Pantries are notorious for harboring things the family will never eat. Remember those flaming hot stuffed olives from the Christmas gift basket? Or the set of 10 exotic spices every kitchen should have that you’ve never heard of? Yep, both are now way in the back of the pantry with other forgotten or expired food offerings that didn’t make it on the favorite foods list.
Basically, a pantry is a closet and, in the true nature of closets, it’s easy to succumb to clutter. Summertime is a good time to do a pantry evaluation and see if some organization solutions would make life a little easier, especially with everyone home and perpetually snacking. Summer meals are lighter, and sometimes “grazing” takes over as activities keep the family in perpetual motion and eating happens whenever the mood strikes. An organized pantry will help you keep track of your stores to ensure that fresh food and snacks are always available. Tailored Living® offers four easy steps to the perfect summertime pantry.
Purge the pantry of unnecessary items
It’s so tempting to “put it in the pantry” (no matter what it is), so before you can effectively organize your pantry, you need to sort and purge. Go shelf by shelf and consider everything that is in the pantry. It’s a good idea to completely empty the pantry by placing all contents on the kitchen table or countertops so you can really see what you’ve got. Then, item by item, determine if you need it. This includes small kitchen appliances, serving dishes, kitchen linens and all foodstuffs. Consider using these three categories as you sort: keep, donate or throw away.
- Keep: items you regularly use, and the food and drinks your family likes.
- Donate: anything in good, usable condition that you no longer want, like a duplicate George Foreman grill, old-school recipe books or the 24 cans of cat food you bought that now the cat won’t eat. Your favorite charity will thank you.
- Throw away: stale and expired food stuffs, broken appliances you intended to fix but never did, worn out kitchen towels, and 25 fondue forks from a wedding shower five years ago.
You may be surprised at the accumulation of unnecessary things. Once you get down to what you want to keep, you can reorganize the pantry space for greater efficiency.
Dress up the pantry
Before your return anything to the pantry, wipe down the shelves and Swiffer the walls and floor. You may want to add some new, washable shelf paper or freshen up the paint before you “reload.” Shelf edges can get dinged and repainting just the edges can make it look refreshed if you don’t repaint the entire pantry. Instead of replacing opened bags and boxes of cereal, rice, chips, sugar and such, consider getting some clear glass or plastic storage containers.
- Sealed lids keep food fresher by sealing out air, moisture and nasty bugs.
- Clear containers let you see what’s inside so you can see when it’s time to replenish.
- You can store more in less space with stackable and matching containers.
- Dress up plain jars with fancy labels or hand-written titles. Design your own or look online for free downloads or labels to purchase.
Organize for efficiency
Grouping like items together will make it easier for everyone to find what they need. Rather than have cereal boxes next to the dog food, set up designated areas.
- Keep all baking products together in stackable containers
- Group breakfast items on the same shelf, low enough so the kids can serve themselves
- Store canned goods in their own area
- Place appliances and serving dishes on upper shelves, leaving low shelves for everyday use
- Specialty racks can organize spices and wine
- Pull-out baskets can hold fresh fruit and bagged snacks to stave off the munchies
- Heavy items, including drinks and big bags of pet food should be on lower shelves
A custom pantry for all your needs
Some pantries have narrow shelves that let you quickly see what’s there, while pantries with deep shelves can make it difficult to keep track of your supplies. If your pantry is not as functional as you’d like, a custom pantry design from Tailored Living can restructure your space to exactly what you need.
- Adjustable shelves maximize space for tall (cereal boxes) and short (canned goods) items
- Pull-out shelves or drawers will make even the deepest shelves accessible
- Replace deep shelves with narrow shelves or have a mix of shelf sizes
- Utilize all available space with floor-to-ceiling shelves, cabinets and drawers
- Locking cabinets can safely house cleaning supplies, tools or liquors
Do yourself a favor and keep summertime carefree with a well-stocked pantry that’s perfect for your lifestyle. Never run out of the foods and drinks your family loves for mealtimes, snacking and entertaining. Call 866-641-8958 (US) or 866-973-8221 (CAN) today to schedule a free, in-home consultation or go online to www.tailoredliving.com to find a designer near you who can help you master your pantry.
As whole home organization specialists, Tailored Living can transform every area of your home from chaos to calm with innovative storage and organization solutions for closets, home office design, laundry rooms, Murphy Beds, custom garage cabinets, garage flooring and more.