If your pantry was anything like what mine was (plastic containers scattered every, so many bags of nuts and seeds, and open ingredients, that you're not even sure what ingredients you have), then it's probably time for you to have a pantry clear out, de-clutter and a complete makeover, and what better time to do this than #plasticfreejuly!
Why should I makeover my pantry?
It's probably been a long time since you first said "I really need to sort out that pantry", but just never got around to it. We moved 6 months ago to a new house with a pantry half the size, so everything just got shoved in somewhere! Getting stuck into it and cleaning out my pantry was one of the best things I've done this year.
Here's some reasons why I loved my pantry makeover;
I LOVE opening my pantry
Let start with the most obvious factor after tidying or cleaning something that was long overdue, it looks AMAZING!! After clearing out my cupboard I just stood there sometimes staring at my food 😂 I know, it's a little weird but I couldn't help being proud of my achievement in decluttering and tidying my pantry. (I still do this daily.....)
I've cut back costs
This may not be a point for everyone depending on what you eat, but since I transferred all my ingredients to glass I decided to take my shopping to the local bulk food store and re-fill my glass jars only when I need to. Instead of buying pre-packed ingredients that overflow in my jars and then clutters it up with bags of half fill stuff, I now wait until I have a few jars that need filling then buy only what I need with no extra costs.
I've wasted less food
Since I've been able to actually SEE what ingredients I have, I've been using more nuts, seeds and spices that I COMPLETELY forgot I even had. I used to find ingredients months after their expiry date, and had to throw them away.
This can also fall under saving money if you're like me and couldn't see the packet of quinoa hidden in the back corner so you bought a whole new packet without needing it.
I'm eating healthier
By seeing all the ingredients I have and not wanting to mess up my pantry flow by throwing packets of snacks everywhere. I've giving myself a wee container to store all my goodies, and with the limited amount of space I've eaten less treats like packets of cookies or chips. Instead, I like to get creative and make my own healthy snacks with what ingredients I have. Plus, I can see what I have and know exactly what I can make, instead of staring at it in hopelessness, then buying tea.
I've gone plastic free
By not buying pre-packed ingredients and only re-filling my jars I've cut out so many plastics that would have just been thrown away and put in landfills. For ideas on what to do with plastic containers you may already have in your pantry that you don't want anymore, head to my Plastic Free July article here.
These are all reasons that I found after I gave my pantry a makeover that made me appreciate my decision to do it in the first place. (P.S. I gave most of my old containers away to my daughter for her pantry)
Where do I to start?
This can be an overwhelming job, even for the smallest of pantries, but it CAN BE DONE, believe me!
Planing is the key, break down this job into steps and start off simply before hammering into it.
Step 1: What do You Want Your Pantry to Look Like?
This question is the KEY to kick off your pantry clean up. This doesn't require you do anything other than think, you can spend as long as you need choosing a design. Jump on instagram, pinterest or even just google pantries and save picture into a folder of the ones you really like.
Step 2: Block off Time.
I'm not going to lie, cleaning out your pantry isn't a quick job. With a standard size pantry like mine it took me a whole day with a few tea breaks, (quite a few....) I would recommend making sure you're free the entire weekend if you're someone who gets interrupted quite a bit, whether it's children, study, friends or work. You don't want to half start and then end up with half your kitchen bench cluttered with food for the next few days.
Step 3: Equipment.
By this step, you should have a day or two planned and an idea of what you want your new pantry to look like. Now it's time to get what you need, go to your favourite kitchen or storage shops and get containers, jars, lazy susans, etc. Anything you need to create your dream pantry, I'm not someone who can spend $35 on each glass jar (even though I would like to), so I went to my favourite stores that never let me down, Kmart and Target. I found perfectly good and cheap jars, stands and containers for all my pantry needs. ($5 for 6 small glass jars, $4 for 1.5ltr jars)
Step 4: Clean the Slate Then Stack the Shelf
You have an image of your dream pantry, you've blocked off time to get into it and you've purchased everything you need, now all that's left to do is get stuck into it.
Lets officially start making over your pantry by clearing out ALL your food. That's right, EVERYTHING! You can do this one shelf at a time, pouring or placing ingredients into jar/containers and labelling things you need to, throwing away items that are out of date as you go (I used a crate to throw all my rubbish into and a box for recycling materials, then tipped into bin and reused).
Once everything is out of the first shelf give it a wipe down and start stacking your new cupboard in the order you want, for example, I keep all my baking ingredients together on one side of the shelf, then all my cooking ingredients on the other side, leave out items you want on other shelves.
Repeat the process on each shelf until your pantry is the way you want.
Tips and Tricks:
Buy extra jars/containers: I had to make two trips to the shops because I didn't buy enough jars the first trip, and it's good to have spare jars for ingredients you don't have at the time of clearing out
Labels: labels are the key to your pantry being a success, I paint chalk onto my lids so when I swap ingredients it's as simple process of just writing a different word.
Containers: If you don't want to keep loose ingredients in plastic containers, that's fine. But don't think they're useless, large containers or baskets are perfect for holding all your spreads, syrups, oils and vinegars and can be pulled out instead of rummaging around looking for something.
Shelf tray/Lazy susans: I totally want and recommend buying a duo lazy susan to stack small ingredients, but they're not easy to find on the Sunshine Coast, so I just stuck with an extendable shelf that allows enough room for small items under and larger ones on top, which works perfectly for my pantry.
Potatoes, Onions, etc: I keep all these types of ingredients in stacking bins at the bottom of my pantry.
Mesh bags: Add a hook on the inside of your pantry and throw all your apples, oranges, etc, in a mesh bag and put it on the hook. These are pretty cheap at markets or even supermarkets. Netting is also a good way to make some if you are handy with a sewing machine.
So go forth and conquer! I would love to know any other tips etc and photos! Comment below if you have any ☺️