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Organize Your Kitchen Pantry In 7 Easy Steps

A well-organized pantry will not only save you trips to the supermarket, it'll keep you from breaking your back looking for that last can of soup

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Original Article: Arlene Maslog Photography: Miguel Nacianceno Styling: Arlene Maslog

Are you constantly digging through your pantry to find that canister of flour or bottle of spaghetti sauce, only to find it expired? Or do you keep on buying multiple stocks of the same canned goods, just because you didn’t see the ones you already had?

Whether you have a huge, walk-in pantry, or just a few kitchen shelves, maybe it’s time to reorganize it—something that you should do every few weeks. This way, you’ll know what you have, and this will save you unnecessary trips to the grocery store. Here’s how:


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1. Remove and edit.

Empty your pantry of all existing items and place everything on the kitchen counter. Get rid of all items that are past their expiry date, even items that haven’t been consumed.

2. Clean it up.

Wipe the entire pantry clean with a mixture of warm water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Go over with a dry cloth.

3. Categorize by type


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Organize all the products by food type before returning them to the pantry. Group similar items together like so: canned vegetables all together, canned meats, soups, boxed items, packaged drinks, etc.

4. Make a proper lineup

Arrange your shelves like so: place the taller items behind the shorter ones, so everything is more visible. Rarely used items go to the top shelf, and more frequently used food at eye level. Heavier items like flour, cooking oil, etc. should be at waist level so it’s easier to lift.

5. Label almost-expiring items clearly


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Stick a brightly colored sticker on items that are nearing its expiry date. This way, you will easily be reminded about which items need to be discarded or used right away. For the same purpose, place newer items at the back of the older items.

6. Create a shelf for the kids


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If you have children, place snack and breakfast items on the lower shelves to keep them from climbing dangerously to get to the higher shelves. Have fun with it and stick attractive signs to let your kids—and yaya—know what’s available.

7. Prep a breakfast tray


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Assemble a small breakfast tray and put it in your pantry. Place all breakfast items in it such as your instant coffee, creamer, cereal, jam, spreads, breadbox, etc.; this way you can just bring the whole tray out and put it on the table, or plop it in your bedroom, if breakfast in bed strikes your fancy.

This article appeared in “Pantry Makeover!” in the September 2009 issue of Real Living magazine

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