What do you do, former procrastinators, when you’re responsible for numerous items of every shape, size, color, and weight, that need to be organized, and available? That’s the challenge we have with groceries – and we’re excluding produce. This week we “listen to” our pantries or the cabinets where we store food. (Lynn, chime in – you’re ahead of us!)
First, clean out. Check every bottle and bag; remove the expired and tired. Something forgotten can be tonight’s dinner.
Now the re-org. If I had my druthers, all lower cabinets would be drawers. I do not like to stand on my head to retrieve a hand mixer from the dark recesses of a lower cabinet. But most of us don’t have all drawers.
An idea to make life simpler and approximate drawers, is to find boxes you can use inside your cabinets. Cut them low if you like. Categorize them and label the fronts. If they’re shallow enough to allow storage behind them, you can place a large item there. To reach the item behind, you only need to shift one or two boxes instead of dozens of individual things.
Label the shelf edge with the name of the item(s) stored in back. The boxes will contain canned goods or packages you categorize there. Careful not to overload. Label the boxes. Just pull forward to find your item.
If you don’t have a designated pantry, draft another closet into service if possible, maybe a linen or bedroom closet. Or put up free-standing shelves in the laundry room or garage. You could even maximize under-the-bed space. Use low cut boxes placed on heavy plastic bags for easy sliding. Label box fronts.
The key to my pantry maintenance is boxes. This works for me because it looks orderly, makes it easy to find and store items, reserves needed spaces, helps other people. By “chunking” together items that go in a categorized box, I don’t have to be careful placing items and don’t have to constantly reposition them.
Our boxes contained oranges from Costco. The bottoms had no markings. We eventually acquired enough to have several unmarked ones. They are 14”x9” and have a handle slot I position in front.
Determine your categories. These are mine:
Breakfast box – oatmeal, raisins, cinnamon, nuts, protein pack. When this is breakfast, I only make one trip for all I need.
Baking – brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, etc. Grab the box, save steps and time. Then, Vitamins, Back-up Vitamins, Pasta and Rice, Beans, Nuts, Oils and Vinegars, Snacks, Packets (that don’t go elsewhere).
Canned foods are on a small tiered plastic shelf. There are cannisters and two hanging wire shelves in use. Turn tables in the corners save a lot of time and space. Up high are lightweight things like oversized Tupperware that won’t hurt anybody if they fall.
A hanging shoe bag is a goal inside this door – great for packets, odd utensils, etc. Meanwhile this system works at our house.
What tips or tricks work for your food storage?