Busy chefs often have cluttered pantries. It's a natural side effect of cooking quickly, stocking groceries quickly, and always keeping a few extra supplies in the back of your pantry. In a new house, that pantry clutter is comforting, knowing there are always a few boxes of stuffing or cans of beans for a rainy day. But over time, pantry clutter can start to weigh you down.
If you're refreshing your home for the new year, why not refresh your pantry? The following steps will make it easy to fresh your pantry and get organized, so your pantry is more productive and ingredients more at-hand for the rest of the year.
Take Everything Out of the Pantry
The first step in any pantry refresh is to fully empty those shelves. Take everything out of your pantry, every can of fruit and every bag of dried beans. Remove all your used and unused spice jars, take out the boxes of dry goods and the cans of backup proteins. Don't leave a single garlic bulb or box of crackers behind. Lay it all out on your counters, island, and kitchen table. Use as much open space as you need to get every single item out of your pantry.
Clean the Shelves and Baskets
Now is your perfect opportunity to clear out any non-food debris that has accumulated in your pantry. Wipe down the shelves and shake out the baskets. From flakes of onion skin to jar spills to mysterious crumbs, everything can go now that your pantry is clear of food storage. Get in there with rags, sponges, and anything else you need along the way to ensure your pantry storage shelves, racks, and baskets are clean and refreshed for the new organization system.
Sort Your Pantry Items by Category, Size, and Use Frequency
Now sort your pantry items. You know how you cook and what you cook with. You know the items you use most often and those that take up the most space. Sort by produce, boxes, recipes, or ingredient types - whatever makes the most sense to you. Also consider how your pantry is arranged. If you have a builder-grade pantry already fitted out with baskets and smaller shelves, be sure to sort by size as well as category so that your groups fit into similar sections in your pantry. Sort also by how frequently you use ingredients, preparing to store less-used ingredients behind items you use and replace every week.
Donate Unused Pantry Supplies
Sort out anything that you probably aren't going to cook with this year. It's one thing to have a few spare bags of beans and rice in the back of your pantry. But if you're just never going to fry up that joke-gift can of spam or cook up that picnic-sized can of baked beans, maybe they would do better going to the next local food drive. You can get rid of a lot of pantry clutter by sorting out what you probably won't cook and setting it aside to donate
Label Your Pantry Organizers
One of the best ways to keep your pantry organized is with labels. When you're tossing dry groceries into the pantry at speed, it can be tempting to drop cans and boxes wherever there's space on the shelves. Instead, carefully make yourself some beautiful and clearly printed labels for each section of your pantry. Label your shelves, racks, and baskets indicating what goes in each section when you're stocking, restocking, and searching for lesser-used ingredients for holiday cooking.
Labeling is not only fun and productive, it also helps build your new organization plan into your mind so you remember it more easily with each new batch of groceries put away in the future.
Add In-Pantry Storage Lighting
If your pantry is too dim to see what you're doing, now is a great time to add in-storage lighting. Pantry lighting is all about pointing at your shelves and racks. Many home chefs decide to have under-shelf lights installed that shine down on the shelves and baskets below. Strip lights can completely transform your pantry from a shadowy recess of ingredients into a beautifully lit and perfectly organized space.
It becomes so much easier to keep your pantry organized when you can see every shelf of ingredients, possibly all the way to the back of each shelf and section.
Restock Your Pantry by Label
Finally, with your pantry clean, labeled, and well-lit, you're ready to load everything back onto the shelves. Start with the furthest back and least-used items and follow your own labeling system to guide your choices in where to put things. You'll love the feeling of everything having a place and neatly fitting into their shelf, slot, basket, or row. However you have organized your pantry, filling out the items to fit that organization is a great way to embrace the new year of cooking and home redesign.
Refreshing Your Sink Design with Fossil Blu
There are few things more satisfying than a well-organized pantry—except using the items in the pantry to cook a special meal in your kitchen. Once you have your pantry under control, perhaps it’s time to look at the rest of the kitchen design and upgrade your sink with Fossil Blu. If you find you are ready to renovate your kitchen sink, contact us! We are ready to assist you.