How to Organize Your Pantry by Zones for Simple, Effective Food Storage
How to Organize Pantry Zones
Divide your pantry into zones to keep your food organized and reduce meal preparation time. First, identify food and cooking categories that suit your lifestyle (such as weeknight dinners, portable lunches, and baking). Next, designate an area for each, with the most often-used zones in easy reach. Finally, label each zone to keep the sections straight. A pantry door organizer ($40, Bed Bath & Beyond) might be a suitable place to store after-school snacks for kids.
Pantry Zone 1: Impromptu Entertaining
The best pantry organization ideas anticipate your food-related problems and emergencies. Stock a selection of fast-fix appetizers, napkins, toothpicks, and trays in baskets. Store them on a top shelf so they're not taking up room where everyday products should go. When guests arrive, pull a basket down and you're ready to get the party started.
Pantry Zone 2: Baking Supplies
There are a lot of kitchen pantry organizers on the market, so choose ones that make sense for each pantry zone you create. Keep dry ingredients in clear, airtight containers ($50, Target) that stack neatly and show you when your stock is low. Place mixes, frostings, and other ingredients on a nearby shelf. You can use pantry shelf risers ($8, The Container Store) to stack ingredients on top of each other in an organized fashion.
Pantry Zone 3: Easy Weeknight Meals
Meal planners will love this small pantry organization tip. After grocery shopping, put a week's worth of dinner fixings front and center in sturdy mesh bins ($15, Bed Bath & Beyond). Attach a label and the recipe. Divide each bin by meal, so when it's time to start cooking, everything you need will be right there. Instead of doing this at the top of each week, you can also keep the bins stocked with your family's go-to meals like spaghetti and meatballs or chicken noodle soup.
Pantry Zone 4: General Food Storage
Pantry Zone 5: Lunch on the Run
Kitchen pantry organizers should make room for non-edible products, too. Store lunch items, utensils, napkins, and bags together to make packing easier. Place them in a basket with handles so you can grab everything at once during busy mornings. This arrangement also makes preparing weekend lunches a snap.
Pantry Zone 6: Quick Breakfasts
Keep morning meals in an easy-access spot so you can find everything you need even in a pre-coffee haze. Breads fit in an undershelf basket ($7, The Container Store), and a double-decker turntable ($11, Walmart) makes the most of a corner. Save the shelf space for boxy items such as cereal, pancake mix, and instant oatmeal. Use can also use this pantry organization idea to create a convenient coffee station for your morning brew.
Pantry Zone 7: Tools and Appliances
Don't take up precious shelf space with your cookware. Instead, 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. Your most-used cookware should remain in your kitchen.