Steven and Chris Episodes

Organize Your Pantry

Is your pantry a stuffed-to-the-brim disorganized mess? Fear not. Steven and Chris' favorite organizational expert Melissa Coghlan lays out the best way to organize it in order to keep it that way.

Follow these steps for a better organized pantry.

1. Sort and purge

Start with clearing everything out of the pantry, with a recycling bin, garbage bag and box on hand for items you're tossing, recycling or donating. Many people lose track of their purchases and can get carried away with sales, and these are the type of items you should consider donating.

2. Clean and prep

An organized pantry has to be a clean pantry, so start by cleaning and wiping down all your shelves. Then, use Mac Tac or adhesive shelving liners to protect and keep your shelves clean. After all, we're in our pantry at least once a day, so it's quite the high-traffic space.

Note: These tray liners only run about five to 10 dollars a roll and can easily be replaced if they're hit with any stubborn spills or stains.

3. Plan the Space

The best way to do this is to consider which items you use most often, since that's where you'll regularly be reaching.

Top Shelf: Lightly Used Items

Reserve your top shelves for items you don't use that often. This could mean food you like to have on hand but aren't eating regularly, like ice cream toppings, a box of cake mix, baking ingredients, and some specialty items like Panko breadcrumbs and polenta flower.

Tip for Baking Ingredients: Use plastic or glass canisters for baking items as well.

Most people have tons of small bottles of items like vanilla and rosewater, for example. This way it's easy to access and you can take your box and place it on the counter when needed.

Middle Shelves: Frequently Used and High Volume Goods

The largest and most frequently-used containers should be within arm's reach and on the middle shelves. Lunch and dinner staples should be here, so add your cans of tuna, soups, broth, and pasta sauce to this shelf.

Don't try and balance everything on top of each other. Instead, invest in some shelf expanders to help maximize your space.

Condiments, oils, and cooking sprays: These items are so frequently used that you should keep them on a lazy Susan front and center. This also helps you avoid spills and keeps it easy to clean.

Grains: Reserve a shelf for all of your grains and flours, including items like pasta, oats, and dried beans. Store these items in clear square containers to maximize your space.

Just be sure to label them to avoid any mix-ups when cooking or baking!

Specialty Items

Organics/Gluten Free: There should always be one shelf for specialty items like organics or gluten-free goods. This way you don't have to worry about contaminating these items with other products.

You can also keep items like tea and coffee here. Keep coffee in a dark jar to keep it fresh and use an office organizer or sectioned-off box to keep all your teas sorted.

Everyday Essentials

Spices: They're essential to everyday cooking and should be easy to reach. Keep your spices in stackable jars so they don't take over. Keep a few extra empty jars in the back for any new additions to your repertoire.

Soon to Expire/"Use Now" Items: Have one small tray of items that must be eaten ASAP. This is only reserved for items that are about to expire so you use them first.

Overflow items: Reserve some space for any overflow items like tea towels organized in a basket.

Bottom Shelf: The Heaviest of the Heavy

This is the area for heavy pop cans, boxes of goods, and those over-sized items you bought at Costco and just can't live without. Use boxes to store your potatoes, onions, pop and other items here.

Finally, don't forget to maximize every inch. Have a folding step stool on hand to reach all of your high items.

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