The Pantry: A How-To

So, let's talk about that pantry. When it's a hot mess, it's time to clear it all out. Trust me. It’s really the best way.

Step 1: Take everything (yes, everything) out of your pantry (or the cupboards that make up your pantry, like mine) and put it all out on the counter, grouping like with like: baking supplies, canned goods, breakfast cereals, whole grains/rices, pasta, sauces, and any other category you may have.

Step 2: Once you've gotten everything sorted into categories, then you can begin combining duplicates, finding containers for loose items (or making a note of what you might need to buy during your next store run), and tossing anything that's expired. Also consider donating items you know you'll never use.

Step 3: Wipe the shelves down and anything else that will make it’s way back into the pantry that might be sticky or covered in dust.

Step 4: Put it all back in while considering the amount of space you have, what items you use most often, etc. Consider stacking like items in single file rows, like at the grocery store. If you have kids, create a snack zone for them that's fair game after school and within their reach.

Step 5: Now, this step is completely optional, but I find that it really does help to keep things in order. Purchase a few clear acrylic bins that fit into your the dimensions of your space well, and then label them. In my pantry, we have a “crackers & cookies” bin, a “nuts & seeds” bin, and a “snacks” bin that holds all the kid-sized snacks that I like to remove from their bulky boxes. I use a label maker, but you can find free printables online and use a standard label paper to print them out. Paint markers are also another great option (and a how-to post for another day!).

That’s it. You’re done! If you need a few storage ideas you can check out my product recommendations here. Think clear bins, labels, and anything that will make finding what you need a little easier.

Lina Chapman