Spring Cleaning STEP 3: Organize your kitchen pantry

Apr 5, 2011

Our Father's House Soup Kitchen pantry

Image via Wikipedia

Design is in great part all about organizing.  Organizing furniture so that it is conducive to conversation, planning a kitchen so that thing you need are at your fingertips, etc. We have been working on the microscopic level of design, if you will, by focusing on what is behind closed doors. If you have been following along you now have an organized linen closet and medicine/toiletry cabinet.  This week we will attack the kitchen pantry. My pantry is 10 feet wide, by 1 foot deep by 7 feet tall. Pretty big I know but everything has its place and you can get yours organized even if it is a combination of upper and lower cabinets or only a fraction of the size!

Let’s touch for a minute on general kitchen organization, as we will be addressing the pantry this week and the upper and base cabinets of your kitchen in subsequent weeks. I recommend group things that are alike such as pots and pans stacked together to conserve space, spices together in a spice rack or a cabinet designated to spices, and so on. I have seen numerous clients have things kind of jumbled which I don’t recommend.  As we will be doing this in stages if you are the jumbled type you will need an area for interim items for the next couple weeks.

  1. Make sure you have a large space cleared on the kitchen counter
  2. Clear everything out of the pantry and sort. Get rid of stale or expired items.  Items that you haven’t eaten in the last 6 months that aren’t expired can be donated to the homeless because you are not likely to eat them anyway.
  3. Sort as you see fit but here are some ideas:
    • breakfast foods
    • teas, coffee, drink mixes
    • canned goods
    • jarred goods
    • snack items
    • pastas and rice
    • condiments
    • specialty or ethnic items (mine are Asian and Indian)
    • paper goods
    • baking items
  4. One shelf I like to have I call drop-ins.  Ever have people show up and you didn’t know what to offer.  Have a shelf with prepared items that are easy to serve up to unexpected guests. Items here can include: dip mixes, crackers, fancy cookies, chocolates, etc. If you have any great “drop-in” items please share them on our Facebook page.
  5. Wash the pantry out with warm soapy water and let dry.
  6. Where possible designate an entire shelf to a category.  Metal shelf dividers can be purchased at the Container Store to divide shelves for multiple categories.
  7. Other useful pantry storage items are lazy susans, glass jars and air sealed containers which can be used to store your most used items. If you pantry is more than 12″ deep consider getting tiered inserts so that you can see what is in the back most row.
  8. Involve your family by showing them your system so that they can participate in keeping it orderly. You can go to the ultimate step in organizing and label your shelves so everything is absolutely clear to anyone looking in your pantry.

Next week we will clean out our upper kitchen cabinets.

More Spring Cleaning by RED