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5 easy ways to makeover your pantry

With so many people using it every day, your pantry can get very cluttered very quickly.  Yet it's one area of the house which, if set up properly, will make your heart sing every time you open its doors.  

If you've been too intimidated to try, don't worry - it doesn't need to be Pinterest Perfect.

Just a few simple but clever ideas can turn your pantry from the cupboard of chaos to an oasis of organisation.

1. Chuck & scrub

There's no point even starting while your food items include Curry powder from 1997 and Honey & Soy marinade from before your first child was born.

FIRST, pull everything out of your pantry.  Preferably everything from all of the shelves all at once, because you might want to look at your shelf re-organisation during this process.   Next, throw out everything that's out of date, everything that only has a tiny bit left in it, anything which is spoiled or leaking and things you know you'll never use again.  Unopened items that are good, in date, but you just don't really like (looking at those brandy snaps from the work Christmas hamper), donate to your friends, family or a local charity.

As you go through this process take note of the items that you use frequently and those you use rarely, so you can redistribute the "rare" items up the top and to the back, with daily items front and centre.  Make a list of items to replace as you go (you'll be pretty surprised at the sauces you're still using that are out of date!)

Now with everything out, clean the shelves.  We recommend Bosisto's Multi-Purpose Cleaner, or for particularly grubby pantries, Bosisto's Eucalyptus Solution in a bowl of warm water.  These contain the grease-busting powers of eucalyptus to whisk off any sticky, grimy stains and leave your pantry smelling fresh.

2. The no packet rule

This is the number 1 quickest, and simplest way to transform your pantry.  There are lots of thoughts on food storage - from Tupperware to wicker baskets to jars, but the one thing ALL the experts recommend is getting your packet foods out of the packets and into something else.   Items that you need to de-packet include: 

  •  Dry beans, lentils and rice
  • Pasta
  • Oats & muesli
  • Cereals
  • Flour
  • Biscuits & cookies

We like labelled glass jars because you can see what's inside... they also look pretty enough to display.  Instead of labels, you could also write on them with paint pens.  Buy a selection of different size jars, because you'll probably need some smaller ones for things like nuts, seeds and dried fruit.

Alternatively, clear stacking tupperware-style containers also work well, particularly for smaller amounts of packet food with only bits left (like bits of different cooking sugars in bags).

Baskets - either plastic or wicker - work great in larger areas to hold individual snack items like multipack chips, rarely used packet items and veg like potatoes and onions.  Use flat plastic baskets or serving trays to group together "like" items such as sauces, condiments and spreads.  (If all your sauces and condiments are on a tray it also helps contain spills.).   With tin goods, a handy idea is to upturn baskets at the back to create "staggered" shelving so you can see items at the back.

Chain stores like Kmart, Big W, Ikea and Spotlight have terrific inexpensive pantry storage containers... it doesn't matter what you choose, just get those unsightly packets held together with clips, out of your pantry.  You'll never look back! 

3. Door storage

Have a small pantry?  No problem, just don't forget the door!  Installing a spice rack or holder for your Clingwrap and Tinfoil on the back of the pantry door will free up tonnes of space - you can buy all sorts of inner door racks at Bunnings or online.

4. Chalkboard pantry door

This is another cute idea that depending on the type of pantry you have, can really give it a lift.  Buy chalkboard paint and get painting!   Kids especially will love this.

Jot down your running grocery list or leave each other notes what to heat up for dinner.  Or just to say "Have a great day.  Love you!"

5. Use any unused space

If you're lucky enough to have big pantry with lots of room, consider using that space to "hide" other things taking up room in your kitchen.   Your microwave is a big one, but bottom or top shelves are also great for rarely-used appliances, party supplies, lunch boxes and carry bags.  Just make sure you group them and/ or put them in something.

A cute idea we came across is to use magazine holders to store your cookbooks & recipe files.  Genius!