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How to Organize Your Pantry

Welcome back to The Frugal Teacher. Last time we focused on meal planning and finding those favorite family meals you can use on a rotation. This time I’d like to focus on how to organize your pantry. Pantries come in all styles and sizes. I’ve seen walk-in pantries and pantries that are kitchen cabinets. I’ve even seen pantries that are plastic storage containers stacked on top of one another. Regardless of your pantry size, keeping it organized will save you money and help you meal plan.

Pantries are the foundation for meal planning. They hold all of the staples your family needs each week. Keeping a well-stocked pantry, like meal planning, will help you avoid that tempting drive-thru and save you money. How you organize your pantry is a personal choice and one that works for your family. If you need ideas, I highly recommend having all labels facing forward so they can be easily seen and separating food into sections like canned goods, boxed goods, snack items, breakfast items, spices, baking goods, condiments/syrups, etc. Don’t worry about buying all those fancy storage containers and labeling your food. Simply group items by category, face labels outward, and put the oldest items in the front and the newest in the back. Easy! Once you get your pantry organized, feel free to email a pic to show off your hard work.

If you’ve ever worked at a grocery store, you know that rotating stock so that the oldest items get used first is key. Your pantry should be no different - rotate canned and boxed items so that the newest are in the back and the oldest will be the first one someone grabs. Use expiration dates to help judge what items need to be used up right now, soon, or can wait a while. In our house, I put an item that’s going to expire soon right on the kitchen counter as a visual reminder that it needs to be eaten or used asap. My family knows that our next meal will include that item in some way, shape, or form. Next time we’ll talk about how to stock up on items when they go on sale so that your pantry stays well-stocked and you can avoid making unnecessary trips to the grocery store.


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