Store items based on how frequently they are used. Increase your pantry’s power by considering how frequently items are used. If you rarely bake, store dry items like flour and sugar on the very top shelf. If you bake frequently, place them on a middle shelf for easy access. If cereal is your family’s primary breakfast choice, store cereal on a middle shelf that everyone can easily access. Items you seldom use such as ingredients for holidays or special celebrations, and items that you rarely need to restock, should be placed on the lowest shelves.Optimal organization and inventory techniques will enable smooth and timely turnover of your pantry items. If you are starting from scratch, start by buying double or triple of each item you typically use in one week. You can often cut your grocery costs by buying products in bulk, so if you have ample storage, buy according to your anticipated needs and expiration dates. Once you have spread the last drop of jelly, grab the next jar and write ‘jelly’ on your grocery list so it is replaced.
Match storage space to the size of items stored. In order to maximize space, shelves should be deep enough to store one row of items and tall enough to fit the items with little leeway. Most pantries offer adjustable shelves so take the time to consider frequency in step one and then adjust the shelves around the size of the rows of items. For example, the shelf of canned goods should be tall enough to fit them along with items of similar height. You may be tempted to stack items such as cans, however if your pantry contains stationary shelves, it will be difficult to access cans behind the first visible row.
Loading multiple rows of different items constricts your visibility and may make it difficult to find exactly what you need—and the item with the upcoming expiration date that you want to use first. If your pantry has pull-out shelves, stack away as long as you can easily view subsequent rows of food. You can always modify based on how well the storage system works for you by adjusting shelves or buying right-sized baskets.
Consider family member and pet access. While you may want to access everything easily, you may want to limit other household members’ access. For example, if a child has a food allergy such as peanuts, store the peanut butter on the highest shelf. If you are concerned your preschooler may binge on sugary snacks or juice-boxes, store them on a higher shelf. Place baskets with healthy snacks you prefer your children eat on a shelf they can easily access. If pets are sophisticated enough to gnaw their way into a box of doggie biscuits, place them where the dog cannot reach.
Article by: Jennifer Elkow
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