As the last post in a series of the kitchen, cooking and food we are going to examine the pantry.
This blog happens to be going on in conjunction with a pantry reorganization I am working on, so I can give you very real experiences in a kitchen that did not have a designated pantry area and how we were able to create one.
First, designate a pantry area. If you do not have a pantry in your kitchen create one. In the kitchen I am currently working on there are two cabinets that have been designated for food, therefore the pantry. If you do not have space to spare in your kitchen cabinets think outside o the box. Does your kitchen have room for a freestanding cabinet? What about a cart with a shelf or two? Is there a closet close to the kitchen that could serve as a pantry? Be creative!
Dried foods often come in two forms boxes and bags. There are also canned goods, but we will get there.
Bags are the worst so we’ll start with them. A large number of our baking goods come in bags: flour, sugar, brown sugar, corn meal, oats etc. etc. No matter how hard we try, bags will not stack. So putting the contents of the bags in containers will allow you to stack them taking advantage of vertical space.
I always suggest square containers. They fit into the square cabinets better and leave less wasted space. However, round will still work better than the bag, whatever you have available. Once you have filled the containers and stacked them. Label them for easy identification.
Next up, the boxes. Boxes are often easier to store. You can store them in their original packaging, if you have the space. If you find the box is a bit bulky and the contents could be stored better in a container do that. There are so many different size and shape options, there will definitely be one that fits your needs perfectly. I recommend, Solutions, Your Organizing Living Store.
You can also corral boxes in a larger basket or crate sorted with like items. This allows you to store them on the floor or higher shelves. You can also stack the baskets or crates easily.
A note on loose produce like potatoes and onions. These like cool dark places best, so consider a basket for them as well. Store them open and loose and keep the basket in a place away from direct sunlight and as cool as possible.
Cans are very versatile. They make stacking easy, but if you have a deeper cabinet and you’re not sure how to remember the cans way in the back, try one of these methods. Try using a lazy susan. We have about six in our kitchen. They are fabulous for displaying all items in a cabinet and they’re fun to use. You can also try a stacked shelf that will put the items in the back slightly higher than those in the front OR try this handy little method with a soda box, genius!
A quick note on spices. There are a number of ways they can be stored, but I will share two of my favorite ways. First, the way I store my spices. I tend to buy them in bulk bags from the store. They are much less expensive than purchasing in the bottle, but a lot less convenient to store. I bought a number of the small round spice holders, dumped the bags in, labeled them and put them on a lazy susan. Easy to use, put away and identify when I need to restock.
My second favorite way, is to do a similar method to my method above, but storing them on the fridge, as the bottom of the containers are a magnet. I would definitely store my spices this way, but my fridge is stainless steels and magnets don’t stick to it, bummer!
An organized pantry is the first step to organized cooking and organized cooking will make meal time much much more enjoyable, I promise!
I hope with the meal planning ideas, the fridge clean out suggestions and the pantry organizing tips that you find a renewed sense of order and beauty to your meal times!