Do you feel frustrated just thinking about your pantry shelves? If you are shutting the door and hoping your guests never get a peek inside, then these tips for Pantry Organization for a Large Family might be helpful.
It might be time to tackle this project if you are unsure of what you have, or find yourself getting frustrated because you know you have a can of pineapple but can’t find it. Having an organized pantry will save you both time and money. You will be able to take inventory efficiently before your next grocery trip, so you know exactly what you need.
Pantry Organization for a Large Family
Have you ever bought a new bag of flour just to find a half-used bag in the very back shelf a few days later? Or even worse, having a kid go in your pantry and knock that half-used bag off the shelf and coating everything in flour dust?
If you are struggling to keep your pantry organized with a large family, these tips and ideas will help you get it under control without breaking the bank.
Start With a Clean Space
The first tip to organize your pantry on a budget is to take everything out and start with a clean space. Check use-by dates and pitch anything that is expired. Wash down the shelves and door. Once you have everything out of the pantry, you can visualize how and where you will put the items back in. Check out these room cleaning tips and get a room-by-room free printable.
With a large family, you know how important a well-stocked pantry can be for meal prep and planning. Take inventory of what you already have and what you might need to purchase. This is an important step to do before putting items back in your pantry because you want to leave room for those items you are going to buy.
I love a good spreadsheet for my pantry inventory so I can see at a glance what items I have on hand, what items are running low, and what I might need to purchase.
A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place
Once you have everything cleaned out and have taken inventory of the items you are going to put back, then it is time to tackle the actual pantry organization on a budget. When you are taking stock of what you have and the space available, make sure you can visualize where things will go. Is there a place for everything? If you are telling yourself you’re just going to squish one more thing in “somewhere” – then that’s not going to work. To manage my chaotic and lively family I’ve relied on these incredible wall organizers. I love how I can customize it for my exact needs and it’s been a game-changer for us. The command center has been what’s kept my sanity all these years.
Like Goes with Like
A really simple way to start organizing your pantry is by grouping similar types of foods together. This part won’t take very long to do and it makes it simple to find what you need.
If you have multiple boxes of the same type of crackers or bags of chips, put them all on one shelf or in one bin. That way you will know at a glance you have multiples and will not overbuy on your next grocery trip. When looking for a certain type of chips, they’re going to be in that one place. This is a simple way to start organizing when you’re not quite ready to spend money on new bins and other organizational accessories.
Not all Pantry Staples are Friends
It is also good to note that some foods don’t do well when stored together. Potatoes, for example, will spoil faster if they are stored with onions and garlic. They will do better if stored in completely different cupboards from each other but, at the very least, keep them in individual bins on separate shelves.
If you are going to put onions, garlic, or potatoes in your pantry then also be mindful of airflow. They should be kept in a wire crate or basket rather than an airtight container.
When storing spices in your pantry, separate the stronger or more potent ones from items that might easily absorb the scent. For example, keep your chili powder away from a bag of flour. Storing spices and dry goods in air-tight containers, however, will also help solve this problem.
Let’s Be Clear On Pantry Organization
If you want to use containers or bins in your pantry organization, go for clear options. Storage containers are quite affordable these days which is a bonus for big family organization. Clear bins will let you see exactly what’s in each one as well as the amount. Being able to see the amount of a dry good will save you time when making your grocery list because you won’t have to open a bunch of individual containers when taking stock.
For even more clarity be sure to label each container with a decal. Use a dry-erase marker or chalk pencil to note the expiration date as well.
Mismatched cereal boxes can be such a pain when organizing your pantry for a large family. Everyone likes a different cereal and none of the boxes are quite the same size, so I end up with boxes tucked in various cabinets where they fit. Are you the same way?
One way to solve the cereal storage dilemma is to grab a set of actual cereal containers. (Again, go for the clear version!) They will be uniform in size which makes it easy to appoint a true space in your pantry where the cereal can be all grouped together.
It’s Snack-time Somewhere
If you have a bunch of kids running in and out of your house, then you know snack-time is always on the menu, right? There are generally two strategies when it comes to snacks in the pantry. Some moms prefer to put the snacks up high so they can control them a bit more. I prefer to let my kids independently grab a snack; so I have a dedicated snack space on the lower shelves.
Keep these kids’ snacks all grouped together in functional baskets or bins. Make it easy for the kids to access them without making a mess. For example, trail mix is a popular snack at my house and I save money by buying this in bulk. Then I use little snack bowls with lids to portion it out and put it in the snack section. Having a few different snacks in smaller portions will let your kids make their own choices, but will also prevent messes or them eating you out of house and home. (I use this same tip for refrigerated snacks – portion them out and make sure they are accessible for little hands).
Make Use of the Space
When learning how to organize a pantry for a large family, you will want to take advantage of all the space. Most pantries have empty space underneath the bottom shelf. This is a great place for a set of wire pull-out drawers. Pull-outs will keep items up off the floor but still give you additional storage space which is key for pantry organization for a large family.
Heavier items might be a good choice for these pull-outs or even the aforementioned snacks.
Don’t Forget the Door
Use wire baskets or even a fabric shoe organizer on the inside of your pantry door to store smaller items. I like to keep bag clips, Ziploc bags, birthday candles, etc. on the inside of the door. This is making ultimate use of every space and also keeps those smaller, easy-to-misplace items front and center.
When you’re storing things like spice bottles, a tiered shelf will save space and also allow you to read the labels on everything in the back. These little tiers sit right on top of your existing shelf and elevate the items in the rear, making everything easily accessible.
Turn, Turn, Turntables
Consider adding some lazy susan turntables for your pantry shelves. These rotate in a circle, so you can access what is in the back without having to move everything aside. They come in different sizes and shapes and are great for pantry organization on a budget. (Pro-tip: they work great on garage shelves or in your refrigerator, too!)
Maintaining Your Organizational System
One of the very first tips for pantry organization for a large family was to remember a place for everything and everything in its place, right? Now that you have your pantry all organized you will need to maintain it. (Sometimes this is the hardest part!)
When choosing your bins and containers, take into account how committed you are to this process. If you start transferring cereal to uniform containers, will that be a practice you can continue easily? If you have organized your pantry with function and accessibility in mind, then you will be able to maintain it. This will save you time, money, and energy in the long run!
Having an organized pantry will take away some of that stress and frustration you feel during meal times. Teach your family to help you by putting items away where they belong. Your whole family will be amazed at how much easier it is to actually see what you have when the pantry is neat and tidy. You will be able to find everything you need when you need it!