Unfortunately it is also a great place to stick things that you want out of sight, and if care is not taken the pantry can become a disorganized storage area that is not pleasant to enter or easy to find what you are looking for.
Today you will tackle the pantry. Allow yourself at least one hour to complete this job. First clear off your table so that you will have a place to put everything that you will be taking out of your pantry. Yep, that’s right, everything must come out.
After it is empty wipe down the shelves, and walls and sweep or vacuum the floor. Now your pantry is ready to be restocked. Discard anything that is out-of date, stale or spoiled. Remove any items that should not have been in the pantry.
If you have items that are edible, but for one reason or another will never be used place them in a box for donating to a local food pantry.
All dry goods should be in an airtight canister of some sort. Use canning jars for storing beans, pasta and so forth. Label each jar with the contents, today’s date and expiration date.
Install sliding pantry drawers, new shelves, hooks, or wall mounted wire organizers.
Now carefully dust each item and organize them like items with like items on your table. Keep the items that you use most often at eye level and in an easy to access shelf. Make sure that you put the newest items in the back and the older ones in front so that nothing gets out-of-date.
Use less accessible shelves for storing extra refrigerator items that are not needed yet, such as mayo, salad dressing, condiments and so forth. If there is room on the back shelves this is an excellent place to store seldom used small electrics, or baking pans.
Use the floor to store the heaviest objects such as bottled water. If you have deep shelves use these for storing paper towels, napkins, disposable plates and other items of that nature.
Don’t forget to use all available wall space and even the inside of the door. There are many racks available for use on a door. A well-organized pantry makes meal planning, preparation and grocery shopping easier and more efficient. You will be able to find what you need, and know what needs replacing with a quick look.
Before you do your weekly or monthly shopping take out a few minutes to straighten up your pantry and remember to rotate your foodstuffs so the newest is always in the back. If you keep up a regular schedule of organizing your pantry, the major job you just completed won’t have to be done again for months.
Patricia M. Hines