Recently I've been undertaking to get our pantry in order. Actually, we've never really had a pantry; although I love the room-sized pantries in the Victorian homes in our area, our house, built c.1950, has no pantry. However, just off the kitchen is a linen closet. For about seven years, I've used this linen closet as part pantry and part linen storage - but last month I sorted through the the closet, discovered I didn't need most of the linens and could move all the other stuff out of there. Suddenly, I had a spot dedicated entirely to food.
I began by taking everything out of the closet. Then I wiped it down with a damp, soapy sponge, allowed it to dry, and laid down some contact paper that looks like green marble. (Contact paper not only makes the area look more attractive, it makes clean up easier if you spill something on the shelves.)
Then I designated a type of food for each of the five shelves: kid food (including baby food, cans of apple juice, and foods only the kids eat, like macaroni and cheese); vegetables; fruits; canned meats and fish; and grains, beans, and flours. I found that where I once complained I didn't have nearly enough space to store even a weeks' worth of food in the pantry, I suddenly had plentiful space. So much space, in fact, I decided it was finally time to follow Proverbs 31:21 and plan ahead a bit. If we have a sudden snow storm, for example, I want to have at least two weeks' worth of food in the pantry to get us by.
There are also other benefits to a well-stocked, well-organized pantry. You should have seen my husband's face when he opened the pantry after I cleaned it. He was delighted that suddenly he could find what he wanted (!) and that it was so full of "good stuff."
A well-stocked pantry also makes grocery shopping a bit easier (since you have basic supplies already at home), and if you keep food items in the same place every time you restock, you'll always be able to quickly and easily find them. Too, when - despite your best efforts - you run out of planned meals at the end of the month, a well stocked pantry can save the day.
So with all these things in mind, I'll be making several posts about creating and organizing a pantry. It may sound weird to some, but truly, my pantry has become a thing of delight in my household, where once it was a source of frustration. Why not try organizing and stocking your pantry, too?
Read Part II of the Plentiful Pantry series
Read Part III of the Plentiful Pantry series