After doing my spring cleaning, I wanted to share with you some kitchen basics.

I believe that every home needs a well-organized pantry. If you don’t have the luxury of a pantry, don’t despair! You should be able to designate and organize an area in your home to serve as a pantry. Even if you put shelves in your basement.

The benefits of keeping a well-stocked and well-organized pantry are numerous. One advantage is that you won’t have to make as many trips to the store. If you follow these simple steps that I have outlined in this article for you, starting with keeping items in inventory and making a comprehensive list of what you need to buy, it will not only save you a lot of hassle, but it will allow you to use the coupons you have clipped. and buy items on sale and even in bulk, saving you: gas, time and money! As well as your health!

Function – First in the pantry

It doesn’t matter how big or small your pantry is, but FUNCTION should be your first consideration. Here are some functional tips for organizing your pantry:

* Just like organizing any room in your home, a pantry should be planned to save time, energy, efficiency; and therefore money!

* Your pantry should be well lit so you can see all areas.

* Make your pantry efficient for you. It should be located in the center of your home. Either in the kitchen or in a hall closet that is relatively close to your work area. If necessary, it’s perfectly fine to create multiple pantry areas. If you do this, just remember to organize each space so that kitchen necessities are in the kitchen, cleaning supplies separate from groceries, and bed and bath linens are near the bedrooms and bathrooms of your home. and so on.

* Consider the humidity and temperature of your pantry; You don’t want to store dry food in a humid place and a pantry that has a relatively cool and constant temperature is ideal.

* If space is limited, purchase plastic storage bins that you can stack in a coat closet, on top of closet shelves, and/or even under your bed. In these bins, you would keep items that you access less frequently in these storage areas. If you buy in bulk to save money and keep excess inventory in these less easily accessible areas, you can always replenish a smaller supply in your most convenient pantry storage area.

* Keeping a “good inventory” of items you use regularly will allow you to avoid tempting sale prices on items you don’t use and/or don’t need.

Getting Started – Pantry Cleaning

Now that you’ve got your pantry planned to work, it’s time to start reorganizing it!

Once you’ve established your pantry area, you’ll want to start by removing everything. I know, I know. Do not panic. Removing everything will help you get started and get in order.

1. Empty your pantry completely: put everything in boxes, tables and/or counters. Throw away or recycle anything you find damaged, expired, obsolete or unusable.

2. Before you get down to tidying up, you’ll have fun disassembling the food cabinets you currently use. Look at everything as you pull it out and consider the following: How long has it been since you used that item? For example, Herbs: they lose a lot of flavor after 6 months, even in a dark and cool space. While you’re at it, check the expiration date and dispose of it accordingly. Remember the rule: when in doubt, throw it out!

3. Wipe any dust or dirt off each item as you go.

4. If something has lost its label, but you know for sure what it is, make a handmade (or digitally created) label for easy recognition and stick it on your container.

5. The best part about this process, even if it takes a long time, is that it only needs to be done twice a year. Plan to do it in the spring and fall.

6. Thoroughly clean shelves and walls with a mild soap and warm water solution, towel dry and allow shelf surfaces to dry completely.

Preparation – Pantry Space

Once you’ve removed everything, cleaned up, and prepared your pantry space, you’re ready to start the reorganization. This is the fun part!

Here are my suggested steps to prepare your pantry for greater efficiency, order, and money savings!

1. As you begin to organize your “well-stocked pantry”…look for any available space you can use to store items; The back of a pantry door can be used to store spices and other small items by hanging a shelf over the door. You can buy these racks at: Bed Bath and Beyond, Home Depot, Lowes, Target, and any other similar retail stores.

2. If needed, now is the time to repaint the pantry walls and shelves. I think white or off-white is generally the best color for a pantry. Cleanliness is noticeable!

3. At this point you can lay down some easy clean surface paper on your shelves. This will protect the shelf surfaces from staining.

4. Your next step is to organize your shelves according to the contents you want to keep in your “well-stocked pantry.”

5. I suggest getting some of Tupperware’s Modular Mate containers. They are ideal for storing dry goods such as flour, sugar, pasta, tea bags, coffee beans and cereals. I find that using rectangular or square containers will take up less space and stack better than round or oval containers.

The reorganization of the pantry

Now that you’ve cleaned out your pantry, you can start organizing things by following these steps:

1. Begin by sorting pantry items into categories – examples include: fruits, vegetables, soups, condiments, boxed lunches/dinners, canned meats, sauces, baked goods, and rice/pasta/dried beans. As you do this first round of categorizing, be sure to sort items by their expiration dates, placing the earliest due item as the last item to return to the pantry (i.e., it will be in the front, thus reducing waste). ).

