How to Stock and Organize Your Pantry Staples
Author: Lea Schneider
May 24, 2016
Guest author, blogger, and professional organizer, Lea Schneider, explains how to organize and stock your pantry and why having an organized, well-stocked pantry leads to a healthier lifestyle.
Did you know a call to a professional organizer could make you healthier?
Achieving success in losing weight, taking better care of yourself, and eating healthier nearly always means a change in lifestyle. It’s pretty hard to accomplish any of those if your routine includes restaurant dining, takeout, or grabbing snacks instead of a meal. So often, those choices are made because they seem easier in the moment. But what do those choices do to your children? As a mother, you want to create good, healthy eating habits and having an organized pantry can help.
Developing a healthy lifestyle begins in the kitchen. If you create a home environment that is organized for easy meal preparation and stocked with nutritious ingredients, you’ve boosted your chances of a change that really sticks. We’ll look at the kinds of staples to have on hand as well as ideas for their placement to make healthy eating a snap.
The best way to begin a good habit of preparing nightly meals is to make doing so easy. It’s time to rethink the layout of contents of your kitchen cabinets. We’ll begin your reorganization at the stove.
Close to the Stove:
• Cooking Ingredients- Make cooking take fewer steps by locating the things you use at the stove as close to it as you can. These include cooking oils, cooking sprays and yummy ingredients that spice up recipes such as Worcestershire, balsamic vinegar, cooking wine and hot sauce. A corner cabinet with a lazy Susan is great for this purpose, as you can spin it to find what you need. An alternative is to use a corner or nearby cabinet and add some turntables to organize the shelves.
• Spices and Herbs- Tasty food will keep you coming home for more. Stock up your spice rack. If you haven’t been using spices, invest in a bunch. There are a number of special cabinets designed to fold out and hold spices. Or, you can adapt a cabinet near the stove by installing spice racks or adding pull-out spice organizers.
Close to Your Prep Area:
• Prep Items- Every cook has a favorite spot to stand and prepare recipes. It might be the island or a large section of countertop. Focus on stocking a cabinet near-by with the most frequent items you use to prepare meals.
• Baking Essentials- Lower pull-out drawers, glide-out shelves or baskets added to lower cabinets are all good storage options for staples such as flour, sugar, baking powder, cornstarch and so on. Use large, labeled canisters to hold these kinds of ingredients. Clear containers help you easily see when to restock.
In the Pantry:
Sort items by use. By stocking dinner ingredients together, you not only find items to make for dinner fast, you can see what you need to purchase in a quick glance.
• Rice and Whole Grains- Use labeled baskets or bins for each variety.
• Canned Goods- Use a shelf near your cooking area to hold canned goods used for dinner, such as canned tomatoes or beans.
• Breakfast and Snack Items- In other areas of the pantry, stock breakfast items together and snacks together. Keep the focus on putting like-items in the same place, with clearly defined zones.
Stocking Up on Staples
Now that you’ve rearranged your cabinet contents, you’re ready to fill them with key ingredients or staples. Kitchen staples are items you should always keep on hand because they appear so frequently in recipes.
Here are some basics that you can tweak for your particular health needs and diet. There are of course many varieties of items, including many more spices, but this basic list will give you a good start. Begin with this, then add in fresh vegetables, proteins and dairy and you’ll be able to easily prepare tasty, healthy meals.
Rice (white, brown, black or wild)
Other starches/grains, such as quinoa, couscous or farro
Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts or pepitas
Dried fruit, like raisins or dried cranberries
Peanut butter or other nut butters
Chicken or vegetable broth
Canned beans, such as pinto, black or Northern
Apple cider vinegar
Red wine vinegar
Red pepper flakes
With smart organization of your cabinet and pantries, you’ll be well on your way to a healthy New Year!
Lea Schneider is a professional organizer who provides advice on how to organize your way into being more healthy. She provides tips on how to add cabinets and features that will give you easier access to creating quicker healthier meals. To see some of the kitchen cabinet options and features that Lea talks about in this article, visit The Home Depot.