Kathryn Lee - 8 Jul, 2019

How to reorganise your pantry without tearing apart your kitchen

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There’s nothing more satisfying than a perfectly curated pantry when you’re looking to whip up a culinary storm.

Clean and clear

An organised pantry starts with an empty pantry. That’s right, it’s time to grab the garbage bags, put on the rubber gloves and tackle the abyss that is better known as the ‘neglected food graveyard’.

From old cans to out-of-date pasta, there’s probably a tonne of expired products clogging up the storage space in your pantry. Now’s the time to get rid of it all.

This Marie Kondo-esque method doesn’t just apply to food – it’s also worth engaging in a strategic clear-out of your cooking appliances and utensils. If your drawers are full of pots or pans you never use – get rid of them to ensure you have enough space to find the items you actually cook with each week.

Once you’ve emptied the cupboards and parted ways with the items you no longer need, it’s time to clean the shelves in case anything has spilled, oozed or leaked since the last time you gave the area a good scrub. This is also a great opportunity to remove the risk of any moths or bugs that may have set up shop in your kitchen in the meantime. After cleaning and throwing away the food you can no longer eat or store, it’s best to start coupling food items of the same type – i.e. cans with cans, condiments with condiments. This is the first step toward getting organised. 

Store like a pro

With your items batched into groups, it’s time to find them new homes within your pantry walls. The next time you’re at the shops, make sure you grab some small-medium plastic storage boxes and containers to help ensure all your items are kept in the one area. This will make it much easier to find everything rather than having it all just thrown into the cupboard until there’s no room for anything else.

Square storage solutions allow you to fit more on your shelves, whereas tiered organisers (especially helpful with canned goods), will allow you to get a good view of everything you’ve got in the cupboard. Just make sure you’re placing the food closest to its expiry date at the very front.

For cereals, a clear plastic container will allow you to see how much you have left and will ensure a longer shelf life of the actual food – the same applies to flours, grains, rice, nuts, cookies and more. Simply label each box so you know what’s what.

Even a cutlery tray can be repurposed into a handy storage solution for smaller miscellaneous items like packets of soy sauce, chocolates and other tasty treats. For bigger items like bread or packets of potato chips, try bigger boxes at the bottom of the pantry. This helps separate food types into the right groups and make it easy to grab a snack on the go. Having a uniform system will also make your pantry look much more organised.

Get hooked up

Fact: Even the smallest pantry will have space that can be utilised better, which is why it pays to be creative with your storage ideas. By placing a range of hooks on the inner side of your pantry doors, you can create more room to hang up items that would otherwise be taking up precious space in your drawers. This includes everything from aprons to oven mitts. If you want to go the extra mile, why not consider using a new shower or shoe organiser to get the job done? Both will allow you to store a range of items like spices, sauces, spreads and sprays.

Invite Lazy Susan ’round

Lazy Susans aren’t just for Sundays at Yum Cha – in fact, they’re way more helpful in the pantry when you can use them to ensure none of your oils, sauces or sprays ever get left behind again. This is the perfect solution for all those items that regularly get pushed to the back of the pantry. What’s more, this kitchen hack provides a 360-degree view of the products you have in the cupboard. Best of all, you can grab one from your local IKEA or Target. Too easy.

Words by Alana Wulff

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