Organize Your Pantry by Zones

Zoning your pantry helps you see what food you have, what you need to restock, and where the groceries belong.

Get in the Zone

Divide your pantry in zones to keep your food organized and to reduce your meal-preparation time. First, identify food and cooking categories that suit your lifestyle (weeknight dinners, portable lunches, baking, etc.) Next, designate an area for each, with the most often-used zones in easy reach. Finally, label each zone.

Zone 1: Impromptu Entertaining

Stock a selection of fast-fix appetizers, napkins, toothpicks, and trays in baskets. When company arrives pull one down, and you're ready to get the party started.

Zone 2: Baking Supplies

Keep dry ingredients in clear, airtight containers that stack neatly and show you when your stock is low. Place mixes, frostings, and other ingredients on a nearby shelf.

Zone 3: Easy Weeknight Meals

Put a week's worth of dinner fixings front and center in sturdy bins. Divide each bin by meal.

More Pantry Ideas

Learn how to organize your pantry using a few tools of the trade.

Mealtime Magic

Plan and shop for several meals at once, then sort the non-perishable ingredients for each, including side dishes, into bins or baskets. Attach a label and the recipe. Now that meal preparation time is cut in half, you'll have more time to relax after work.

Zone 4: General Food Storage

Group food by type (veggies, fruits, soups, etc.) and arrange in rows on the shelf. Stair-step shelves put the back row of cans in view.

Zone 5: Lunch on the Run

Store lunch items, utensils, napkins, and bags together to make packing easier. This arrangement also makes preparing weekend lunches a snap.

Zone 6: Quick Breakfasts

Keep morning meals in an easy-access spot. Breads fit in an undershelf basket, and a double-decker turntable makes the most of a corner.

Zone 7: Tools and Appliances

Hang bulky or seldom-used utensils from hooks mounted on the wall or back of the door. If space allows, store specialty appliances in the pantry, too.

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