2. Heavier items should be placed on the lower shelves. Especially if you have a Lazy Susan installed. For example, if you have a large can of tomato sauce, put it on the lowest shelf with the containers for your baked goods. In the meantime, leave the top shelves open for frequently used items and lighter items like beans, pasta, and/or rice.

3. By using containers you can keep dry goods and baking items such as: flour and sugar, fresh and free of insects. You can store smaller items such as tea and coffee, dried fruit and broth in small baskets and/or plastic containers, which also helps keep them fresh.

4. Group items that are similar: breakfast items, snack items, baking items, cleaning supplies, tablecloths, etc. It’s important that if you take a little time to consider how things are arranged in the grocery store where you normally shop, you can group your pantry items similarly. Using subgroups will help keep things neater and more easily accessible. For example, all canned goods go on one shelf, organized into subgroups such as: fruits, vegetables, soups, crackers and candy, etc.

5. Labeling the shelves will help you keep your groups in order.

Pantry and replenishment inventory list

Now that you’ve cleaned out our “well-stocked pantry,” discarded obsolete items, and added shelving (if needed), you’ll want to take inventory. Doing this will help you determine what is missing and what needs to be replenished on a regular basis.

For your convenience, I’ve created a starter list of common items you may want to keep in your pantry and add to your own pantry inventory list:

* Canned items: soup, broths, vegetables, fruits, beans, tomatoes, etc.; * Jarred foods: pasta and tomato sauce, olives, pickles, peanut butter, jams and jellies * Baking goods: baking powder, baking soda, flour, sugar, extracts and more. * Spices: salt, pepper, basil, Italian season, tarragon, paprika, crushed red pepper and more. * Starches: pasta, potatoes, rice * Condiments: soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise * Sweeteners: syrup, honey, artificial sweetener * Dry Goods: cereal, oatmeal, pancake mix, raisins, and dried fruit, nuts, and seeds * Oils: olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil, etc.

Keep the pantry well organized

Now that you’ve cleaned out and organized your pantry, you’ll want to follow these simple tips to keep it that way:

1. Do not buy things that will not be used; this will save money! 2. Buy only according to your tastes, budget and needs. 3. Look for coupons and sale items to keep in your pantry. 4. Use your pantry regularly, checking your inventory to make sure you’re not overstocked. 5. If possible, items such as paper towels, paper plates, napkins, etc. that won’t expire or become obsolete, buy them in bulk.

the recap

If possible, try to buy reserve quantities of the staple items you use the most. This will prevent “out of stock” items. Having an extra jar of mayonnaise or a few spare cans of chicken and/or tuna salad can go a long way with a surprise visit from a friend. Be sure to add these items to your shopping list when you enter your reservations. With children in the house, you may want to consider making a special area and/or basket where you can keep snacks and quick treats close at hand. This will help keep the kids out of the pantry! Homemade trail mix is ​​a great snack and easy to store!

I’ve found it’s best to try to rearrange your pantry when you’re alone, or have a block of time available so you can focus and get the project done quickly!

Remember to keep cleaning products and chemicals away from your food!

Keep the items you use most often up front and easily visible!

Stack cans, jars, and other items so labels can be easily read.

Always be on the lookout for new organization aids like: baskets, wire baskets, adjustable shelves, stackable bins, and more that will improve your pantry organization.

Make a “guest” or “refreshment” shelf to keep crackers, dips, chips, drink mixes, and other items on hand so you’re ready to have an impromptu party or your kids’ friends.

Keep paper/pencil and/or a small whiteboard in your pantry. You can also paint a chalkboard on the back of the pantry door. You’ll be amazed how this will encourage family members to add what they’d like to inventory or what they’ve noticed is out of stock.

If you can’t fit everything in your pantry neatly, you can store non-essential items in a more “remote” storage location, like your garage or basement.

Pantry staples:

Baking soda Baking powder Cornstarch Flour Sugar (powdered, granulated, and brown) Yeast broth (chicken, beef, vegetable) Maple syrup Cooking wine Milk Butter Eggs Mustard Lemons (or lemon juice) Mayonnaise Garlic Hot sauce Onions Parmesan cheese

Other useful pantry items:

Dry beans Pasta Spaghetti sauce Canned soup (cream of chicken or mushroom) Various cheeses Sour cream Cream cheese Frozen vegetables (usually frozen tastes better) Potatoes Celery Carrots

Happy pantry!

-Karina’s Garden of Grace-


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