Cooking can be a PLEASANT experience, provided your kitchen and pantry are efficient! French kitchens are generally small compared to kitchens in other countries, so you will first have to come to terms with all that bulk shopping you have been accustomed to. Taking the time to reorganize your kitchen and pantry will result in less waste of food, less stress when preparing a meal, and easier clean-up for the whole family! Many of us spend a good percentage of our day in the kitchen: isn't it worth it to make this part of your home the most pleasant and welcoming room in the house?
If you want to be organized and efficient in managing the food that gets purchased and used in your household, the PANTRY is the place to start...
6 STEPS to an Organized Pantry
Get rid of anything that can be stored elsewhere: limit this space only to FOOD and paper goods. This makes it easier to find what you are looking for when evening arrives and there are hungry mouths to feed!
Double the shelf space, if the cabinets are large enough, by adding racks or small plastic removable shelves (can be bought at MUJI and IKEA). Rather than stacking canned goods and other items, some things go on top of the modulable « shelf » and some things go under it.
Consolidate. If you have three open packages of spaghetti, put them all into one. Better yet, buy transparent containers for bulky items (pasta, cereal, chips, etc) so that the whole family can see what's inside at a glance.
Store items according to categories ( all starches together, all coffees and teas together, all baking goods together...). It usually makes the most sense to place items which are used together in the same vicinity (flour, baking soda, sugar – create a «baking goods » area).
Label what goes where (either inside the pantry door, or on each shelf). This is important so that the other family members can find items easier. It will save you time and money when preparing a trip to the supermarket, and also will simplify the task of putting the new groceries back into the pantry!
My personal space-saving favorite is the over-the-kitchen-door plastic shoe organizer for small items such as tea bags, nuts, decorations for birthday cakes, clips and twists to close bags, etc...make sure you buy the transparent one!
So now you say, « It's time to get cookin' », but WAIT!! Not so fast!! First, here are a few tips to improve the kitchen space which will save you significant time.
6 TIPS for an Organized Kitchen
If you often use spices and seasonings when cooking, find a spare drawer or a sturdy box, which enables you to store the bottles upright – mark the contents on the lid.
Hang towels, pot holders and other like items inside cabinet doors with suction hooks. These bulky items often take up way too much drawer or shelf space in the average kitchen.
Store pot lids and container lids separate from the pots, to allow for space-saving stacking. Lids and baking sheets should be stored upright – bookends work well to hold these upright!
Use wall space to hang keys, backpacks, a basket for the mail – free up counter space in the kitchen where other family members tend to dump their belongings upon arrival!
Allocate a drawer or box for arts and crafts materials – entertain the little ones at the table while you cook without children hanging all over you (dangerous, and oh-so-annoying)!
Free up precious counter space by keeping appliances and other items there which are used only on an every-day basis. The rest should go find a home elsewhere!
Taking the time to reorganize your kitchen and pantry will result in less waste of food, less stress when preparing a meal, and easier clean-up for the whole family! Many of us spend a good percentage of our day in the kitchen: isn't it worth it to make this part of your home the most pleasant and welcoming room in the house?