Last weekend I hopped on my Instagram stories and shared with you my current pantry situation. After almost two years of using our cabinet converted pantry, I finally felt like I had a good idea of how we used it on a day to day basis.
My dream of having a spacious pantry one day isn’t lost, but having the small space we have now has taught me a lot about only buying what we need.
Each week, I meal plan using a template I created. It’s a meal plan that doubles as a grocery list, and forces me to take inventory as I go. It’s not only helped us reduce food waste, but has also helped us cut our grocery bill down by quite a lot!
So I cleaned out my pantry, keeping in mind what we are consistently buying each week. Those items got their own acrylic storage container so that when I’m meal planning, I can quickly see what needs to be reordered and what will make it another week.
Step One: Create your piles
For me, this is the step I look forward to most. I’m not sure why, but no matter how big of a mess I’ve made in the kitchen, the empty shelves bring me peace. I take everything out and wipe down the shelves. Then go through your items, throwing out any expired items, and creating a donate pile for any food items you no longer need.
I then look over everything and separate them into groups: breakfast, snacks, dinner, baking, and back-stock.
Step Two: Gather Your Supplies
I ’ve watched The Home Edit enough to know that it looks like they bring every container they own with them, but then also have people to run out and grab more when needed. When I’m knee deep in a project like this, leaving isn’t an option. I’m distracted too easily. I found it best to sort through your already separated piles and take inventory of what you need. This will help keep you from over buying or needing to run out later for more supplies. For example, we’re currently only keeping two pantry snacks for Lenna: Goldfish and Animal Crackers. So those items each needed a container. No need for a third.
Step Three: Back-stock
Back-stock items are ‘extras’. For me, I keep my baking items (flour, sugar, brown sugar, and powdered sugar) in mason jars. So whatever doesn’t fit in those jars, goes into my back-stock basket. Then when I’m running low, I check my back-stock before adding it to my shopping list. For me, back-stock may also be those one-off items. Like oyster crackers for chili. We don’t have chili enough for them to deserve their own container. However, it is important you check your back stock pile each week so you know what needs to be used before going to waste.
Step Four: Organize
This one may be personal preference, but I like all like-items together. I like breakfast foods together, beverages together, snacks together, and dinner items together. I don’t have lunch items in the pantry because we generally eat leftovers from the night before. It again, limits food waste and helps to make mornings so much more seamless!
I had to rework my pantry items a few times to get it exactly how I needed it to be, but I think we got there eventually.
Step Five: Label it
Okay, this one is 1000% personal preference. No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. You have acrylic containers. You really think labels are necessary? No, probably not. But I love them. I love the personalization it adds, and it makes me smile each time I open the pantry. That’s all I need to make this worth it in my book.
-KITCHEN ORGANIZATION PRODUCTS + RESOURCES-