Organize Your Kitchen Pantry

With an organized, well thought out pantry, you can save a lot of money and time. No longer will you be buying excess of what you need or duplicate the items that still have in stock.

And as long as you have your pantry organized, you can save time from looking for that bottle of ketchup you need for your sandwich or that box of microwave cheese dinner you know you just bought a week ago.

You haven’t got a pantry? You’ve got to be kidding! As long as you have that extra bottle of shampoo or that can of Vienna sausage kept somewhere underneath a sink then you can organize a pantry!

Pantry Organization: Getting Started

The principle that underlies the meaning of the pantry is not the same as that of a simple storage place. Although it is good if you keep a certain cabinet for all your pantry goods, this is still not a pantry. The pantry should be thought of as a reservoir of consumable goods kept in any region of the house.

All houses can have a pantry, whether they be small apartment type or a huge pastoral farmhouse. It is beside the point whether or not some homes feature a definite storage place called “pantry.”

The purpose of setting up and maintaining a pantry are two-fold. One is to prepare the family to some unforeseen events. Another is for domestic convenience. A properly organized pantry means that the family will never ran out of stock of widely used items such as toothpaste, shampoo and toilet paper.

What is most significant is for a pantry to be well equipped even during adversity. Whatever misfortune befalls on the family (e.g., retrenchment, sickness, natural disaster, etc.), the family is still well provided for.

As a start, your pantry should have spare items for every storable necessity for the family’s convenience. The beginner’s pantry is easy to set up. Just put in your pantry a back-up item for every bag, carton or box utilized in the house. A fine initial goal is to have a three-day provision of groceries and sanitary goods enough to sustain your family and one extra person.

A lot complicated pantries have further targets in mind. A home with a middle range pantry can provide for its residents two weeks to a month in case of emergency. This pantry contains alternates for fresh foods, such as dried fruits and vegetables, powdered milk, and canned products. This type of pantry gives vital security and convenience.

What Should I Keep in the Pantry?

Some home organizations recommend a list of pantry items luring you with the idea that if you buy them you will create a pantry. However, after 18 months, you’re rummaging through cans of apricot halves, wondering to yourself what got into you to have bought them in the first place.

Be reminded that each home’s pantry will differ according to the family’s own needs and way of life. The family’s budget and the place to store the goods in also influence the pantry’s contents. For instance, households with young children and who live on single-income will most probably have pantries stuffed with breakfast cereal, baby’s formula, disposable diapers and healthy snacks purchased on sale with coupons.

Couples without kids who live a vigorous social life and with individual diet preferences will lean toward health foods, diet snacks, hostess gifts, party crackers and tiny jars of appetizers, and dips.

Those who love to bake will have in their pantries gluten, specialty flours, and confectioner’s sugar. Those who do not know how to cook, on the other hand, will probably stock up microwavable goods and frozen delis.

In general, each household can reserve fundamentals for kitchen and bath such as toothpaste, tissue paper, baby diapers and feminine hygiene products, laundry and dishwasher detergent, disposable utensils and garbage bags.

No idea what to put in your very own pantry? Then the first step is to look through your grocery list. As long as you use it and can easily be stored then it can go to the pantry.

By having a general idea of your needs through your grocery list you’ll be able to fight Pantry Mania: the arbitrary and unsystematic purchasing of unwanted and unneeded canned goods and grocery items that dust in your pantry for decades and decades.

A broader aspect of the pantry principle does not end with the usual dry storage of canned products and staple goods. Add in your pantry freezer storage and a few refrigerated products. Buy fruits and vegetables when on sale and store them in the corners of the vegetable bin of the pantry. Freezer convenience entrees are also eligible pantry items.

The underlying and most important thing I would like to point out is to construct a pantry that will fit your family’s needs. Display your folks’ favorites on the pantry shelves may they be boxes of thin spaghetti no. 9, canned Vienna sausages, or Spam.

Putting Things in Order

In order for you to utilize your pantry to the utmost, you have to learn to organize. You can get the ultimate capacity from you pantry when you know what you got, how long it will last, and how to stock it up safely. Learning how to properly organize and how to do an inventory will keep your pantry in smooth circulation.

Beginning pantries are relatively easy and does not entail complicated organization. You can make them by purchasing twice the number of every piece as necessary for a week’s consumption, then keeping the spares.

