I dream of a perfect pantry with matching jars holding a vast array of dried goods. In this dream food closet, the boxes are color coordinated, the vintage metal bins line the bottom shelf, and the bottles are sparkling and perfectly stacked.
Suddenly, Dorothy and her ruby slippers are there in my yellow-floored pantry. We twirl around and I join her excited chant of:
“Baskets, Containers, and Jars—oh my!”
Plastic, wicker, jute, metal or straw: the material is up to you, your style, and which you would prefer to touch multiple times a day. Baskets are my favorite in the refrigerator. If you’ve never seen this or tried it, I am telling you, it might change your world.
The shelves of a refrigerator are long and wide, even the small ones can fit a seemingly endless supply of jars, containers, hamburger buns, and stacks of tortillas. Find a basket that fits the length of your refrigerator’s shelves; we don’t want wasted, no-man’s-land space behind them.
Organize your baskets by items. I like to have all of my breads and tortillas in one basket, cheese and lunch meat in another, etc. We even have a snack basket, which saves a ton of time on searching around for a quick bite. The baskets are easy to take out and get what you need, then return when done, all while maintaining your incredible organization accomplishment.
Do you have a pantry? One that you can walk in, even? Pardon me while I shed a tear of envy.
If you are lucky enough to have a pantry, baskets will work wonders on your shelves as well, but containers are a lovely alternative for all of your dry goods. Fill all of your rice, beans, cereal, chips into matching and labeled containers, place on your shelves, and then unabashedly twirl in a Sound of Music-type circle (that is how happy it will make you to see everything look so nice and uniform).
Those of us who don’t have pantries can also use containers, but usually the bulk organization is less of an option. I love putting all of my cereals and oats in containers meant for storing and pouring.
Jars are my friend. I love to display pretty colors in my jars on the counter (candy, beans, citrus, red onions, garlic, etc.). Don’t underestimate the organizational benefit of sorting all of your spices in the same size jar—things fit a lot more easily and beautifully in drawers, cabinets, and on shelves.
Back to the pantry owners: if you have shelves in your pantry that meet at a sharp corner, consider putting a Lazy Susan in the corner. That lost space in the very corner stops being a place where food goes to die and becomes the most useful spot in the pantry.
Wash your fruit and vegetables as soon as you get home and put them in your refrigerator drawers, or put them in individual sealable bags for healthy snacks to grab on the go.
Put a symbol on your calendar every two weeks to remind you to clean out your refrigerator and pantry/dry goods shelf. Cleaning out your food often keeps the job short and sweet and you can take a more accurate inventory of what you eat, don’t eat, and what you need to get at the store.
Food Planning FTW
There are a lot of great ways to store your food in your kitchen, try some out and see what feels right to you. Have you tried any of these kitchen organization suggestions? What material do you prefer for your baskets? Do you use plastic or glass jars at home?