A messy kitchen pantry usually means more food waste and unnecessary spending.
You can’t find anything when you need it, so you end up buying duplicates. Two bags of sugar, 14 cans of mushroom soup, and a half-opened package of stale rice with two in the grocery bag. So much food waste!
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Not only does having a well-organized pantry help you stop unnecessary food waste, but it can save you money in the long run. It might only seem like a few dollars here and there, but those dollars add up!
Ready to stop wasting money and create an organized kitchen pantry? It’s easier than you think and you can start today. Here’s what you want to do:
1. Declutter and take inventory
You want to start by decluttering your pantry — take everything out and group it together. Things that are old, stale, and past their due date should be tossed. Everything else needs to be inventoried.
When you know what you have, it’s easier to buy what you need. But it’s hard to know what you have when you can’t see it. So get rid of that clutter!
2. Label and store food properly
Before you start putting things away all willy-nilly, you’ll want to take them out of their original packaging and store them in containers. This allows you to both save space and keep things tidy.
Ideally, these are see-through containers. This way you can see what you have and need to use up before you buy something new.
Further to the see-through containers, you’ll want to figure out if there are specific containers that can help certain types of food keep fresh longer. For example, brown sugar should be stored in a rust-proof container (like a clear plastic bin) with a tight-fitted lid and a fun water-soaked clay sugar bear.
3. Get to know shelf-life times
Not all food items can be expected to last the same amount of time. It’s not just food in your fridge, even dry goods like pasta and canned beans have a shelf life.
It should be noted that the shelf life isn’t always the “throw-away-by” date, it’s most often the “this-tastes-best-before” date. Regardless, you’ll probably want to eat whatever it is before that date!
Not every date is obvious, but there are resources out there to help you out. Love Food Hate Waste Canada has a great A to Z list guide that can help you determine:
- The average shelf life of different foods and how long you can expect them to stay fresh
- The best type of container you can store certain foods in to keep each piece of food the longest
- Tips and tricks for using up any food you might have left over so you don’t have any unnecessary waste
Knowing when you need to eat something by, can help you better plan meals, and make sure you’re not throwing out food unnecessarily.
4. Keep a list
Once you have everything organized, you’ll want to make sure you stay on top of it. If you don’t, you might end up in the same place again!
The best way to do this is going to be:
- Keep the pantry organized — make sure everything goes back in the same spot and stays labelled
- Stay on top of what you have — keep an inventory of what you have, you can use an app like Fridge Pal or even your notes app
- Keep an ongoing list of what you need — this way you’re not rushing at the last minute to figure out what you need, and you’re not wandering the aisles wondering what you have
Ready to start organizing?
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you won’t suddenly have a ton of extra cash and no food waste on day one. Pantry organization is a long-term game, and to truly save money, time, and food, you need to stay on top of it.
If you’re looking to take more steps towards saving money and getting organized at home, check into your GarbageDay app regularly. You’ll get all of our favourite tips and tricks delivered right to you.