The second preparedness challenge of January is to clean out and organize your pantry food so you will eat the foods that you store. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are encouraged to gather a 3-month supply of pantry food, but where do you put it? Some people don’t have room for a 3-month supply of food in their kitchen, but you’d be surprised how much more room you will have when you bring order out of chaos. Here are several ideas to help you organize your pantry.
Organize Your Pantry Food
1. Take Out Everything
This project will probably take several days. If you have young children, you may need to work after they go to bed. Put all canned, boxed, packaged pantry foods, paper plates, etc. on your kitchen table and counters. You want to see everything. Wipe those shelves clean and add shelf paper.
2. Group Similar Food Items
Organize your food into groups such as small, canned foods, pasta/rice/potatoes, baking ingredients, breakfast items, spices, beverages, etc.
3. Toss It Out
Look every item over. Throw away expired, damaged, or foods you no longer eat. Check expiration dates and condition of the food. If you can’t find an expiration date or can’t remember when you purchased an item, toss it. Give food you don’t want that is still in good condition to family, friends, or the food pantry. DO NOT give expired foods to anyone. Learn about food shelf life at StillTasty.com. I use this site all the time.
4. Take an Inventory
Print out my 2-page Inventory worksheet on my free printables page. Write down what you have and items you’re missing. Don’t get too detailed. Just list everything. Even the spices.
“Mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion.”D&C 132:8
5. Remove Unneeded Items
The more food you get in your kitchen, the more likely you will eat it. Look over your piles. Move holiday items or less used appliances to a closet, garage, or basement to make room for food in your kitchen. Donate duplicate appliances.
6. Corral Items
Recycle boxes and corral items in clear canisters, bins, baskets, door organizers and other organization items. There are inexpensive bins at Dollar Tree. Reuse containers you already have. Label your containers. I’m not a fan of glass containers because we live in earthquake country, but you may want to use Mason jars for some of your items.
7. Spice Storage
Spices store best in a dark cupboard or drawer away from heat. Keep small containers in your kitchen and move large containers to a basement or an out of the way cupboard. Organize spices alphabetically for easy access. If you have an opened container of long-term dehydrated onions, transfer into small jars. Refill as needed.
8. Oils and Fat Storage
Oils and fats store best in a dark cupboard away from light. Organize cooking oils, shortening, coconut oil and cooking spray together and pay particular attention to the shelf life as they can go rancid. If you use a lazy Susan, push it to the side of the cupboard instead of centering it for more storage space.
9. Small, Canned Food Organization
Group canned vegetables, meat, soups, etc. together. Double stack cans putting the same item on the bottom of the stack and a different item on top. You can also use can racks to help keep them organized.
Organize cans using the F.I.F.O (first in first out) method moving oldest items to the front and newest to the back after grocery shopping. Adjust the height of your shelves or have an additional shelf cut at the hardware store so you have more room. Try not to have wasted air space above items.
10. Breakfast Foods
Breakfast cereal, pancake mix and other breakfast items store well in plastic storage containers. Here’s an example of our breakfast cereal storage. I used to keep lots of boxes of cereal on the top shelf. But when I transferred most of it into the containers it gave me a new storage area.
I make my own oatmeal mix from long-term oats and dry milk and keep it in a canister on the kitchen counter.
11. Baking Supplies
Choose some storage containers for you baking supplies such as flour, sugar, oats, etc. Stake cake mixes on top of each other instead of side-to-side.
Here my favorite pantry organization videos.
- 3 Month Supply of Food | Short Term Food Storage Made Easy by Actively Family This is an excellent explanation of what a 3-month supply is and how to gather items in your pantry).He shares the value of having a 3-month supply).
- PANTRY ORGANIZATION IDEAS!! DREAM PANTRY MAKEOVER | BEFORE & AFTER OF OUR ARIZONA FIXER UPPER by Hannah’s Happy Home
- SMALL PANTRY ORGANIZATION Before & After | Dollar Tree & Ikea by The DIY Mommy
- PANTRY TOUR & ORGANIZATION IDEAS 2020 (for those who want to start prepping) by Simply Cherie (love how she describes it as playing Tetris)
As you organize your pantry food you will feel a sense of satisfaction. You can do it!
Best wishes and stay healthy,
The Food Storage Organizer
NOTES: You are never behind with my prep challenges. Just jump right in with this week. Want to see more prep challenges? Go here. And if you are new, go to my Start Here page. Purchase The Keep it Simple Preparedness Guide for $5 from my Etsy shop. Need more motivation? Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.