “decanted” into dry, airtight storage containers or jars and labeled with expiration dates!
  7. STORE bulk and bulky items like paper towels, food items and rarely used appliances on the bottom shelves, or in baskets on the pantry floor. Keep key ingredients at an adult’s eye-level. Prioritize and keep ONLY what you will use and what you can fit in an organized fashion into the space. One of my favorite minimalism quotes is “You Don’t Need More Space, You Need Less Stuff”
  8. Ensure all items are accessible to the person/age who is looking for them. Consider storage solutions like stackable containers for dry ingredients.
  9. Toss unwanted items or containers, or donate them to a local thrift shop, if appropriate. Consider selling any expensive items that may be valuable on Facebook, Craigslist or NextDoor.
  10. Please take an “after” picture, share it with me on instagram @organizedbyburley and then take a sip to CHEERS your accomplishment today!

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