How to Declutter and Organize Your Pantry
How to Declutter and Organize Your Pantry
Show Notes

Pantries are fun in the way that they hold all my favorite things! Peanut Butter RX Bars, NutPods, and probably a few treats I shouldn’t snack on when my kids go to bed. One thing that continues to mess with my mind is why food companies can’t talk together so their labels match in my pantry. Is that too much to ask? Y’all, of course I am kidding, but things like this can be frustrating when you see perfect Pinterest refrigerators and pantries. Remember that you live in your home, and truly utilize the space you have to work with. It doesn’t have to have a specific rhyme or reason if that’s not what works for you. When it comes to our pantries, Taylor and I appreciate the simplicity of organizing this space by category.

Did you know that — in addition to being teammates — we’re also sisters-in-law?! Taylor is married to my brother and is also Nana-taught (Nana should have her own school of organizational methods). It’s so wonderful to live close to Taylor again for so many reasons, including Sunday dinners. Taylor’s pantry is thoroughly organized for simplicity and successful maintenance.

Taylor’s Top 3 Tips:

  • Make your inventory visible at a quick glance.
  • Group items by categories.
  • Keep your most-used items near the front.

    Team Simplified: From start to finish, how do you take a crazy pantry from cluttered to organized?

    Taylor: First, visualize where you’d like to group like things based on your family’s needs. For example, store kid snacks on a lower shelf so they can grab a granola bar in a hurry. If you store paper products in your pantry, think about moving these items to the top, out of the way of products you use every day. Once you visualize this plan, start clearing each section. Be sure to check expiration dates and take inventory of items you’re getting low on. Oh and have a grocery list nearby!

    Like I said, categorize, categorize, categorize! In my pantry, I repurposed a wire basket to house all of our baking goods  baking powder, cocoa powder, sprinkles, chocolate chips, etc. We have a different bin for salad toppings— croutons, craisins, sunflower seeds, ramen noodles (a must for Oriental Chicken Salad), and tortilla strips, and another basket for sleeves of crackers — graham crackers, ritz crackers, and saltine crackers. Why sleeves of crackers? Because I recycle the boxes they come in. Have you ever made a bowl of pimento cheese and reached for the cracker box, only to realize there are three lonely crackers sitting in the bottom? What a bummer! Storing sleeves of crackers in a basket helps you to easily see when you're running low on something and need to restock.

    As you're placing items back in your pantry, think about how often you use them. Store specialty olive oils behind your go-to garlic olive oil. Also, if you have any clear jars or containers with sealable lids, use them to store your oats, flour, sugar, etc. This will help you keep an eye on your inventory.

    Team Simplified: How do you KEEP your pantry organized?

    Taylor: One way I keep our pantry organized is by combining the old with the new. If I buy a new jug of white vinegar (because the old one is drops away from being empty), I combine the two together to free up space in the pantry. I do the same with spices. You’ll naturally make efforts to keep the pantry tidy, since you’re the one putting in all the work. But what about the other people in your house? The trick is getting them on board too. Because my pantry is organized by categories / sections with bins and such, it’s very easy for my husband to put things where they belong. He appreciates how accessible everything is in the midst of a pot of water boiling and the stove timer dinging.

    I should also mention that how you put away groceries can have a major effect on keeping your pantry organized. Take cans, for instance. Don’t shove all the canned items in a corner. Stack the beans together, group the diced tomatoes, and make a row of soups. If you don't take this extra step, you’ll spend time later looking for them. One more quick tip: Use binder clips to seal allthethings like chips, chocolate chips, bags inside of boxes, and sleeves of crackers. You don't have to buy all new bag clips. Be resourceful!

    Team Simplified: How does your organized pantry help with meal planning?

    Taylor: An organized pantry should cut your meal planning time in half. Remember that basket of salad toppings? I can quickly look in one place, rather than all over the pantry, to see if I have what I need. The clear jars and containers also help with meal planning. For one, I don’t have to open a box of granola to see if I’m getting low. Second, the jar of granola is visible, so it gives me the idea to make granola bowls for breakfast the following week. The grouped cans of beans spark the idea to cook cowboy soup, and so on.

    Prepare yourself. When you first start to declutter your pantry, it will take time. But once you’re finished, I promise the meal planning process will be easy peasy.

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