When you have consumed the last teaspoon of mayonnaise, get the extra jar from the pantry then include the word “mayo” to the week’s shopping list to change the one you took from the pantry.

In general, the beginner’s pantry can be kept along side with in-use or opened stuff. For instance, on the canned goods shelf, you may arrange cans of chicken noodle soup front to back.

You could also pile on top of the pantry box the open box of detergent. Do not forget to circulate the items! Remember FIFO – first in, first out! Place the new goods to the back of the pile or line; make use of the items in front first.

A well-organized pantry can be a big help especially for beginners. Have a shelf or a cabinet to store pantry objects. Categorize them, piling boxes and cans. Bags of dried beans, rice, or pasta can be placed in flat-bottomed plastic baskets.

In every rule there is an exception. For “store by category,” the exception is complete pantry meals. On a division of the pantry shelf, collect all the makings for three to five pantry meals: an additional can of chopped clams, a box of oyster crackers, a family-size can of clam chowder kept together makes replacing these goods easy after use.

Before your shopping day, go and see your “pantry meals” area and check its contents. Vacant places will jog your memory to replace the missing box of oyster crackers as needed.

Extensive pantries need a more systematized approach. Since larger pantries call for more storage space, they are often not in the kitchen and situated somewhere else. In this case, it is better to have a written pantry inventory that will jog the memory of forgetful cooks of the whereabouts of pantry items.

Keeping an Inventory

The things you will need to take an inventory are: clipboard, steno pad, and a laptop computer. Generate a pantry inventory form. Jot down the pantry contents, quantity and the place where you kept the specific good for easy reference. Before shopping in the grocery, take a detour to the pantry. Do you need to replace any used items? Then, add them on the list of things-to-buy for the week.

Bigger pantries may be divided into multiple divisions in the home, so focus on the food storage procedure as you stock up. A fine storage location for baking staples, fruits, or root vegetables is a cool, dry basement room. Canned goods and dried beans, on the other hand, can be placed safely in areas with greater temperature difference.

Selection, utilization, maintenance and storing of foods in long-term storage pantries need a more detailed approach. Homes keeping a provision of food and water adequate for a year must consider more closely the storage guidelines, secure packing, and inclusion of pantry supplies into one’s everyday diet.

Even a beginner’s pantry needs some investment of some sort. In addition to the components for three to five pantry meals, a spare item for every product utilized in the house represents a major financial cost.

It is true that following the pantry principle does entail shedding off some of your precious money for the present but really does pay off in the end. If you sum it all up and think in broader perspective, it is a great way to save time and money. So, in order to manage your pantry well, it is a great idea to spread the load.

Here are some tips to guide you:

  1. Set aside a "tithe" for pantry-building – Every week, allot a regular proportion of grocery budget for the pantry. Just a couple of dollars per week can start the practice of accumulating and keeping pantry reserves.
  2. Take advantage during sale – Buy and stock up during supermarket sales. These stores periodically offer canned products at very low prices to attract shoppers at their doors. As long as it can be stocked and it’s on bargain price, purchase several.
  3. Purchase by the bulk – It really is worth it when you buy in bulk. Rather than spending some of the pantry “tithe” money for some five-pound bread flour for $1.39 at the supermarket, purchase the 25-pound sack of bread flour in the warehouse for $3.89. You’ll be saving and storing up at the same time, hitting two birds with one stone.

Tips for Storing in Small Areas

It is really a challenge to fit even a beginner’s pantries in little quarters or apartments. Find a pantry in the tiniest dwelling by trying these ideas:

  1. Look beyond – Search for a location not only in the kitchen to store pantry items. As long as temperature and moisture are not a matter of concern, any room in the house is a potential pantry storage candidate. Who says you can’t put cans in the coat closet?
  2. Camouflaging – Incorporate pantry items into the house. For instance, put together two large bulk-food storage containers and add a plywood circle on top and a round tablecloth. Your storage area for your 50-pound flour became a gorgeous end table.
  3. Search high and low – Use the space beneath or above furniture as a storage location. Pack shallow storage boxes under the bed with canned food, label them up, and then thrust them back under the bed. In the same way, cardboard records boxes can be used as storage material. Decorate them with gift wrapper or textile, pack them with beans and rice, bags of pasta, and so on, then put them away on top of some tall cabinet or bookshelf.

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