Creating Your Perfect Pantry

OCTOBER is THE perfect time to get your pantry in shape!  Wouldn’t it be nice to have it done before the holidays when you spend a lot more time in the kitchen? That busy time of year is quickly approaching (I’ve even seen Christmas trees in the stores already – what’s up with that?)  That’s why now is the perfect time to Just Do It

Trust me, if you follow these four simple steps now, then during the next 3 months (plus!), you will save money, save time and save frustration!

Consider this . . .

Do you have a hard time finding what you need in your pantry?  You know it’s in there somewhere, but you can’t find it!

Are you embarrassed to ask someone to grab something from your pantry because of what they might think when they open those doors?

Do you buy things at the grocery store that you already have, but you didn’t realize it because you didn’t see them in your pantry?

Do you pull things out of your pantry to use and realize they expired long ago and you need to throw them away?

Does your family just throw things back into the pantry without regard for where it goes?

If you answered yes, to any of these questions, then keep reading,  I can help you!  (No judgement zone here . . .My answers used to be Yes to all of the above!)

I have spent a good part of my adult life with an unorganized pantry.  Don’t get me wrong . . . I love it when it’s organized; and I have organized it often!  I organize it.  And then I re-organize it a few months later.  Only to have to re-organize it again a few months after that.  I’ve spent a lot of frustrating moments searching for things that I know are in there but I can’t find them;  throwing away food that has been forgotten about and expired, finding moths have invaded my dried goods, oh, believe me . . . my list goes on and on.  Remember – this is a no judgement zone!

But I’m thrilled to share with you that I have the solution!  Or at least the solution for me – one that I have been able to maintain for quite awhile now, which is the key!  Remember, what works for one, does not necessarily work for all, but in the hopes that this will help you, I want to share what I learned through trial and error.  And I want to share it now, while you can still do it before the rush of the holidays.

Here are my four simple steps for you to be able to create a pantry that is organized, functional, and actually pretty nice to look at!  And even better, a place that you will want to keep organized, because of the joy it brings you.  You may be thinking . . . “A pantry can bring me joy?”  Well, I think it can.  Maybe it’s just my weird Organizing Gene that makes me feel that way. But just try it . .  you may be surprised!

Step One . . . Take everything out.  Put it all on your kitchen table or counter.  As you are putting it on your table, group it into categories, like canned goods, pasta and rice, snacks, cereal, baking items, sweets, etc. 

Step Two . . . Get your garbage can.  It’s time to purge!  Throw away all of the expired items.  Throw away all of the bags or containers that only have crumbs left in them.  Either throw away or put in a separate pile to donate to a local food pantry or friend, items that you know you are not going to eat or cook with but that are still perfectly good.

Step Three . . . Visualize your Perfect Pantry.  Now comes the fun part!  Decide how you want your pantry to look.  You’ve seen the pictures in magazines and online of the products you can buy to re-package and group your pantry items and make your pantry symmetrical and eye pleasing.  You can go that route, but it’s not necessary.  Now that you know what you will be putting back into the pantry, I suggest you first see what you have around the house that you can use.  Chances are you have some baskets or other containers that you can use to group like kind items together to get you started. If you don’t already have some, and you would like to purchase containers, you have a lot of options.  You can find containers in every shape and size and in every budget category.  Try Dollar Tree, Target, TJ Maxx, Home Goods and the Container Store.  I have found great products at all of these places at reasonable prices.  You should measure your shelves (width, depth and height) before shopping since there are so many shapes and sizes available.

Although it’s not necessary to buy product to organize your pantry, I’ll tell you from personal experience that once I did, I was able to keep things much more organized.  Plus, after making the investment in the space, you will have more of an incentive to keep it looking nice.

Step Four . . . Implement your plan!  It’s time to put things back now.  This may take a little trial and error.  So don’t be surprised if you end up moving things around a little bit over the next few days.  Remember, you are trying to create a system that you can maintain, so it’s worth the effort. Put things you use the most where you can easily reach them.  Keep them grouped by category. Save the bottom and top shelves for items that you don’t use as often – or for those extra containers of condiments or bulk items that you like to keep on hand.

I admit . . . It’ll take you a little bit of time and effort to create your perfect pantry.  But I promise you, it’ll be worth every single second!  Here are just some of the benefits you’ll enjoy immediately . . .

  • Lower your grocery bill . . . You will spend less on groceries because you won’t duplicate purchases.
  • Less waste . . . You will use things before they expire now that you can see them.
  • Faster food prep time  . . . It will take less time to cook dinner and pack lunches because you can find things easily.
  • Easier for your family to find things AND put them away (the putting away part is not a promise, but it is more likely to happen now!)
  • A pleasing space to look at (you may even be tempted to leave the pantry door open – just so you can show it off!).

Good Luck and Happy Organizing!  By taking these steps, you’ll be one step closer to creating another Amazing Space in your home, just like the homeowner below!  Leave me a comment below and let me know how it went!

If you like the idea of being organized, but simply don’t have the desire or time to do it yourself, another alternative is letting me help you! Let me do what I do, so that you can do what you do!

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