I think the pantry is one of the most essential places to keep organized on an ongoing basis. If you don’t, things have a way of getting lost, which means that in the end you can often end up throwing food away. That is not very frugal at all.
The good news is that I don’t think keeping an organized pantry really needs to take that much time. In fact, I find that a little upkeep every couple of days really keeps things nice and neat.
My pantry has many of the same things in it at all time since I have a list of pantry staples that I keep on hand all the time. If this is not a post you have read, I highly recommend it. Having these basic pantry staples on hand is one of the ways that I am able to keep my grocery budget at just $250 a month for all nine of us these days.
Because some of what is in my pantry is constant, this makes organizing these things a breeze.
When it comes to everything else, these are the things I find helpful in maintaining an organized pantry because after all, doing so is a money saver.
Now that you know a little bit of why an organized pantry saves you money, let’s talk about how to do it.
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Do a weekly inventory
This is easy for me since this quick inventory is where I start in creating my meal plan, however, taking a weekly inventory of your pantry is essential. There is nothing that makes for a disorganized pantry more than having food that is unaccounted for.
Eat a meal using only what you have in your pantry once a week
You can read more about how I do this in My Pantry Challenge, but not only does eating only from your pantry once a week mean that you are doing a quick pantry inventory for a second time each week, but it is also how having an organized pantry can save you money.
Have the right tools for the job
Shelving in a pantry is nice, but it is often inadequate when it comes to organizing certain items, especially smaller items. These are among my favorite tools for organizing either in my pantry or in my food overflow storage area. Again, if you can’t see what you have you may very well buy it again. This is yet another way that an organized pantry can save you money.
Keep things that are intriguing to your kids out of reach
In my house, if kids’s snacks and treats are left right out in the open where they can get them, they are known for getting into them whether it is to make a mess with them, to carry them around asking for a snack, or to dig into the box in the pantry while no one is looking.
Don’t forget about utilizing your space on the backside of the door
If you have a standard door on your pantry, using a hanging organizer that is made for shoes is a great way to free up some pantry space. And, it is an awesome way of organizing smaller things like packets and mixes, oatmeal packets, smaller snacks, and even extra spices.
Organize your pantry in a way that makes sense
To me, this is keeping all the baking supplies together, all the breakfast options together, all the salty snack together, and so on. Grouping like things together makes them easier to find, easier to use, and less likely to get lost.
Keep your pantry inventory in writing
For the most part, many of the items in your pantry will be there on a regular basis. Making a quick spreadsheet of things in your pantry makes for an easy way to create a meal plan and a grocery list, but it also allows for others to help in creating either of these things. This is also a way to facilitate money saving possibilities.
Labeling is my friend in so many ways including in my pantry. I have a smaller storage bin for extra k-cups. That bin is labeled. Many others are too, this is just an example of one of the things that I label. Labeling shelves is also a way to keep things organized, especially if others are putting things away. If you want your family members to help put things away, make it painfully easy for them. Here is a great label maker.
Make sure that things that don’t belong in the pantry aren’t in the pantry
I think it’s fine to use your pantry as an overflow area for those smaller appliances that you don’t want cluttering up our kitchen countertops, but be sure that everything in your pantry actually should be there.
Avoid buying foods that you won’t use just because they are a good deal
I will admit to falling into this category once upon a time. This really was one that learned the hard way, but adhering to this rule has made for a much more organized pantry.
This post is based on a chapter in Ruth Soukup’s book, 31 Days to a Clutter Free Life. Grab a copy and join in as we work through it together, or, grab a copy and work through it at your own pace in your own time.
Either way, you will have a clutter free life by the time you work through all 31 days!