My kitchen pantry consists of 4 deep shelves in which I store all of our non-refrigerated food. Being a stay at home mom of 3 does not mean I have time to keep my pantry 100% in order. If you have a pantry of any kind that resembles my mess , then I have some easy and cheap ways to get and stay organized in the pantry!
Step 1: Purging and Grouping
First, you want to take everything out of your pantry . Throw out the stuff that is expired, bad, going bad or you know you just aren't going to use. You can always donate the unopened stuff to a food pantry! You want to start with a clean slate, or in this case, a clean shelf! While you are removing everything from the pantry , try to keep it grouped into sections. You might group all of your boxed items together such as cereal, instant potatoes, hamburger helpers, etc. or you might group your items into categories such as breakfast, which would consist of cereals, oatmeal, pancake and waffle mixes, syrup, etc. You are the only one that knows what system of grouping works best for you. I keep all of my big boxed items together such as cereal (we always have a lot of boxes) , instant mashed potatoes in the big box an big boxes of crackers. I keep all of my canned goods and bottles of things like sauces and syrups that I use occasionally and things I like to stock up on when I find good sales or use coupons with sales, like BBQ sauce, salad dressings, ketchup, etc. I also like to keep things that I don't want my younger kids being eye level with when they open the pantry door, so stuff like candy, chips, sweets, and popcorn all go on the very bottom shelf with my other stock up items like the box of 800 sweetener packets I get from GFS (Gordons), or napkins and dixie cups. Again, this is the system that works well for me and my family.
Step 2: Multi-use Containers
My idea of multi-use containers are containers I get at the dollar tree and they end up getting used and reused for all sorts of things in my house. The containers in my pantry (shown in the pics) were previously used in my closet to store things like flip flops, stockpiled soap bars and free samples I've gotten in the mail. I washed them up and now they are housing pantry items that like to roam around the shelves and get lost behind taller items. As you can see in the pictures, I use one with snap down sides for all my drink mixes like crystal light. I love putting all the packets in one bin that way when it is time to make a new pitcher of juice, I can pull it out and see all the options I have, or my kids can pick from 4 or 5 different kinds. I also use bins with flap tops to store things I like to easily grab such as sauce packets from the Chinese restaurant, extra tea bags that are specialty flavors and would otherwise get lost or looked over if in my tea bag canister, and seasoning/sauce packets like taco seasoning and gravy.
I like to use shoe box sized bins without lids to file my rice and noodle packets and for random bagged items like coconut flakes and powdered sugar. I use shoe bin boxes with lid for jello boxes and koolaid packets, which I don't use to make koolaid but I use those or jello powder on plain yogurt or applesauce to give it a fun flavor for a healthier alternative to dessert which is something we offer our kids daily IF they eat a good dinner first. I also use a shoe bin with a lid to house all of the kids not-so-healthy snack items like fruit snacks and Easter candy. If they do something in which I feel they should get rewarded with something a little extra special , I just pull that bin off the bottom shelf and you would think it was Christmas in our kitchen, those boys get so excited.
Step 3: Making It Your Own
Only you know what type of organization is going to make sense to your family. This is how I set up my pantry to work for my families daily needs. The top shelf is big box items because it is a bit taller than the other shelves. The middle two shelves are for lunch, dinner and basic needs items. The bottom shelf is snacks and overflow. As my family life changes and the kids get older, or more kids come along, my pantry will change as well. Ive just learned that I have to start keeping my home organized and in control to have more time to do other things in life!
I hope you found some ideas that will help you keep your pantry a bit more organized this year!