Sort pantry items into general zones or groups: canned goods together, boxed foods with boxed foods, snack bags together, etc. Then sort by sub-groups within the larger groups — canned items: soups together, canned vegetables together, and so on. Prioritize group location by putting frequently used items closer to the pantry entryway or where they otherwise will be closest and easiest to access. For example, keep items like spices and herbs close to the pantry door for quick use while cooking.
Sort spices and herbs alphabetically or by any other system that will help you find what you need quickly and easily.
Empty cereal, sugar, grains, coffee and flour into sealable storage containers to keep them fresh longer and to make efficient use shelf space.
Invest in an in-pantry lazy Susan or turntable.
Keep your shopping list in or near the pantry so you can easily take note of items that you need before you run out.
Keep items that might drip, causing sticky spills, such as maple syrup, in baskets or on trays for easy cleanup of inevitable spills.
Items that you need but are used sporadically should be shelved on the farthest and highest or lowest shelves, or behind regularly used items. Keep items used daily, such as coffee, cereal, bread, etc. together in a group. Sort items used weekly, like rice, canned goods, pasta, and baking needs in another zone. You can further break down groups into sub-groups, like canned vegetables and canned fruit, for example. Specialty items used monthly or on special occasions should be kept in the pantry in areas out of the way, on higher or lower shelves, as mentioned above. Heavy items should also be kept on lower shelves or on the floor if items are particularly heavy. Another approach is sorting pantry items by meal, with breakfast items in one area, dinner items in another. This works well if you plan out your meals for the week ahead.
Stock your shelves the way supermarkets do: first in, first out. This will help you use your pantry items in the order that you bought them. It’s common sense but often is overlooked for items like pasta, rice and canned goods — perennial items that can last a while on the shelf. This cuts down on waste from spoilage of items that are hidden behind the newer purchases. Keep a close eye on freshness dates when sorting.
In the end, you should organize the pantry in a way that works best for you. As long as you approach it strategically, you can make your pantry work smarter.
That’s it! Now your kitchen pantry is organized and ready to make preparing meals more efficient and enjoyable for the whole family.