How To Organize A Healthy Pantry
You’ve been there, we all have. You’re trying to cook something and that ingredient that you just KNOW you have you can’t locate any where! And in the meantime, your onions are burning. Crap. But what if everything you needed on a daily basis was easily at hand, ready for you to grab and go and get that healthy meal on the table?
Professional Organizer Gayle Gruenberg of Let’s Get Organized LLC shared her four step system with me to help organize your pantry, and save you time and money! She also shares some extra tips and hacks that she’s learned along the way as the Chief Executive Organizer (how freaking cute is that?) of her company! You can get those in the video below! Then keep reading for more of Gayle’s sage advice!
The Four Steps
Gayle’s four step process is 1. Gather 2. Sort 3. Contain and 4. Maintain. For Step 1, Gather, we pull everything off my pantry shelf, starting with a completely clean slate. We even wiped it down for good measure. Then we “sorted” by putting like with like. We checked expiration dates and, I’m sorry to say, wound up throwing out a whole garbage bag worth of expired food! While I expressed shame for having let that food go to waste, Gayle reminded me that you can’t use what you can’t see, and that having to toss expired food is totally NORMAL when going through the pantry organizing process! So remember guys, no shame in the clean up game!
However, that left us with plenty of space for
Step 3, Contain, where we put similar things together, and streamlined even more by transferring things to smaller containers when possible. If you work with Gayle personally, you’ll find she asks you a lot of questions to help you find the best way to “maintain” the area for YOU! Because the truth is, what works for me, may not work for you. And that’s JUST FINE - but you have to be honest with yourself about how you actually use items and space in your home and what your life looks like, so you can develop the best and easiest way to keep things organized for YOU. It should be easy to maintain once you’ve got it going in the right direction. And don’t be afraid to try a few different things to see what works best! One of the questions you have to ask yourself is what are the items I use most and least often? Lesser used items should go towards the back or the sides. While things you use every day should go front and center. If you have a lot of vertical space like I do, grab what Gayle refers to as a “shelf doubler” - or a small wire rack so you can double your surface space! And be sure to watch the video so learn her “cookie sheet hack” as well!
The benefit of an organized pantry goes beyond time and money. Because you can also put less healthy foods in harder to reach places. So if you’ve got those cashews front and center, and the chips up top, maybe next time you want salty and crunchy, you’ll go for the easy to access handful of nuts instead of digging up that bag of chips. Maybe you’ll stash your dried fruits in an easy to reach spot and the cookies far to the left so when you're having a sweet craving, you’ll at least get the fiber of the dried fruit instead of the refined flour and sugar of the cookies. Working with Gayle probably took a little over an hour, and that included shooting a video while we were doing it! It’s definitely worth the time to get yourself organized so you have more time to do the things enjoy, eat the healthy foods you love, and save money next time you go to the grocery store.