As you declutter your kitchen, you should also take the time to organize your pantry. For example, let us look at the spice rack. How many spices do you actually use when you cook, anyway? A rack of 30 or 35 spices makes you look like an experienced cook, but I want to know who really needs all of them anyway. Only keep, on hand, the spices that you actually use when you cook.
Next, you will want to check the expiration dates on all of your pantry items. Sometimes we put items in the pantry and lose track of how long they have actually been in there. Especially if you take advantage of a great sale and buy a large quantity of a certain item. You may not be able to use it all up before it expires.
Also, if you have any non-expired foods that you no longer eat, then donate the food to a local food bank. Not only will you declutter your own pantry, but you will be helping out someone else in need.
One thing that I like to do to help organize food items is to use small plastic bins to hold various items. I buy a bunch of these bins and put them in the cabinets. These pantry organizers allow me to store the foods by “bin”. For instance, I keep one bin container for packages of microwave popcorn. Another for seasoning mix and yet another for my hot cocoa packets.
I even have a bins for some of my small bottles of spices and baking yeast packets. I find that I do not use that many different spices and do not really need a spice rack. You should try it. It will give your cabinets a much more clean and neater look. And it certainly makes it easier to find the items that you need quicker.
If you are like me, then you are probably tired of all the bags of snacks that are in your cabinet (of course, that does not stop me from buying them, though). I find it helpful to pour the bagged foods into some sort of hard plastic sealed container. I even do this with large bags of potato chips too. Along with keeping them fresh, it also help to prevents them from ending up crushed into pieces (while in the cabinet), once the bag is opened.
You can use this same tip when it comes to storing bags of anything – beans, cereal and even rice. Not only does it make your cabinet space look cleaner and more organized, it also helps to keep the food inside fresher for an extended period of time.
I also find it helpful to use an over-the-door organizer, to save on space and to make items that I use every day easily accessible. It is great for storing, foil, plastic, food storage bags, etc. Another great asset I have in the pantry area is a can storage rack. Not only does it keep the cans neatly on the shelf, but find that I can easily keep track of the expiration dates. It helps me to maintain a first in-first out rotation system, that way the older stuff gets used first.
By the time you finish, you will notice that you have much more room in your pantry to store necessary items. And you will actually be able to find things when you need them.