5 Tips for Stocking Your Pantry

Our pantries are an extension of ourselves.  They show how we create food for those we love and give us a chance to stock up for times when we might not be able to make a quick run to the grocery store.  Unfortunately, many people are sorely confused about stocking their pantry, which items to get, and where they should be placed.  This is a rundown on all things to consider when you’re laying out your dream pantry.


Items you use multiple times a week, like oil, pasta, extra seasonings, rice, or even quinoa: belong on your shelves at all times.  Ensure that these items sit on a frame that’s close to eye level and easy to reach.  Keeping them at this height will ensure that you notice when you’re running low and that you don’t have the chance to run out and have to go for an emergency food run later.

Long-Term Staples

Consider which items you may not need at all times, but you’d like to keep them on hand when possible.  This could mean constantly having at least one can of black beans or ensuring there’s a box of hamburger helper for when you have a day where you need something simple and tasty.  These staples could range from canned tuna to elbow macaroni, they’re nothing that you would eat every week, but you reach for them often enough that they deserve a spot on the shelves. 

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Additional Guilty Pleasures

What things bring you joy, even if they’re not necessarily a functional staple?  Delicious treats like pepper jelly, macaroni and cheese, and cookies deserve a spot of their own.  Because of the nature of these items, it’s more brilliant if you have them higher or away from primary areas.  If you keep your ‘guilty pleasures’ shelf at eye level, you may realize you’re eating them a lot more often than you should be.

Organize Like a Market

Layout your shelves in a way that makes everything easy to see and easy to grab.  You might have bought that giant can of hominy with the best intentions, but if you keep it buried under pasta and cans of black beans, you may forget it’s there.  Instead, pay close attention to where your items are and how you can reach them.  If you buy multiples of an item and realize you have extras, place the newer versions of the article behind the older versions to use them chronologically.  

Check Dates Every Year

Although most expiration dates have a little wiggle room, some don’t have much give before they start tasting off.  Nobody wants to find a jar of olives that expired ten years ago in their cabinet.  For this reason alone, you should attempt to check your pantry dates at least once a year.  Look at the dates, clean your shelves, and reorganize if necessary.  Although this advice is more for maintaining your pantry in the long term, it can save you a lot of wasted space and help you realize what you may never use.

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