At this stage of disorganization, we think it's best to just do a total overhaul, so overhaul it we will.
Step One is to clear out all four shelves of our pantry and get everything out on the counter where we can see it and deal with it. Normally we might be able to get away with reorganizing one shelf at a time, but there's been far too much cross-shelf contamination for that to work this time. We'll start at the beginning.
Step Two is to spend some time going through everything we've been squirreling away. We'll check for expiration dates and throw away what is no longer good or needed. We'll repackage the ends of boxes and jars into smaller containers, and make a note to use those up soon.
Step Three is the actual reorganization. Right on the counter, we'll group together things that we want on the same shelf. Personally, we like to reserve the top two shelves for unrefrigerated savory ingredients along with canned and dry goods. Baking supplies go on the third shelf, and snacks and back-up supplies usually live on the very bottom shelf.
Step Four then becomes putting everything back on the shelves in a way that makes sense and (hopefully) encourages future organization maintenance. Eventually, we'd really like to get containers in which we can keep ingredients grouped together. This would make it easier to stay organized and also grab what you need without having to dig through everything. But we'll save that particular project for the next Kitchn Cure!
Our shelves are incredibly deep, so we put tall and rarely-used items toward the back, like large bottles of vinegar. The middle is for general supplies, like those canned goods. Then we try to keep the front part of the shelf reserved for things that we use almost daily, like flour and dried pasta.
Or that's the plan anyways! We'll report back next week to let you know how our pantry reorganization played out.
Could your pantry use a little TLC?!
Related: What Every Pantry Needs: Savory
(Images: Emma Christensen for the Kitchn)