I get asked a lot how I find inspiration to cook.
I would say 90% of being motivated, is being organised. I do believe if you can clearly see what you have, you can paint a better picture of what to cook.
An organised pantry will not only help make cooking dinner easier, but it will save you from buying groceries you already have amongst the mess.
In my pantry I have everything displayed in containers. I have a mixture of Tupperware modular containers, and the Kmart ‘Tupperware’ look alike containers. They are visible, and I always know what I have. If something is running low, I know it needs topping up. If I finish something, I wash it and put the container back in the exact same spot until I have refilled it.
I can almost guarantee that if you are a ‘shover inner’ – meaning, you just shove your shopping straight into the cupboard, you will not even know what you have in a week’ time. You will over buy, and you will stress when you need to find something you know you have. I’m sure you would all be familiar with the phrase ‘I could have sworn I bought some not long ago’ or ‘I swear I saw it in here the other day’. I can confidently say that we have all been there, done that.
I know everyone’s pantries are different. Some are fortunate enough to have lavish walk in pantries with multiple storage, and others only have a small pull out pantry to work with. Which ever you have, it doesn’t matter. The point here is to make it work with what you have, and to do what’s most efficient for you.
I will admit, it can be a little costly to set up, and there are many ways to go about it to suit your budget, but it does become an investment over time.
If you can see everything that you have, you will never over spend, or waste money. When you have a system that is so visible, you won’t spend on items you already have or waste food that has gone off or stale because someone left the packet open.
I promise, it will change your life!
I get a lot of people messaging me asking me how am i so organised, and the truth is I’m not! I do try my very best to keep everything in its spot, but the reality is, I have 3 kids, and they don’t always have the same plan as me.
I also get the same message over and over saying that they wouldn’t even know where to begin, how to I start to clean and declutter?
Here is how we get started:
Do it slow! If you have the money to go out and buy all the products in one go, great! But if you don’t, do not stress. It is fine to do it in stages. When I started my pantry, I was 21, we had just gotten married, spent all our money on our wedding, bought our first home, and spent all our savings trying to renovate it. I still remember every week putting money away so I could save up and buy another pack of containers. 8 years later, and I’m still reorganising the pantry. There is no rush!
Before you start, I recommend spending a few days to do some research. Have a look at Pinterest, or Instagram, and screenshot all the inspiration you like. Create yourself a mood board of what you like, and what you think would work best in your pantry. You can search words such as, pantry organisation, pantry, pantry goals, or pantry makeover. The internet is a very helpful tool!
Take out everything you have, I’m talking everything! You want to empty all the shelves and lay everything out on the dinning table or the kitchen bench. Once your pantry is emptied, give the shelves a good wipe down with a disinfectant spray. This will automatically make you feel like your house is cleaner!
Sort through everything. Group them into categories. For example, put all your baking goods in one pile, all your spices in another pile, your canned goods together, cereals together, dried goods etc. this will give you a better understanding of what you need.
While you are sorting through the piles, at the same time check the use by dates and the expiries and throw out anything that is well and truly overdue.
If you come across any long-life items, or items that are still in date, but have been lingering in the cupboard for a while because you have never used them, set it aside to donate to a food bank. There are heaps available. You could even put a post up onto Facebook or market place, and someone would be happy to pick it up from you.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT CONTAINER:
Now for the fun part. The containers! Personally, I find modular containers best for storage. You want to use a container that can stack on top of one another to get the most out of your shelf space. This part does come down to personal preference. You want to pick a container that can stack well but are also large enough to store what you have. You don’t want to fill up a container, but still have half bags of food left over. Take some time to research what is available and what is in your budget.
My only suggestion when picking a container is to get it from a store that will always supply it. For example, I wouldn’t be buying containers from Aldi’s Special Buys on a Wednesday. I am a big lover of Aldi, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with Aldi containers, but imagine you go home, put everything into the containers and realise a week later you need more. Their weekly sale would be over, and they will not sell them anymore and you will be stuck wondering what you can do next.
For items that don’t need to be sealed, such as canned good, package meals or sauces. Excess boxes of cereal etc, I find baskets or tubs to work best. I like to place these on the bottom on the pantry.
You can have multiple tubs in the pantry and categories for each tub. For example, if you have kids, I would suggest putting all the kids snacks in one basket, put all your pasta packets into another basket, all your canned food in another and all your oils and condiments into another.
When deciding where to place everything, I suggest keeping all your items that you use often at eye level. These would be your modular containers. That way when you are looking at your pantry you see what you have and what you need.
Once you feel that you have got a little system going, your next investment would be to label your containers. It took me so long to label my containers in my own pantry because I was so indecisive as to what I wanted.
There are also so many ways you can label your containers. You can buy generic ones from Kmart, which are approximately $2 a pack. Use a dynamo label maker or get them custom made.
Ideally it would be best to get your labels custom made. Shop around on Instagram, as there are heaps of small businesses who make them.
I purchased my labels from Cre & Lee, she was so helpful, and guided me through what I needed. I got to customise and select the font I wanted. www.instagram.com/creandlee
Here are a few containers that I have used personally and love!
When I started my pantry, I bought all Tupperware containers, they are honestly fantastic, but they are very pricey! Kmart then came out with a look alike version, and they work just as well!
Tupperware Modular Mates Butler's Pantry Set AUD $ 316.00 https://www.tupperware.com.au/products/22398/ModularMatesButlersPantrySet
KMART 6 Piece Dry Food Storage Set AUD $13.00