Ever had to throw away a bag of rice because it had started getting weevils in it, or found that your sauces were well past the best-by date? Your grocery organisation skills may need some serious rethinking. No matter whether you have a large walk-in pantry or a compact storage unit inside your kitchen, we’ve collated some useful pantry organisation ideas that will make your life easier.

Read on, and get started on maintaining order in your kitchen!

Start Fresh

Empty out your entire pantry. Look at the best by dates and get rid of anything that’s expired already. Clean all the shelves and wipe them down thoroughly before you start to restock.

How to arrange groceries in kitchen

Make a List

Your list should include pantry staples that are grouped by frequency of use; daily, monthly and only once in a while. Add the quantity of each item that you usually stock, to determine how many storage containers you should buy. If you use 5 kilos of rice in a month, you will need a container that will hold this quantity.

writing Groceries list

Group Like with Like

This is the most sensible way to organise your pantry. Cooking oils together, different kinds of pasta on the same shelf, cereals and pulses used for cooking in one place. Next, consider the frequency of use, and also the location where you use these items. The spices you use on a daily basis can be together in small jars on a spice rack. Coffee jars can be on the breakfast counter next to the percolator. Inside the pantry, corral like items together on trays or in boxes that are clearly labelled.

label Groceries and spices

Decant into Containers

This is an important step and one that many people overlook. Rather than keeping the surplus quantities of flour or cereals in the bags that you bought them in, decant them into large bins with tight-fitting lids. Flour weevils can bite their way through store packaging, like paper bags and thin plastic. If you don’t like to use plastic, clear glass canisters with sealed lids are your best option for keeping groceries fresh for a longer time.

Another important consideration is the size of the mouth of the jar. If you are going to use a scoop or a measuring cup, the mouth should be large enough. Resorting to pouring out the ingredient from a narrow-mouthed container can be tricky and could get messy.

Also, make sure that the containers are all labelled so that even novice cooks can find their way around your kitchen in a pinch! When you label, include the expiry date as well.

Groceries containers

Line the Shelves and Trays

Before you put things back into the pantry, line the shelves with non-slip lining. Liners are useful in two ways; they prevent slippage and also keep food and small packets from falling through.

Stock up!

While you are putting things back, keep these useful tips in mind:

  • First in, first out: To prevent anything from getting spoiled, always ensure that any fresh supplies are pushed right to the back of the shelf, while half-used items are placed in the front. Keep following this system, and you’ll never have any stuff getting spoiled, ever again!
  • While everyone puts onions and potatoes together, it’s not always the best idea. Onions do not last as long as potatoes do, and if they start to go bad then your potatoes will suffer. Instead, group onions and garlic together, and keep potatoes in a separate bin.
  • Flour should not be stored next to strong spices like cumin or garlic powder, as it takes on the flavours easily. You don’t want your next batch of vanilla sponge smelling strongly of garlic!
  • Oversized and bulky items are best stored closer to the floor so that they are easy to manage. When planning the storage, ensure that the shelf easily accommodates the tallest size of the container you will be using.
  • If you have little ones at home, keep healthy snacks for them on a shelf that they can reach. Keep the candy and not-so-healthy treats hidden out of sight.

wicker baskets

Pantry Storage Accessories

Especially if your kitchen is on the smaller side, it’s not easy to find enough storage space for all your needs, leave alone organise it well! Smart kitchen storage accessories can help to eke out every bit of available space and make your kitchen more efficient. Try some of these storage solutions in your kitchen to maximise the space available and make it easy to handle your groceries.

1. Stainless Steel Pantry Trays

A tall unit with a depth of 2 feet can house all your bulk storage in pull-out trays that are fitted with heavy-duty channels. These trays have a stainless steel rim on the sides so that the groceries can be neatly organized.

pantry tray

2. Tandem boxes

Pull out tandem boxes are fitted with glass profiles so that you can easily see the contents of each box. Each box slides out individually and offers a larger storage capacity, with trays fitted with spacers that help to organize smaller items beautifully.

tandem box

3. Corner Carousel Units

Carousel units in stainless steel rotate on a central axis, making items stored on each of the two levels very easy to access. You can organise similar grocery items neatly, without loading the trays too much as they will not work as efficiently with items that are too heavy.

corner carousel units

4. Tall Bottle Pullout

Just 8 inches of space is enough to fit in this invaluable tall larder unit with pull-outs that are perfect for storing bottles, jars and smaller grocery items.

bottle pullout

5. Open Shelves

Open shelves that are adjustable are a great pantry idea for smaller kitchens. Do note that if you are using closed fixed shelves (not pull-outs), the depth should ideally be only 1 foot and not more, as otherwise, the items at the back become very hard to reach.

groceries storage cabinets

Need advice on the best storage options for your kitchen? Are you looking to refurbish your existing kitchen, or start afresh with a completely new space? Come to the experts at HomeLane, and we’ll help you put together the kitchen of your dreams!

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