A tidy pantry

A couple of weekends ago while visiting a friend’s new home, I caught sight of her highly organised pantry. It was beautiful – everything was labelled, set in rows and sitting pretty on the shelves.

I returned home that evening inspired to tackle my own pantry and give it a complete makeover.

Kitchen pantries are one of the most used cupboards/rooms in our homes but they can also be one of the most disorganised.

From a practical perspective, we want to be able to locate ingredients in our pantry quickly when cooking and for aesthetic purposes it would be nice if it looked pretty with matching containers and labels.

It’s important to remember that there are no hard and fast rules for pantry organisation because pantries come in all shapes/sizes; walk-in, big, small, shelves, cupboards and drawers.
Whatever the arrangement, the key to making the most of your pantry is organisation.

Is it time to give your pantry a makeover?

If so you might like to check out some tips/tricks from my recent pantry makeover:
– As with all makeovers everything in the pantry has to come out first to either be kept, tossed or donated. After sorting through the pantry, group the remaining items according to their purpose; this will then help you decide what new supplies you need to buy.
– Once everything is out of the pantry, decide whether or not you need to paint the walls, replace shelving or simply wash down the existing walls/shelving.
I decided to paint a chalkboard wall in my pantry to keep my children entertained near the kitchen and to also add a creative twist. I was blown away by the choice of chalkboard paint colours in the Dulux range – you are only restricted by your imagination.
We opted for a dark grey colour which I absolutely love – it looks good and it’s fun to write my shopping lists on the wall.
– Purchase some clear sealed/air-tight containers (that’s if you don’t already have some on hand).
When buying containers, look for models that can be stacked to save on additional space.
Tip: Keep your eye out for specials in Big W, Target, Coles and Woolies plus Aldi because they often have sales. You could purchase a mixture of plastic and pretty decorative glass containers for variety (K-Mart have well priced glass options).
Tip: Clear containers are good as you can see what’s inside them.
– Transfer dry goods into clear stackable containers/canisters and then label. I chose vintage-style blackboard labels that I wrote on with a white marker. I found well priced labels on eBay that arrived to my home within a couple of days.
– Think about how you would like to store your canned goods and sauces. You can purchase stepped risers (little shelves to put on the big shelves) or I bought some wooden crates from The Reject Shop and have used them to hold my cans and sauces.
Tip: Don’t forget to give the sauce bottles a little wipe before returning to the pantry.
– You could create a series of baskets or crates to group certain foods together. For example, baking goods could be all together in one basket (paper cases, food colouring, cookie cutters, piping bags etc).
– Don’t forget herbs and spices – I found transferring them into small stackable containers and labeling them worked well.
– When returning products to the pantry keep two rules of thumb in mind: place heavy items on the lower shelves to make them easier to retrieve and rotate your stock (FIFO – first in first out).
– When your pantry is complete and everything is in its place don’t forget to educate other people in your household on how to put everything back in its place (which may be difficult especially if you have small children like me…. but hey it’s worth a shot)

If you have excess useable food products after your own pantry makeover that would otherwise end up in waste – keep in mind that it could be rescued and redistributed.
A new initiative called ‘Food Rescue – Central West’ has been launched and we have three community groups here in Bathurst that accept donated food which is then redistributed back into the community.
The community groups include BCCC Bathurst Food Bank (02) 63 313187 (accepts pantry food, fresh food, some refrigerated items), C3 Church 0429 350 931(accepts pantry items) and Hope Care 0467 320 032 (accepts pantry and fresh food).
Visit the Food Rescue Facebook page www.facebook.com/FoodRescueCentralWest or call the participating community groups for more information.

Mumma C xx