Make your pantry work for you

LIFESTYLE

The most common mistake people make with their kitchen pantry is overstuffing it, says professional organiser Natalie Jane. This is a problem because you can’t see exactly what you already have, making it far more likely that you’ll buy multiples. The result? A waste of food - not to mention money.

Don’t fall into this trap. Review your pantry every season; get rid of expired food and anything you know you won’t use (hello, diet protein bars and shake mixes) and assess whether your storage is working for you.

While you’re in there, wipe down the shelves and wash out your containers.

Natalie is a fan of baskets and glass jars in pantries, to keep items in order, keep food fresh for longer and make it easy to see your ingredients when cooking. She keeps all of her spices together in one rectangular basket that she can easily pull out. “This is especially helpful if you don’t have pantry drawers,” she says.

When you are putting things back in the pantry, think about how you like to work. Don’t try to make your pantry look like something out of an interiors magazine if you don’t live like that.

“Organise your pantry in a way that makes sense to you and your family,” says Natalie. She suggests you put your most-used items on the middle shelves, where they are most accessible, keep heavy items like potatoes and onions in containers on the floor, and put the least-used items on the highest shelf.

“Review your pantry on a regular basis, only keeping items that you know you use. And label things - this makes it easy for everyone in the house to know where items live.”

Lastly, Natalie says to make sure you check your supplies before you go to the supermarket. She likes to keep a whiteboard next to the pantry, where she jots down what she needs as she runs out of ingredients.

“This makes it easier when reviewing what you need at your next supermarket trip or online shop.”

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