Keeping your pantry organized helps you save money and time.

If you know what is in the pantry, you can center your meals around what you do have and you will not go out and buy things that are already in there. Keeping an organized pantry avoids spoilage and waste as well. Many people do not have a large pantry in which to store food items. Most often it is just a few cupboards in the kitchen. These tips for pantry organization are for them.

Sort food items by the container they come in. Keep all jars together, all cans together, all boxes together and so on. This maximizes space in the few cupboards you have for storing food. Baking items can be stored separately instead of by package because you might want these items to all be in the same place when you go to use them. You can store baking items up on the top shelf because they are probably not going to be used as often as the other foods.  This would include flour, sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch and vanilla.

CANS

Keep all cans together. This would include soups, broths, vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes, beans, mushrooms, tuna and fruit. Stack same items together and always store the oldest cans of the same type of food to the front so they get used first. Make rows of vegetables, soups and so on. When you use the cans in the front, move the others forward so you are always putting the newest cans to the back of the pantry.

JARS

Store all jars in rows and put the oldest to the front. This category would include jelly, salsa, mayonnaise, mustard, pickles, relish, olives and more. In most cases, this will be a small section that can be placed right next to the cans.

BOXES

You may want to store cereal for the kids in another area so that it is easily accessible to shorter people. If you aren’t worried about the kids reaching stuff, store cereal boxes in the pantry along with mac and cheese and other side dishes like couscous, rice and potato side dishes. Some pasta boxes are long and skinny and these should be stored in this section too. Store cake mixes here or with the baking supplies.

BOTTLES

Bottles to be stored in the pantry would include unopened catsup, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and bottles of vinegar, molasses and cooking oil.

PACKAGES

Food in cellophane packages is usually hard to store in small places. If you are not storing them in plastic containers, keep them all together in storage containers, baskets or boxes in the pantry. These would include noodles, beans, rice, pastas, chips, pretzels and some cereals.

Every month, go through the pantry and see what is starting to get a little old. Plan a menu to use those items and if they are really close to the expiration date, donate them to a food bank that will use them immediately, before they get bad.

Keep the pantry organized, adding only to the back of the cupboard and moving everything forward to the front. This allows you see exactly what you have and allows you to save money and use everything in the pantry to the fullest extent.