Simplify Your Pantry
A pantry is a room or closet used for storing provisions and dishes. – Merriam-Webster
Many people just put stuff in their pantry because it doesn’t fit in the cabinets. Thus, most pantries become a dumping ground where items are stored by shape and often forgotten. But a well-designed pantry can help you eat better, save money, and most importantly, save time. When you stock your pantry so it supports the way you cook, meal and snack time flow smoothly.
Start by tossing all expired food items, anything discolored, open for who knows how long, and things no one in your family will actually eat. Keep in mind that many organic or natural products have a shorter shelf life because they lack preservatives. Toss any specialty or gift foods that you haven’t gotten around to trying since you received them for some long ago holiday.
Think of your pantry like a convenience store. Stock like items together by category and they will be easier to find. Dedicate a spot for something and replace it when the spot is empty. Keep your family’s favorites on hand. Limit the quantity of junk food to limit your temptation.
• Breakfast items
• Soups and meals
• Pasta, rice and beans
• Fruits and veggies
• Baking items
• Condiments and relishes
If you have the space, use one shelf per category. If not, share. Easy to stack square and rectangular containers can keep bags of pasta and rice from falling over. A basket on the lowest shelf is good for potatoes and onions. Other small baskets can hold cake decorations, mixes, and packets in front of a row of boxes or cans. An over the door pocket organizer holds small snack items and mixes.
This article originally appeared in Sage, August 2009