Organizing your kitchen pantry may not be at the to of your to-do list, but an organized pantry can make your cooking, kitchen, and overall way of life much easier. A pantry is one of those places where items, food products, and all those extras get tossed inside with little disregard of where they land. If you take some time to organize your pantry once a season, or at least once every six months, then you can help to use up food items before they expire, get new meal ideas based just on what you have on hand, and help to eliminate any wasteful over-purchasing of items that you already might have plenty of!
First, you must take everything out of your kitchen pantry. Make sure that you have a clear kitchen counter or dining table that you can use to spread out all of your pantry goodies. Now with everything out of your pantry, take some time to dust and wipe down the shelves. Unfortunately, you might come across some spills that have accumulated over time that you might not have been aware of, but better to clean it up now than never. This will give you a fresh and clean slate for organizing your pantry and may help to motivate you to keep your pantry clean from here on out.
Now take a long hard look at the items that you have taken out of your pantry. Check the expiration date of everything and toss those items that have already expired. You also want to check the expiration dates on your spices. After about a year spices start to lose their flavor, so you might also have some old spices that would be worth tossing out to replace with new fresher spices.
When starting to place items back into your kitchen pantry, keep all of the items that you use on a frequent basis at eye level; this may include spices and baking goods. This allows you to find what you need quickly and efficiently. It will also help you to remember what you have on hand and what items might be running low. Now you can collect items of a similar nature and keep those together. For example, if you have a lot of canned soups, keep all of those together and don't get them mixed up with other canned goods, like chicken broth. Likewise, keep chicken broth, cream of soups, and other ingredients that you use to cook other meals together so that you always know what you have on hand.
When organizing food goodies, make sure to put those items that are expiring sooner at the front so that you remember to use them first. Now when you buy new food items, you can place them behind others, this will help you to use what you have and reduce the risk of having perfectly good usable food items expire because you forgot about them.
Once you've organized the food items that you use frequently at eye level or in another comfortable area where you won't miss them, you can organize those items that you don't use frequently. This may include paper goods, such as paper plates, paper towels, plastic utensils, etc... These items can be stored on the top shelves of your pantry so that they won't take up the prime real estate available at eye level. Heavier items, such as bottled drinks or cans, should be stored at the lower shelves of your pantry so they are easily accessible and do not run the risk of injury that might occur if they are place too high from reach.
Keeping your kitchen pantry clean and organized will help to save you time and money by being aware of what you have and can use for your family meals.
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