Do you enjoy cooking during the holidays, or does stepping foot in your pantry increase your stress level to an unhealthy degree? Pantry organization isn’t the same as organizing the rest of your kitchen because you constantly draw from and restock the pantry. If you’re not careful, this could lead to a state of constant disarray, not to mention food waste as expiration dates come and go.
Now’s the time to organize your pantry once and for all. What a perfect resolution to start the New Year off right!
To create a clean slate, empty the pantry completely. Check expiration dates as you pull food off the shelves, and dump expired items straight into the trash. Also, set aside non-expired goods you don’t think your family will ever eat and donate them to your local food bank. This is a great time of year to give back, and non-perishable food makes an excellent donation.
Now that the pantry is bare, it’s easy to notice all the grimy, sticky spots. Instead of scouring the shelves with chemicals, take a natural cleaning approach by using some of the items you just unloaded from the pantry to freshen up the shelves:
- Soften gummy, grimy spots with a sprinkle of baking soda topped with a paper towel soaked in hot water. Let the baking soda work for a few minutes, and then scrape up the loosened sticky stuff with a spatula.
- Remove mildew from slide-out wicker baskets by scrubbing them with a sponge dipped in two parts warm water and one part vinegar.
- Sanitize wood shelves with a cut lemon dipped in salt. Wipe clean with a slightly damp cloth.
Keep Your Food Fresh
It’s likely you store many food items for days or weeks after you open them, including bread, chips, and cereal. Try a sample of open items on your pantry shelves and throw away anything that tastes stale.
To reduce food waste in the future, invest in clear, airtight storage containers you can transfer open food items into. Label each container with a sticky note or another type of removable tag so you can easily identify what’s what. Matching containers stacked neatly side-by-side are much easier to keep organized than half-empty bags of chips and cereal boxes.
Restock the Pantry
Isn’t it amazing how big your pantry looks right now, all empty and clean? Before you start loading food and small appliances back onto the shelves, create an organization system:
- Group together food accessed daily, such as cereal and bread, into one category. Place these items in a prominent, easy-to-reach location.
- Gather other food items by type and place them in less accessible spots.
- Set aside a section of your pantry for kitchen tools. Place less frequently used items in the back or up high with the tools you use most often in the front at eye level.
Consider Updating Your Pantry
If the space lacks functionality, these pantry organization and cleaning tips might not be enough. It could be time to put in custom shelving, such as roll-out baskets for potatoes, vertical slots for cookie sheets, and drawers for extra hand towels.
While you’re looking at your pantry with a critical eye, don’t forget the rest of your kitchen. If your oven has been acting up lately, or you think the fridge is using more energy than it should, let Mr. Appliance® take a look. We can provide the appliance repair services you need to go along with your pantry organization efforts in the New Year. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!