5 Tips to Maintain Your Organized Pantry

organized jars

Pantries come in all shapes and sizes. We make a pantry out of what we have, which may be a cupboard or a shelf. Regardless of what your pantry looks like, once it’s organized, you want to keep it that way. Right? It’s discouraging to spend the time organizing your pantry only to find it gradually (or, perhaps seemingly overnight) attain a state of chaos once again. Here are some tips to keeping your pantry organized:

1. Continue purging

You likely purged when you first organized your pantry. But, guess what? It’s ongoing. Food continues to be consumed and replaced, with things coming into and going out of your pantry perhaps more than in any other area of your home. So, it’s no wonder that going through and editing out what’s expired and unused, or consolidating open bags needs to continue as well.

2. Re-evaluate decanting strategy

Maybe you don’t decant at all. If that’s working for you, more power to you. Or, perhaps you went all in and decided to decant everything. If so, evaluate how you’re keeping up with it. If the cereal decanters are nearly empty, with the box of cereal sitting beside it, it’s ok to be real with yourself and choose a different system. Or, buckle down and give it another try. It’s a habit change. Re-evaluate so you can tweak in a way that works for you.

labeled food items in pantry

3. Employ First-in-First-Out

Set up a system that makes it easy for your household to use up what you have before opening something else. It’s helpful for several reasons: 1. Food is less likely to go bad, because we consume it more quickly, 2. You’ll save on grocery spend, 3. It’s easier to know/see/remember what you have. One system is to have a snack bin containing anything that’s opened. Then, a separate back stock bin contains any snacks that have not yet been opened. It acts as a replenishment source. Works great!

4. Update Categories and Labels

You’ll likely find, over time, that you may want to adjust your food categories (and, associated labels). Perhaps you have one container for snacks, but it’s overflowing, and you have room to add another. Go for it! Make those little tweaks as an alternative to throwing in the towel.

5. Be Intentional With Purchases

We’ve all been guilty of impulse buying. No shame there. But, for the most part, if you look first to your current inventory for meal planning inspiration, you’ll maximize use of what you have and minimize needed purchases.

Also, your systems can help you know what to add to the grocery list. Specifically, check that backstock bin first to see if you have more of something already on hand. If not, add it to the list! Keeping your pantry organized doesn’t need to be overcomplicated. Employing a couple simple systems really works!