We give you tips on how to keep your pantry organised to help reduce wastage
Remember that tin of dried sage leaves or bottle of oyster sauce you had to throw away because it expired? Remember how it felt when you realised you hadn’t even cracked the seal on it as yet? With all good intentions, we are all guilty of this excess, sometimes because we never get around to using the fancy ingredients we have bought in the past and sometimes because we just forget they are there.
Here are a few tips that will help you in keeping your pantry organised.
List it out
A well-stocked and organised pantry – be it a small cupboard or a set of drawers – helps tremendously when you go grocery shopping. Knowing what and how much you have helps reduce over stocking. Any cool, dry space works best for storing non-perishables, and remember that the fridge is part of your pantry too. When first organising your pantry, empty out everything on to a table to see what you already have. Keeping in mind the kind of cooking you do on a daily basis, and the number of people you cook for, list out what you have and what you need to buy on your next shopping trip.
Old is not always gold
Next, get rid of anything that is past its expiration date. Sauces, spices, herbs, baking goods and all – if it is old, it goes. Any spices that haven’t been used in the last year should go as well – if you haven’t used it in this time, chances are you don’t need it (see our story ‘Organise your spice rack’).
All about those zones
A great way to stay organised is to divide your pantry into zones. Figure out a system that works for you and your family. For example, breakfast time can get hectic – group cereals, mixes, coffee into one breakfast section for ease. Baking supplies can be grouped together as well so that you have everything in one place when you need them (see our story ‘6 baking essentials every kitchen must have’).
A little investment goes a long way
Getting a few storage essentials is key. Clear glass or plastic containers work well. (see our story ‘Organise the supplies you buy in bulk’). Buy rectangular containers instead of round ones to ease storage, these can be stacked one above the other. Use labels to mark use-by-date clearly. A pull out storage rack or a Lazy Susan can also help when space is tight.
Keep an eye out
Review your supplies every week to ensure perishable items are used before their expiry. Give your pantry a quick once over to see what you need and have a shopping list pad hanging nearby to jot those down for your next grocery trip. This is best done when you’re planning your meals for the week.
When shopping for dried herbs, buy smaller quantities of those you don’t use often. Take stock of perishable items like meats, cheeses, fresh herbs and vegetables you consume keeping in mind how often you go shopping – once a week, fortnightly, etc. – and only buy what you need every time. Over stocking of perishables only leads to wastage.