If you are like me, when I started experimenting with plant-based foods, along with cooking what I regularly would cook for my husband, my pantry started to grow, and grow, and get crowded, and then it would grow some more. I would get overwhelmed and upset just looking at it! I wanted to share with you what I’ve learned about organizing my pantry to make sure I can see everything, know what I have, and can quickly get to it when cooking.
#2 – Get Your Pantry Organized!
Here is our “shared” pantry for 5 people. And it truly is shared, 3 vegan and 2 omnivore.
I have labels on my jars, some that I bought others are recycled tomato sauce jars, that I use to store my bulk goods in. Quinoa, oats, raw almonds, dried beans, flour, nutritional yeast, etc. are all things I use regularly. I don’t go crazy, (although it can be hard with all the adorable labels out there!) but just the things I might have in the back that are always a staple so I can easily see what it is without having to move everything.
I have a small shelf for my canned goods since I usually don’t store much canned. The only things I buy canned are beans if I’m being lazy (which is almost always), tomato sauce/paste, jackfruit, hearts of palm, and the emergency Amy’s Vegan Chili or a canned vegan soup. Since I don’t usually buy excess of them I have a corner shelf to keep them up and they can be stacked no matter the size of the cans.
I also have a small step shelf that was originally used for spices and dried herbs, but now is used for small jars and other things so that they can be lined up in front of other items without blocking the view.
Probably my best pantry organizing hack so far! I buy my seasonings in bulk. It’s cheaper to buy them this way and since you can get only what you might need it’s less space and they should be fresher since you’ll keep rotating them more. I keep them in a plastic pencil box, but you can use whatever you’d like. I have them in alphabetical order so I don’t waste time looking at each bag. The other upside to this as well is that before going plant-based I had my handful of herbs and spices I used on a regular basis and then a few blends. But now cooking more things from scratch and cooking with more/different flavors I never used before, I started to accumulate a LOT of different seasonings. I had 3 kinds of paprika – regular paprika, sweet paprika, and then smoked paprika. I also had 3 chili powders too – regular chili powder, mexican chili powder, chipotle chili powder. Not to mention the herbs that have the dried herb version and the powder version. Since changing to my “Seasoning Codex” I’ve saved so much space, time, and money.
Buy Only What You Know You Need
This is more for your whole kitchen, not just for your pantry. One thing I had to learn was to not buy excess. I use to try to buy enough for a whole week – lunches, dinner, etc. As you can tell there wasn’t a lot of fresh ingredients. But since I started using more fresh ingredients and not knowing how filling certain recipes would be, I started buying just what I know I needed for the next few days. It also made me like grocery shopping more. It didn’t take forever and all I would have to get was a small basket at a time.
I hope that what I’ve shared will help your cooking experience in some way.
Clean out your pantry, and have a happy, healthy, and organized shared kitchen!