Professional Organisers spend a lot of time sorting out pantries. It is one of the top spaces that people contact us about. Even when a client is working through their whole home we often start in the pantry.
Why does the pantry get more love than the garage, office, or dreaded junk room?
That’s simple. It’s a space we have to deal with every day, multiple times. If it’s not working for us, then frustration will build each time we open the doors. We can’t simply close the door to ignore it, like we could the junk room. When your pantry isn’t functional, this has a flow on effect to your choices for meal times (e.g. you’ll reach for what is most accessible, not necessarily what’s healthiest or most appropriate).
Here are some clues that your pantry may need some attention:
You suspect there is out-of-date food in there (hello spices from the 90’s)
There is no space to put away the shopping
You regularly dash to the shops for a missing ingredient (which somehow becomes two bags and $40 later)
There’s a funky smell, or you are finding little critters making a home in there
Everything seems sticky but you’re not entirely sure where it’s coming from
Your grocery budget is starting to get out of control
You have 10 packets of dried split peas.
Working with a Professional Organiser can take your pantry from peril to praiseworthy. For a quick pantry refresh, here are some simple hints:
Meal planning and shopping with a list. Not everyone likes to shop and cook this way, however your pantry problems might indicate that a bit more planning is needed. Give it a go – it just might be the missing step in making your pantry work better.
Shop at home first. If you do meal plan and create a shopping list, ensure you check what you already have and plan your meals around these items. By using what you already have, you can prevent food wastage as well as save in your weekly shop.
Consider food flow. Before putting your shopping away, reorganise your space. Separate older items so that they can be used first. If anything is close to its use-by-date, consider whether it can be frozen and used later. This helps reduce wastage.
MasterChef syndrome.We promise we don’t have anything against those who enjoy cooking and love to try different recipes, however ‘MasterChef’ type meals often require unique ingredients that are seldom used again. Pantries can become cluttered with these once-off items crowding out space for everyday items. Ask yourself, “am I really going to use this again?”
See what you have. After a pantry clear out make sure that the items left are visible and accessible. You don’t have to go far to find some inexpensive products that can help keep the pantry organised (we’re looking at you Kmart). Shelf inserts, turntables, and tiered shelves can go a long way toward pantry bliss.