My home is a cooking centered home. A meal is cooked every single day for either myself or my kids. We are Jamaican so that is a large part of why cooking is such a big deal. With as often as I am in my kitchen I have found that how to declutter and organize your pantry becomes essential.

How to Declutter and Organize your Pantry

Decluttering Spices

The key is to look for expiration dates and start discarding those. Spices that have gone bad because of air or critters. For spices that you haven’t used but has been on your pantry, go searching for recipes to use them and see if you can start using them. If not, donate them or give them to a friend.

For packed spices that are open only to use a little bit. Through those away the poin of the packets are for one time use, however I am very guilty of that.

Decluttering Tin Food

We have a couple of months out of the year that we stock up on tin food in the Caribbean. That period is our hurricane season from June to November each year. When that season is over I look for expired tin food and donate them to organizations that request them

Organizing Pantry

Platter

Start with the kitchen counter. For easy access have a tray, platter or slab with your everyday kitchen necessities. This will be stuff you reach for daily. For my household that would consist of salt, sugar, powdered milk, oats, vanilla and cinnamon, all I need to make oatmeal porridge for the girls.

Essential Shelves

On that shelf, usually closest to the stove or prep counter add your essential items, seasoning for meat, pepper and a few other items. Putting these on a shelf will be a lot more organized than to have all on the counter or on the slab next to the stove.  If your pantry is already near the cooking zone, dedicate an eye-level shelf to your essentials. The shelves from waist to shoulder height are best reserved for more frequently used items, so use the floor or a high shelf to store your extra goods. To make things even easier you can use clear bins, risers for spices or a lazy suzan.

  • Lazy Susan. A small turntable lets you circulate bottles of oil with ease.
  • Risers for spices. See what’s in the back row without having to rummage.
  • Clear bins. Corral little packets of this and that.

Meal Building Blocks

This is where you will employ clear, airtight containers for you bulk items. Your rice, pasta, flour, sugar and so on. If you dont buy in bulk this will still help with how your pantry is laid out and you will easily see what is in your containers. Labels are also a great way to identify each product which works even better if you change what is in your containers or use containers that are not transparent.

Risers for cans and jar will allow for all your tins and jars to be visible. If you have deep pantry cupboards this will be ideal for you.

Baskets

Baskets are the best place to store potatoes and onions that don’t need to be refrigerated. If you have a pantry that’s cool and dark you can store them there. I store mine under the sink in my kitchen, the running water through the pipes keep the are cool and it sure is dark. Baskets are good for all items that do not need refrigerating. For apples keep them in a different basket and in a separate section as they produce ethylene gas, which can speed spoiling of nearby veggies.

Project Ingredients

Project items are those seasonal items you use. Bulk cinnamon, cake mixes for birthday and Christmas cakes and cookies, homemade pasta and decorating items. Instead of having those items storing up space in your pantry store them all in a container or basket in harder to reach areas, back of shelves, on top of the pantry and so on. Project cooking bins can certainly live on high shelves. Just be sure to label them clearly, and keep a stepladder nearby, if needed, to reach them.

Bulk Supply

Bulky but light items, like paper towels, can go on a high shelf, while big and heavy stuff, like bags of dog food, should go on the floor. One or two large bins or crates can keep everything contained.

Stocking up on certain supplies or ingredients, you’ll want to find a convenient yet out-of-the-way spot in which to keep them. 

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