Monday, November 19, 2012

Organize Your Pantry in Time for Thanksgiving

Norman Rockwell's
Thanksgiving Dinner
For all but the brave, Thanksgiving dinner can be a daunting endeavour.  The Thanksgiving meal is, after all, the main event of our Thanksgiving holiday.  Steeped in tradition, the Thanksgiving meal is also incredibly stubborn to change.  Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and more are all prepared the way our grandma always made it and, of course, it all needs to time out just perfectly.  No wonder we stress!

While we can't come to your home to help you cook your Thanksgiving feast, we can help.  The first step toward success with any job is preparation/organization.  So, today we will help you start this Thanksgiving with a solid foundation...an orderly kitchen pantry. 

That's right folks.  Follow these 4 steps to organize your kitchen pantry and we won't guarantee your turkey will turn out perfect but at least you'll be prepared for any culinary curve balls Thanksgiving throws your way!

Step 1:   Empty your pantry
The first step in any organization task is to clear out the space to be organized. Take every last item out of our pantry and place the items out in an open area. 

Step 2:  Sort and examine
Now that everything is out in the open, it is time to sort your pantry items into logical groups.   Organize items according to function; for example, group baking products all together and breakfast items all together.  Ultimately, the groupings are up to you, but your goal is to sort your pantry items in a way that works for cooking.  Group ingredients that are usually used together whenever possible.

While sorting, also look for expired items or items that haven't been used in a long time.  Consider: how long has it been since you used that item? Herbs, for example, loose a great deal of flavor after 6 months even in a dark, cool space. To test them, open the jar and sniff: if there's no smell, there's no taste to them.

Step 3: Clean and analyze your pantry space
After your items are sorted, it is time to turn your attention back to your pantry space.  Wipe down all surfaces in your pantry with a damp cloth.  Then, analyze your pantry space.  Do you have enough shelving?  In most standard cabinets, the shelves are spaced too far apart for efficient pantry storage.  Think about what can you change or add to better utilize the space within your pantry.  Depending on your needs and current configuration, the solution may be as simple as purchasing risers or bins for your shelves or you might want to consider something more involved such as a custom shelving system or pull out shelves for your pantry.

Step 4: Restock your Pantry
Now it is time to put items back in your pantry.  As you put items back, think about how often you use your items. The most frequently used items should be at eye level and in an easy to access location. High shelves can contain those items that are rarely used.  Items that kids are always snacking on should be located within easy reach.  Keep the groupings that you made back in step 2 together and determine where they should go based on how often they are used.

If you liked our blog and found it helpful, please share it with friends on Facebook or leave us a comment.

Also, if you are interesting in seeing how Closets For Life can help you transform your kitchen pantry, contact us by phone at 952-484-0416 or by email at rlyrek@closetsforlife.com for a free in-home consultation. We will come out to your home to discuss your needs, assess your existing food storage space and then design a custom  organization makeover tailored just for your kitchen and your needs.

Closets For Life, a custom organization company based in Apple Valley, Minnesota, works with residential clients as well as designers, builders and architects to create innovative storage solutions for all organizational needs including kitchens, closets, offices, garages, laundry rooms, wine cellars and Murphy beds. Closets For Life is a family owned and operated business.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Shawnessy Schwartz
Closets For Life Aficionado