Tips to get your kitchen pantry in order
As we spend more time than ever at home, it's an ideal time to tackle those cluttered spaces and shelves that are normally ignored.
Research commissioned by The Kitchen Collective revealed that more than half of Australians believe the kitchen is the busiest room of their house, and 41 per cent feel it's the room most in need of a clean, especially the pantry.
Chelsea Smith of The Organising Platform said it's important to get your cabinets in order. And the first step is to make a mess.
"Take everything out," she said.
"You may find you have far more than you ever imagined."
Be on the lookout for items that have expired or that you no longer use. This includes expired canned food and spices that are stuck to the bottle.
"This will ensure you give yourself plenty of time to use these items and leaves you with less waste," Ms Smith said.
Look for products that should be grouped together like baking or snacks. Keep items that are normally used together, like spaghetti and pasta sauce so you rarely have to go searching for things.
When putting products back into the pantry, try to keep the items you use for everyday cooking the most accessible, by positioning them at eye level.
Consider placing kids' snacks near the bottom of the pantry so they can help themselves.
If your pantry is overstuffed, look for things that could be moved elsewhere, like coffee, tea and pots and pans.
By adjusting the space between shelves, you can maximise the space that you have.
Howards Storage World organising expert Cathy Player suggests adding wire shelf helpers to create an additional level on top of an existing shelf.
"Caddies are ideal for packets, sauces, pasta, oils and bulk goods," Ms Player said.
Clear plastic tubs or baskets can be used as freestanding drawers to match the depth of pantry shelves.
If you have large boxes of dried goods that are mostly empty, transfer the contents to a few containers to free up pantry space.
Clear, airtight containers identified with chalkboard or dry-erase labels can easily be updated when contents change.
"Good quality stackable food containers can save space and keep your food fresh," Ms Player said.
"You can also utilise the back of the pantry door by installing a utility rack."
Once everything is in place, labelling is the final step.
Lyndall Tolhurst took the plunge during lockdown, cleaning her pantry and using matching storage containers.
"Labelled containers make it so much easier to find everything," she said.
"An organised pantry is essential when running a busy household with three young boys.
"I can prepare meals quickly because I always know what ingredients I have."
CHELSEA'S TOP TIPS FOR PANTRY ORGANISATION SUCCESS
1. Start by sorting: Put your belongings into categories of what you need, use and
love. Once you have decluttered your space, then you can put your time, effort and
energy into planning how to best organise the area ensuring that functionality comes
2. Only buy what you need: If you always hit the shops with a detailed list of what you
need for the week ahead, then you'll never end up with an out of control pantry that
drives you crazy. Take it a step further and order your groceries online. You will save
a small fortune over the course of a year.
3. Use vertical storing: Items like chopping boards, baking trays and pot lids are great
for this. Not only does it make it easier to access these tricky pieces, you'll also find it
much more effective at keeping your drawers or cupboards tidy while avoiding an
avalanche when you're pulling out a specific item.
4. Never underestimate a simple label: Dedicating a home in your pantry for the
groups of items you need to store (such as baking, condiments, breakfast etc) will
make it easier for the whole family to find what they're looking for. It will also
encourage them to return it to the right spot - all members of the household play a
part in keeping the pantry tidy and organised.
5. Daily maintenance: Once you've organised your pantry space in a way that works
for you and your family, it should take minimal effort to return each item to its
dedicated home. However, life can get busy so try meal planning weekly - this
ensures you're consuming the food items you already own, cuts down on waste and
helps you maintain a well-balanced diet.
Originally published as Tips to get your kitchen pantry in order