Knowing how to successfully stock and organize a whole foods pantry has many upsides — you'll save time and money because you'll know exactly what you have in stock, you'll learn a lot about your eating, cooking and shopping habits, and you might even be inspired to cook more.
When I finally made the decision to tackle my pantry, everything was piled on top of each other in bins and on shelves. I had multiples of items and overflowing bags of food, because I never knew what I had at any given time.
I set aside an afternoon, bought mason jars, clear containers, stacking shelves and labels, then organized everything. It took a while, but the results made a huge difference — I saved time, space and energy. I love that I can now see everything and know exactly what I have.
If you've been putting off this task, I've got some simple, easy tips to help get you motivated. Having a well stocked, organized pantry is one of the best ways to set yourself up for success in the kitchen.
Start with a small space to start, so you can make progress slowly without getting too overwhelmed — one shelf, a small cabinet or drawer works.
ORGANIZE + CLEAN
The first step is to get everything out of your pantry, so you can see what you have. Sort everything into categories: items you use everyday, items you barely use, unopened items that you want to donate, and any expired items that need to be thrown away. After you know what's staying, clean your pantry and give it a makeover. Create a space you love by adding some nice shelving, contact paper and accessories that bring you joy.
Now that you know what you have, assess which products and supplies you need to store all your food ingredients. Think airtight glass containers, mason jars, turntables for corners and large bins for bulk items. I love using stacking shelves for smaller things like spices.
If you need to buy more food ingredients, like grains, nuts and seeds, buy in bulk. It's a lot more affordable in the long run and will stay fresh when stored correctly.
Labeling will help you find what you need, quickly, then guide you on how to maintain the space. Make it fun by using colorful or clear labels, sharpie paint pens or chalk pens to help you identify your food items. I tend to keep the same food ingredients in the same jar (in the same spot) and just refill it to save time. It makes the process easier especially when I go food shopping. I visualize my jars and bins and know exactly what needs to be replenished.
MAINTAIN THE SPACE
Keep your pantry organized by making it a part of your weekly meal planning routine. If you do this regularly, you won't have to repeat the entire process of cleaning and organizing your pantry all over again. Just do a quick weekly inventory of what you have and restock where needed. This will ensure you're cooking and eating what you already have and prevent you from buying multiples of the same thing or running out of an item.