Organizing the Pantry
Use wasted space in your pantry with the Large Drawer
There’s a secret joy that comes from opening the door to an organized cabinet fully stocked with food and seeing kitchen accessories and food storage containers neatly in place. There’s also a practical side: an orderly cupboard lets you view just what you have at a glance. You have easy access to kitchen accessories and know immediately what staples are running low so you won’t overbuy things you don’t need. Plus, having the right ingredients on hand makes dinner prep a snap.
Think such order is out of reach? Think again. Just set aside an hour or so one afternoon, clear off some counter space and pull up a trash can. It’s also a good idea to grab an empty box for food and stuff you can give away. Here are some tips.
EMPTY IT OUT
The first step is to clear everything out. Check expiration dates and toss foods that are past their prime. Donate canned foods that are still good, but you know you aren’t ever going to use. (Sure you got a great deal, but are you really going to cook 20 cans of wax beans?). Toss or recycle food storage containers that are cracked or have missing lids. Once the cupboard is bare, take the opportunity to wash down the shelves with soap and water and wipe them dry.
For storage solutions that economize on space, look no further than Rubbermaid food storage with the Easy Find Lids feature. The lids snap to the base and snap to each other, and one lid fits multiple bases. Thus, it is easy to keep your food organized in your cabinets.
PUT THINGS TO TASK
You’ll be able to find what you need quickly if you store like items together. Baking supplies such as flour, brown sugar and chocolate chips may take up one shelf. You might group breakfast foods (oatmeal, granola, coffee or tea) on another. Store dried pastas with rice, beans and other staples. Do the same with cooking oils, spices and condiments.
KEEP KEY ITEMS IN REACH
Things you use every day should be front and center. Items you use less frequently can reside toward the back of the cabinet; place shorter containers on risers so they won’t be lost or forgotten. Keep trail mix, cereal, dried fruit or fruit cups in single-serving containers on lower shelves and the kids can help themselves to a healthy after-school snack.
- Stock up on these basics, and you’ll be surprised what you can whip up on a whim.
- Cereal or granola
- Pasta, beans, rice and other dried foods
- Canned fruits and vegetables
(including tomatoes and tomato paste)
- Coffee or tea
- Flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder
- Chocolate chips, sprinkles, marshmallows
- Chicken or beef broth
- Canned tuna or salmon
- Bottled water and canned beverages
- Spices, oils and condiments
- Potatoes, onions, garlic, ginger