Last week in part I of the Kitchen Organisation 101 Series we detailed ways to organise your most frequented spaces, you identified what your most essential items where, and after reading this article you will know how and where to store those items following the tried and true PICK ME method. The key to organising kitchen cabinets is to make everything you use regularly as accessible as possible. We covered this in the part I in the kitchen organisation 101 right, did you remember? The cabinets in your kitchen need to work together to make your kitchen perform at its very best.
Out of all the spaces in your home, the kitchen needs the most help in being organised, de-cluttered with planned storage and a maintenance scheme. Let’s take a moment to think about how your pantry is packed:
Which of these sounds more like your pantry?
a) Brimming with out of date, unused cans
b) Has a sense of order yet I can never figure out what to cook for dinner
c) Cluttered with no order what-so-ever
d) Great, I love cooking and everything is in it’s rightful place.
a) Brimming with out of date, unused cans. Keeping track of expiry dates will help you stay on track to an organised pantry. Keeping a roll of yellow and red stickers handy (I stick mine to the inside of the pantry door with Blu-Tac) and slap a yellow sticker on infrequently used cans and a red sticker on cans and food stuffs that get used regularly. Now the yellow sticker will remind you to check the date before you munch and the red stickers will remind you to go shopping for that item/s once it’s eaten.
TIP: Buy your grains fresh! You don’t want to buy grains and beans that have been sitting in a bulk bin at the super market for 3 months before they sit in your pantry do you? Buy enough to fill a large Mason jar, no more and buy more frequently. You may save a few dollars buy buying in bulk but you are also buying rental space for some small, furry visitors.
b) Has a sense of order yet you can never figure out what to cook for dinner. Re-order your shelves, remembering to keep the items you use most regularly in your prime pantry real estate, which is the space between your shoulders and knees. It’s easier to reach and easier to put back after use. I recommend items you buy in bulk be stored in the bottom of the pantry (because these items are typically heavy), snacks be up top so you have to reach for them, and spices at eye-level. Read on.
c) Cluttered, with no real order. Every shelf in your pantry is valuable space, de-clutter as every space in your kitchen should be used. Pull everything out and start fresh. Imagine your pantry is a mini supermarket, try to have everything displayed in a place where it can be seen easily with similar foods grouped together. Buy baskets and lazy-susans to really make use of your space. Read on.
d) Great, I love cooking and everything is in it’s rightful place. Well done, you’ve implemented our advice! Get the bin handy it’s time to isolate and throw away anything expired, mouldy, weevil infested, dusty, leaky, sticky items. Why are these items taking up real estate in your pantry? Don’t stress it happens to the best of us.
A good rule of thumb for spices is toss ’em after a year. If they have crystallised and gone hard in the jar then it’s a sure sign you have too much moisture in your kitchen as spice containers are vaccum sealed. Now to put what we are keeping back in the right order let’s follow the…
The food pantry system
- Top Shelf – Non-Essential Items. i.e. napkins, trays.
- Second Shelf – Dry Ingredients. i.e. pastas, rice, cous cous, store in square tightly sealed conatiners, why square? Because your cupboard is.
- Third Shelf – Snacks. This shelf is good to keep the naughty (yummy) food on as it’s not in direct eye line. Out of sight, out of mind.
- Fourth Shelf – Canned Goods / Easy Meals. (red sticker city!)
- Fifth Shelf – Oils. i.e. vinegar’s, sauces and so forth.
- Bottom Shelf: Appliances / Pet Foods / Bulk Goods.
Contain by clearly labelling each shelf with it’s purpose in your family’s food pantry. An easy to use pantry in which any member can access the pantry has no problems! Once the above are implemented you can look forward to cooking from your awesomely organised pantry, invite your friends over and have a Master Chef dinner night! Next week it’s all about food planners and how to use that food planner to save you money at the checkout! Organising your food pantry and implanting a food planner into your family’s routine will do the following: it will save you money, it will save you time, and it will teach you about your shopping, eating and cooking habits.