The holiday season is just around the corner, and we all know that there’s plenty to do to get your home ready. From cleaning and decorating for the holidays to getting ready for a season full of snow; organizing your kitchen and pantry now will help you tackle whatever the season may throw your way.
6 Easy Steps to Pantry Organization
Compile the Essentials
What do Halloween treats, Thanksgiving pies, Christmas cookies, tailgate dips, hearty soups, and pumpkin spice everything all have in common? A well-stocked pantry. Before you start your season of holiday cooking, make sure you’ve stocked your pantry with the essentials. Not sure where to start? Here are a few staples you don’t want to forget:
Get Rid of Expired Products
Even though most kitchen staples have a long shelf life, that doesn’t mean that those items should have permanent residency in your pantry. Now’s a great time to check the expiration dates on your dry goods. Spices like cinnamon, ground ginger, and nutmeg can last up to four years; however, you should replace flour, baking powder, and baking soda every year.
On a similar note, consider all that you may be storing in your pantry. Has your pantry become a catchall for anything that didn’t fit in your kitchen cabinets? Is there a better place to keep those items? If not, could you find a better storage solution?
Read More: 50 Instant Pot Soup Recipes
For example, we found that our multi-pot didn’t fit anywhere else. Therefore, it has to go in the pantry. We also found that items such as paper towels, toilet paper, trash bags, and paper goods were taking up space that really could have been better served; however, there really wasn’t a better place to put those household essentials. Rather than live with an eyesore, we opted to use storage bins with handles to hide those items. Beautifully constructed, the Water Hyacinth Bins are a much more attractive option for storing all kinds of things and are available in a variety of sizes (large basket shown here).
Donate Unused Canned Goods
While you’re tossing expired products, now is also a great time to donate any canned goods that you don’t plan to use. We’ve all gone to the grocery store and picked up items that we were certain we’d use in our latest new cooking adventure. Unfortunately, many of those recipes never materialize and those unopened cans of pinto beans can be put to much better use in at your local food pantry than pushed to the back of your kitchen shelves.
Organize by Type and Usage
Now that you’ve bought the essentials for the season, thrown away any expired products and donated unused canned goods. The best way to organize your pantry is to pull everything out and sort by type and usage. This might seem like an obvious first step; but we’ve found that over time, even the best organizational processes can go sideways. If your pantry looks like a war zone, returning to the obvious can reset your space.
Once you’ve gotten that far, go ahead and “contain” related items. Mesh stackable bins are available in multiple sizes and are perfect for chips, snacks, breakfast bars or whatever else your family loves to eat. You can use them side-by-side (as pictured) or stack them on your pantry shelves to contain everything from bottles and cans to packaged goods.
Taken a step further, if you want your children to be able to get their own snacks, consider positioning your bins within reach of their little arms. Alternatively, if you don’t want them to reach something, you’ll obviously want to position those items higher. Just don’t be surprised when your three-year-old starts climbing your pantry shelves to reach those higher items.
For example, we’ve got a secret stash of bubble gum that hides behind the canned goods. Canned goods are typically safe at any distance, but we found that our kids would continually take them off the shelf and hide them around the house. Therefore, we now display our cans on an expandable shelf towards the top of our pantry. It can expand up to 19″ to fit your space, making it easy to make the most of any cabinet or pantry shelf. And, it’s not limited to canned goods. Use it to neatly arrange and elevate spices, condiments and other kitchen staples for easy viewing and grabbing. It’s durably built, with a clear, clean look that’s perfect for clutter-free storage.
Mom has access to everything she needs without little hands getting in the middle of it. This system also does wonders for making sure your shopping list is always up to date. No need to rummage through your pantry shelves to see what’s in low supply. Everything is right there in front.
Make the best use of your space
While you’re organizing and placing items back in the pantry, remember to make sure your ingredients are easily accessible. When you’re in the middle of pulling together a holiday feast, the last thing you want to do is to unravel your pantry in search of the right spice.
Organizers don’t have to be purchased. You can repurpose household items such as recycled spaghetti jars, shoe cubbies, magazine racks, or shower caddies to hold your stuff. However, we like the simplicity of a Lazy Susan (including a 2-Tier Lazy Susan) for spices and other miscellaneous cooking accessories. Be sure to place your most frequently used ingredients on the exterior ring, while putting less frequently used spices on the interior for ease of use.
If that’s not enough, you can also purchase cereal containers, spice jars (if you prefer a more uniform look), and many other kinds of bins, baskets and kitchen storage goods at The Container Store. But, we have to warn you. Once you start organizing, you may have trouble stopping. Luckily, we think they’re having a sale right now. Check it out!
Mocha Water Hyacinth Storage Bins with Handles | White Omaha Steel Mesh Stackable Bins | The Home Edit 3-Tier Shelf | The Home Edit 9″ Lazy Susan | The Home Edit 2-Tier Lazy Susan
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It never hurts to start looking ahead and doing what you can to alleviate holiday stress. Your kitchen doesn’t have to be a source of stress. Get your pantry in order first so you can focus on getting the rest of your house in order for the holidays. To be sure there is plenty to do!
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on Why You Should Always Go Home For The Holidays.