Welcome to Week 9 of my Get Organized series! This week we’re heading into the kitchen and we’re going to start with a Get Organized Checklist for Your Pantry.
Step 1 – Empty and Purge
First, take EVERYTHING out of the pantry. As you take items out of the pantry, discard items that are expired or stale.
If you come across items that are still good, but that you know you won’t use (e.g. that time you stocked up on chickpeas when they were on sale with the illusion of all the homemade hummus you would make), place them in a box to bring to donate to a food bank.
You can save yourself some time later if you place the items in groups as you remove them from the pantry (e.g. keep canned goods together, place cereal in the same spot).
Step 2 – Clean
If it’s been awhile since you’ve cleaned out your pantry, you’ll be surprised at all the crumbs and spills you’ll find lurking there. Take advantage of the empty shelves to scrub off any sticky messes and wipe away crumbs. Don’t forget to sweep out the pantry floor too.
Step 3 – Sort
Even if you tried to group items in Step 1 as you removed them from the pantry, take a few minutes to make sure you have all of the items sorted properly. Possible groups you may have are:
- Canned goods
- Cereal and breakfast items (e.g. oatmeal, pancake mix, syrup)
- Grains and pasta
- Snack foods
- Baking products
- Sauces and condiments
- Bread, bagels, tortillas
- Root vegetables
- Pet food and treats
- Paper products and plastic utensils
I’m a big fan of using bins. It makes it much easier to keep the pantry organized since you can pull out the bin you need to search for an item and then return it to its spot without disrupting anything else. You’ll make the most of your space if you stick with baskets or bins that are square or rectangular like these:
Stacking organizers also help you make the most of your vertical space between shelves.
You DON’T have to spend money on fancy baskets, bins and organizers to achieve the same results. My friend Susan, from Organized 31, has plenty of pantry organizing tips using repurposed containers.
Step 4 – Put Everything Back In
If you want all of your hard work to pay off, this is the step that is essential to get right. When you put your pantry items away, do it in a way that will make it easy to stay organized.
- Keep items the kids frequently use on lower shelves they can easily reach (e.g. snacks, cereal, sandwich bread)
- Place heavy items on the bottom two shelves to avoid injuries and damaged floors from dropped items (e.g. canned goods, condiments, beverages)
- Place rarely used items on the top shelf (e.g. paper products and plastic utensils)
- Keep the items you use most frequently at eye level
Of course some of these rules conflict. I used a lot of ingredients that are in cans or jars so I keep them at eye level where it’s easy for me to find what I need instead of on the bottom shelf. Your pantry has to work for YOU so use the guidelines above as things to consider, not hard and fast rules.
Download the Get Organized Checklist for Your Pantry
Ready to get to work? Print off the checklist below and check off items as you complete them!
Click the image below to print or download your checklist.
Don’t forget to check back next week so we can organize the rest of the kitchen!
Before and After Photos for Inspiration
Overwhelmed by the task ahead of you? I always derive a lot of inspiration from seeing others’ before and after pictures. Here are a couple of pantry makeovers to motivate you.
Manuela, over at A Cultivated Nest, converted an old broom closet into her pantry.
And KC from The Real Thing with the Coake Family emptied out her pantry, installed new shelves, and invested in some storage containers to transform her pantry.
If you are just stumbling upon this series, check out the other get organized checklists. Each week I’ll be sharing a new checklist for another area in your home so check back if you want to get your entire home organized this year.