For me, disorganization is the biggest contributor of stress. I use my planner before scheduling any event, organize my closet by color and date my leftovers. Admittedly, the place I neglect is the pantry. With little hands searching for snacks and adults digging for forgotten ingredients, it can get messy quickly.
Regardless of how much space you may have in your pantry, if it isn’t organized correctly, it ends up being a source of stress. Fortunately, you can tidy everything up with a half-hour of free time with the right materials. Usually, once I organize an area, it tends to stay that way for a while. Here’s some tips I put together for the next time you feel like taking on a deep-cleaning project.
Clean first. Toss all food that has expired dates and clean the shelves and floor area.
Inventory your food. Do you have the staples? Do you need something? If so, start a list for the grocery store.
Organize the food by type … boxed cereals, canned veggie staples and fruits, dry ingredients, snacks, oils and other baking ingredients.
Invest in containers (baskets, crates, lidded jars, etc.) for foods in bags, oddly shaped containers and fruits and vegetables. I love any excuse to visit The Container Store or IKEA, but even shoeboxes could work. Here’s a great article about the types of fruits and vegetables that can/cannot be stored together, e.g., onions and potatoes quickly rot in each other’s presence.
Label your containers. A great excuse to use the label maker you probably have stored somewhere.
Use a permanent marker to date your spices. Spices are fresh about four years from date of purchase. Ground spices for 2 – 3 years and dried herbs for 1 – 3 years.
If you have a door on your pantry, hang an organizer on it to hold plastic wrap, foil, waxed paper, parchment, plastic zipper bags and other things that take up valuable drawer space.
Keep a notepad and pencil nearby to keep track of items you need as you run out of them.