Cleaning and organizing your pantry
Storage space is a crucial aspect of every home as it eliminates clutter and helps to keep your home neat and organized. But if you don’t use your storage spaces wisely, it can do the exact opposite – make your home feel messy and cluttered.
Your kitchen pantry is one of those storage spaces which can be a nightmare to navigate if you do not organize it properly. It may be difficult to find the items you need when you need it, you may be wasting much-needed space and you may actually be wasting money. Yes, organizing your pantry can help you cut back on wasted food and save money in the long run. Let’s take a look at some tips to help you organize your pantry and maximize your food storage space.
The first thing you should do when you’ve decided to re-organize your pantry is to perform a thorough cleaning. Clear the shelves and remove everything so you can properly clean the space. This will also allow you to get a full look at the space you are working with as well as all the items you need to repack when you are finished cleaning.
Because your pantry is a space where you store food items, you do not want to use any harsh chemical cleaners here. Instead, use an all-natural solution of baking soda and warm water to wipe down the shelves. This solution will also act as a deodorizer, absorbing and neutralizing any unpleasant or musty odours. If you have strong odours in your pantry that you want to get rid of, you can clean using vinegar to wipe down the walls and shelves. Vinegar is another natural deodorizer that can get rid of cooking smells. You can leave a small bowl of vinegar in the pantry overnight to eliminate pungent odours.
You may also use simple soap and water to wipe down your shelves and remove any sticky residue from food items. Be sure to wipe down with a dry cloth or paper towel afterwards. Before repacking your pantry, you may want to cover each shelf with shelf-liners which would not only protect your shelves from stains and spills but will also make future cleaning much easier as all you will have to do is remove the liner and replace it.
Once your pantry is completely clean and empty and the contents are laid out before you, you can begin to organize. Firstly, check the dates on your products and throw away any expired items. Do not repack items you are not likely to use. Consider giving them away instead. This will ensure that you do not have unnecessary items in your pantry that would eventually go to waste, while also clearing space for more of the items you do use.
Next, you should group similar items together. Spices will go into one group, baking items in another and so on. Laying your items out this way will make finding items in your pantry much easier. Once you have the items in their groups, it’s time to begin repacking your pantry.
You may be tempted to just throw everything back on the shelves but consider investing in bins, baskets or jars that you can pack according to the category of your items. Whatever containers you use, make sure they are clear and transparent so you can easily see what’s inside. For example, you can dedicate a section of your pantry for peas and place lentils, split peas, red beans etc., in separate jars before packing neatly. Emptying peas into jars will reduce the chance of these items spilling into your pantry and causing a mess while also making your space more appealing to the eye. It looks much better than having packs of peas stacked up in a corner of your cupboard. The same goes for other goods like rice, cereal, flour, oatmeal etc. Remember to label all your containers so you don’t end up confused. Flour and powdered milk look very similar, you do not want to end up using one when you meant to use the other so label your containers clearly. You can do this using a marker or by simply writing with a pen on scotch tape.
There will be items that do not need their own individual containers. You can have a basket or other container dedicated to these items. For instance, small packets of seasoning, and similar items can be placed together neatly in a basket.
For spices, it is useful to have a turntable in your pantry. This way you do not need to fumble through bottles of miscellaneous spices to find the one you’re looking for. You can simply turn the turntable until you spot the one you need. It is a convenient and less cluttered way to store all those little bottles of spices that would otherwise take up valuable space on your shelves.
For canned goods, you may be tempted to line them up along your shelves and stack them on top of each other, but this takes up a lot of space and prevents you from seeing the cans at the back. It also makes removing cans at the bottom of the stack tricky. There are, however, a variety of canned food racks that you can purchase affordably that eliminates these problems. For instance, a tiered shelf will allow you to stack your cans at different levels so all cans are always visible when you need to select one. You can also create a canned food organizer that slides in and out of any narrow space in your kitchen such as the space between your refrigerator and the wall. If you have a large, walk-in pantry, consider a shelving-unit dedicated to canned goods only.
If you have a small pantry, use the space in the best way possible. One of the ways you can do this is by using shelf-risers, or racks that you can place over your goods to create an additional shelf and eliminate unused space. You can also add hooks to the inside of your pantry doors which can be used to hang kitchen towels or mittens or even mugs, spoons and other utensils. Hanging them instead of packing them on shelves frees up even more space for you to pack items in your pantry.
Using these tips will ensure that you are able to store more items in your space, reduce clutter and be able to find what you need much easier. If you are looking to upgrade or install a pantry, contact us here at TriniHelper to get your project started.