I hope that you have enjoyed the tips on what to keep and what to toss in your pantry. Continuing the series, in this post of the Nutritionista's guide to building a natural foods pantry I will focus on one of my most favorite things - organization.
Top 5 Ways to Transform Your Pantry:
1. Sort it all out – designate categories, assign them areas, and reorganize things accordingly. If like items are in the same vicinity you will have a better grasp of what you truly have on hand. Be sure to keep the most frequently used items most easily accessible and consider proximity to light and heat in your layout.
2. Keep it contained – some things may stay fresher and be easier to identify in see-through containers or sealed inside plastic bags. Be sure to make note of the contents, the expiration date, and the brand for future reference (trust me you won’t remember later). Between you and I, any excuse to use my label maker puts a smile on my face. :)
3. Quarterly inventory and cleaning – with each season clean out the shelves, reorganize items as needed (it usually starts out neat but then….), dispose of what needs to go and make a list of what you need to buy. This is the best way to remind yourself what you have and to avoid buying something only to later discover you had two of them at home and that they were just hidden all the way in the back behind the tall things (this is how I ended up with 8 cans of crushed tomatoes, ha!).
4. Use space effectively – doing this may involve a visit to the store for bins, shelving dividers, wire racks, and other organizational tools that will help you to maximize the space and avoid those aforementioned items long forgotten and hidden in the back of the pantry.
5. Get a second opinion – if it seems like a daunting task then team up with a friend or family member for help. Power in numbers to get the job done and an independent third party can help you make those tough decisions like can you really let go the of the secret stash of marshmallows? Hint - yes, you can!
Next time I will finish up this series with some shopping tips. Enjoy and do let me know your thoughts!