Ok, maybe it is a little OCD, but it really does make me feel better….especially on rough days. Makes me feel like there is at least ONE thing in order. 🙂
I’d like to share my top 5 reasons to keep an organized pantry. You might not think anything of pantry organization, but here are some things to consider:
1. It makes taking inventory of food for grocery shopping a whole lot easier.
Think about it – how can you know how many of something you have or how many more you need to buy if they aren’t sorted or kept where you can see them?? How much time are we wasting searching for all the cans of beans to see if we need to buy more?
My time is valuable, and I’d rather not spend it looking for all the cans of tuna to make sure I have enough for the week. If I have my cans sorted and lined up, I can easily glance at the shelf and take count. It’s 5 seconds versus 5 minutes (or more!).
2. Pantry organization creates less waste.
Raise your hand if you have ever discovered a can or box of something in the back of your pantry that had expired? I know I have. It’s so irritating….especially if that was your last can of it!
If I remember to sort my food items and keep the further out expiration dated items in the back, I am less likely to forget about an item because I’ll be using those items first. Honestly, I haven’t had an expired can of anything discovered in a long time…..ONLY because I make sure I rotate (first in, first out!) my items so I use the nearest expiration date items first. Again, it’s a minute of organization instead of frustration when I find an item I spent money on but can no longer use.
Not only is it the food we waste but the MONEY. I am big on food budgets, but if I’m not paying attention to the age of items…I am wasting money. So, I saved a buck at the store just to turn around and waste that buck when I lose the item in my pantry.
3. It cuts down on dinner prep time.
Not only is my time valuable, but it is LIMITED. I don’t have 5 minutes to stand there and search for that can of tomatoes I know I have but forgot where I placed. I need to be able to get in there, quickly grab my items and get cooking before the kids get crazy! Whether you have one child or five, you know what I’m talking about…we don’t always have the luxury of standing around taking our sweet time making dinner. Someone’s flushing something, burning something, hurting someone, breaking something….or is that just with my kids?!
4. Helps the kids be a little more independent (within reason).
I have created a shelf in the pantry to be the “kid shelf.” It has their snacks (individually bagged – yes, a waste of baggies but a HUGE help in getting snacks quickly) and juice boxes. My two oldest are trustworthy (most of the time) enough to send into the pantry and grab snacks for the four big kids. If I keep the items they can pick within reach and organized, they can help me out by getting snacks for everyone. I have found this to be a HUGE help, especially when I am nursing the baby. Keeping the snacks divided into baggies has been wonderful, also, so I don’t have to monitor how much of something they are pouring or picking out. Two big graham crackers in a snack bag, 2/3 cup of trail mix bagged, 15 or so animal crackers. You get the idea.
Now, if I had these items all over the place in the pantry and sent my oldest in to retrieve something…I could lose her in there! Keeping them sorted and within reach really has helped me out and helped her feel a little more like a big kid because she gets to “make” snack for us all. Of course, they are of the understanding that they have to ask me before they can go take something. I can’t have them grabbing a pudding cup whenever they want; those are a treat for once a week, not every day!
5. It reduces the stress when your husband is helping out. 🙂
If your husband is like mine, he is rarely in the pantry…except to get a snack, and he knows exactly where those are. But, what happens if you are sick? Or if you are taking care of one of the kids and he needs to get something for another? Can he find things quickly and effortlessly?
Or is he having to rummage through cans and bags and boxes of things to find what he needs? I now my husband does NOT want to spend several minutes looking for the crackers, only to come find me and ask me where in the world I put them. It’s a waste of his time, and he gets frustrated with the chaos in the pantry.
Having the chips grouped together, the cereals lined up next to each other, the snacks, the pasta, the beans, all in order….he is able to go in and find the item he needs quickly….without giving him enough time to stress or get frustrated. 🙂 And, especially if Mom is sick or not feeling well, a frustrated Dad is not what we need!
The less stress, the better.
Those are my top reasons for keeping your pantry organized. I know there are more important things in life than organizing our pantries….but wouldn’t you rather focus on those important things than waste time searching for that can of tuna?!