Sort Its Contents
- Start with a clean slate. Take everything out of the pantry, place them on the kitchen countertops and the table and give your pantry a good cleaning. Sort foods by type, grouping the pastas, sauces, cereals, snacks, boxes, cans, jars and bottles by their food content. Separate the cans from all the other foods, and sort those further by content. Organize the jars as well; separate them out of the rest of the food, and group them by content.
- Place the perishable foods at the top of the pantry or on the shelf that is easiest to access. These foods do not have as long of a shelf life as the jar and canned foods, so use them before their expiration dates come and go. Perishables include foods that do not require refrigeration but have a short shelf life, such as breads and baked goods.
- Boxed foods can last a long time, but since their contents are not always air tight, keep a close monitor of their expiration dates and content conditions. Boxed goods deserve a spot near the perishables in the kitchen pantry where you can easily access them, see them and use them upon demand.
- Use containers with lids and labels to keep opened foods fresh, such as flours, grains and beans. Maximize space by using small containers for small amounts of food and large containers for bulk foods.
- Pantries tend to get out of control from the weekly, biweekly and monthly restocking. To gain better control over your pantry's organization, rotate your stock. Give your pantry a quick organizer refresher just before you place new food items on its shelves. Bring forward the older food items to the front, place the newly purchased food items toward the back and line up your items similar to the layout in a grocery store. Rotating your food stock keeps your pantry's contents fresh and prevents overspending when you can see what you already have available.
- In an emergency when utilities no longer work, you need a food supply that can sustain your family during those rough times. Keeping a stock of canned and bottled foods makes this preparation possible. Designate the lower shelves of your food pantry to the emergency food. If you have limited space, you do not have to have a separate supply of food for emergency situations. Instead, use these foods as you need them, but keep restocking them as the supply goes down. This method not only replenishes what you use, but it also keeps your emergency food supply fresh. Canned foods, jarred foods, dried foods and bottled water and juice are common items to stock in your emergency food supply.