The Expert-Recommended System For Organizing Your Pantry

organized pantry with food items
organized pantry with food items - Onurdongel/Getty Images

The pantry is the treasure trove of every kitchen, full of must-have cooking staples and beloved snacks alike. But the pantry can quickly spiral from food heaven to disorganized nightmare. The corn starch ends up at the back of the top shelf, and you can never seem to find that one special ingredient right when you need it most.

Luckily, Maria Baer, founder of The Baer Minimalist, has a way to take your abundant pantry from mess to methodized. Her biggest pantry organization tip? Treat your pantry like the grocery store. "Create labeled zones similar to a grocery store (examples might include breakfast, dinner, grab and go, chips, crackers, baking, etc.)," Baer told Daily Meal. "As you consider which shelf each category will live on, think about what is accessed most frequently." Not all pantries have to look exactly the same, instead, it's best to build the flow of your pantry based on your lifestyle and daily needs.

Read more: The Best Way To Clean That Nasty Grease Off Of Your Kitchen Cabinets

Getting Started With A Pantry Overhaul

organized, labled food pantry
organized, labled food pantry - Aafia Tanvir/Shutterstock

Starting with a thorough pantry cleanout is the first step towards an organized pantry before you even begin to reorganize and shuffle your items around. After tossing outdated, unused items, you can get to creating those labeled zones. You can use simple peel-and-stick name tags on the shelves to section off your pantry, labeling them with the categories suggested by Baer, or take it one step further and separate your zones into labeled baskets or bins.

You'll likely be storing only non-perishables in your pantry, but if any items have a close expiration or best-by date, keep them towards the front for easy access to make sure they get used up. And if you're stocking a pantry for the whole family, Baer has another smart tip for you: "Perhaps the kids grab and go snacks are lower down for easy access, but sweets are as high up as possible." This makes school mornings easier on you, allowing the little ones to grab their own snacks as you're running out the door!

Safety And Storage Tips For An Organized Pantry

writing label for food storage
writing label for food storage - Invizbk/Getty Images

For safe food pantry stocking and organization, you'll also want to make sure your heavy pantry items are on the lower shelves, with the heaviest items even stored on the ground if you have room. Heavy food items like sacks of flour or large bags of rice will weigh down the shelves, which could cause the shelves to bend or break. It's also safer to reach up high for lightweight items instead of potentially having a heavy bag fall down on your head.

You can also keep these shelf-stable ingredients even more organized by storing them in clear, airtight containers. Flour, in particular, is one of the pantry staples you've probably stored wrong before. Most people keep flour in its original packaging, but storing flour in an airtight container is an effective method of keeping out unwanted pests and ensuring maximum freshness. And with this method, you can also easily see when your stock is low. Once you organize with custom-labeled zones like Maria Baer, you'll be well on your way to a calm, chaos-free pantry.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.