Thursday, February 25, 2010

Organizing the Kitchen Part II

On the heels of my successful freezer organizing project, I was motivated to continue on and tackle my pantry. Realizing effort put in to organizing the pantry would later save time, money and stress. I gathered my tools and went to work. Here is the process I used, I hope it helps you.
Tools required to do this include: labels, permanent markers, baskets, and air tight storage containers (preferably square or rectangular—saves space).
  1. Empty all shelves, wiping them down with a bleach solution. To make a 1:10 solution, you need 1 part bleach for every 9 parts water. A good amount to start with is:
    ¼ cup bleach 2 ¼ cup water
  2. Sort out the items into different categories such as: breakfast items, snacks, and baking goods.
  3. Check use by dates and expiration dates. Discard expired items. This also a good time to take stock and plan meals to use up some overstocked items.
  4. Create sub-groups, it save time during meal time. Canned fruits, canned soups, ethnic ingredients and vegetables can be an example of the various sub-groups.
  5. Labeled baskets are a handy storage system for maintaining a clutter-free pantry for food and seasoning packets.
  6. Store dry goods such as flour, pasta, teabags, sugar, and cereal in labeled air tight containers.
  7. Label shelves into categories (condiments, ethnic, beverages etc.). Frequently used items should be kept in front. Place items you want children to get for themselves within arm's reach. Reserve high and back shelves for items used less often.
  8. Lastly, implement FIFO (first in/first out) system. When stocking shelves keep oldest in the front to be used first.
I found such satisfaction to see my pantry neat, tidy and clutter-free. Using the above system took about two hours for me to complete. Best of all, my organized pantry has saved time with planning meals, tracking food choices for shopping and has minimized my spending. Got ideas, please share what works for you!

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