Cleaning up your pantry storage area will make day to day living easier and much less frustrating. It can easily be done by following these four steps in a single day or weekend:
Do you have to dig behind stacks and piles of boxed and canned goods to find what you need in your pantry? Are you routinely buying things you already have, simply because you couldn't see them? If so, then you are wasting time and money while adding stress and frustration to your life.
If you are ready to clean up the clutter and take the chaos out of your pantry storage, grab a couple large cardboard boxes and clear your calendar for a weekend. If you can't spare that much time, set aside at least one solid day that you can devote to this project.
Start by pulling everything out of your pantry storage area, sorting it all into piles. You want to get more specific than just separating canned goods from boxed goods. Make a pile for canned peaches, canned peas, canned beans, etc.
Place all expired items in a box that can be discarded later on and items that you know your family will not be using for whatever reason in another box which can be delivered to a soup kitchen.
Now that your pantry storage is completely empty, it's a great time to give every shelf a nice cleaning. You may want to apply new contact paper if needed.
While you are at it, pay attention to how easy or difficult it is to reach each area and note any possibilities for adding in additional storage items or pantry organizers.
Adding pantry organizers is essential because they will keep your pantry storage area from overflowing and becoming a disorderly mess again. As a bonus, you may only have to go through this process once if you consider using the following pantry organizers to make your pantry more functional and user friendly.
These are set up like the can dispensers made for your refrigerator. Many cans can be stacked together in a small space and when one is removed the next can rolls down to the front. These are great and take care of the FIFO (first in first out) rule of rotating your pantry inventory keeping everything fresh and up to date.
Plastic Bag Organizers
These are very simple, cheap plastic containers that hang on the wall and allow you to smash tons of plastic store bags into a very tight space. Every home should have one!
Kitchen Wrap Organizers
This is a very simple rack that will hold all of your foils and wraps in one tight space for easy access and less clutter.
Pantry Door Organizers
If you have limited shelf room inside the pantry, consider organizers that hang over the back of the door. Just remember you will need to store lighter weight items here so that the door is not difficult to open and close.
Roll Away Shelves/Rack
If you have space to put in a small basket or shelf system, consider the mesh baskets on wheels that are easy to roll in and out.
These will be used for hanging your broom and mop out of the way.
Plastic Air Tight Containers
Empty anything that comes packaged in bags or other odd shapes that are difficult to stack into plastic containers with labels.
Spice racks come in a variety of options from stacking to hanging and are an absolute must to keep your spices organized, contained, and fresh.
Baskets or Containers
Small baskets or containers are a necessity to contain all those little onion and vegetable soup packets along with gravy mix packets.
Use a variety of these pantry organizers plus anything else you find in local stores to fit more items into your pantry storage without losing organization.
Finally, start restocking the food items you're going to keep into the pantry storage area. Be sure to toss or donate the food items that you are not going to keep right away. To maintain your new organizational system, be sure to watch carefully for items that may start running low and replenish them immediately. Keeping a handy 'need' list along with either a pen or pencil posted in your pantry is a great way to jot a quick note for next week's grocery shopping trip.
Also keep an eye out for sections of the pantry that start to get a little unruly and come up with new pantry organizers to get it back under control.