5 Days of Meal Planning & Menu Organization – Day 4: The Pantry

So far in this series we have learned to make a “Master Command Center”, plan the “Weekly Menu” and complete the “Shopping” on a budget. Now it is time to figure out what to do with all your great buys from the shopping trip. 

One of the best tips I can offer for organizing just about anything is that everything has a place! When it comes to the pantry, the same holds true. Go through your pantry and assign everything a spot. Place like-items together so that you are able to do a mental inventory of what you have available to use. This will also help when you compile your weekly shopping list, because if you see an empty spot you know what needs replaced. 

Here is an example of my pantry. (It’s not the best example but I’m working on it!) Every shelf is assigned a genre of food. The top shelf is a miscellaneous mix of extra supplies including coffee, homemade jams and home canned goods. Next, we have the snack foods. I carefully chose this shelf’s placement because it is just out of reach for the kiddos, haha. Then comes the non-perishable boxed items, such as pastas, meal kits, muffin mixes, cakes mixes, etc…  The middle shelf holds the items that I want the kids to be able to help themselves to, like cereals. It is also my overflow shelf where I keep any extras that do not have a specific place in the system. An example of this would be the chips. We happened to have a Mexican night this week leaving behind extra tortilla chips. Just below that are the canned goods. This shelf is where it is most important to sort items into groups. I love the can bleacher that I found at Wal-mart, pictured on the left, it helps me stack cans so I can still see them and they aren’t hidden behind the one in front. The bottom shelf I use to store extra baking goods which have their own canisters on my counter tops. I also store some extra small appliances there.

Sarah from “Sidetracked Sarah” also has some great pantry tips and gadgets in her post from yesterday. I encourage you to check them out here

Now to tackle the fridge. I use the same organization system as my pantry, but it takes a little more preparation. Here are some space saving fridge tips:
  • Store like-things together with the earliest expiration dates in the front or on the top.
  • Pre-wash all fruits and veggies except berries.
  • Wash and chop lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, etc…
  • De-stem and wash grapes and other bulk packaged items. This will help them keep longer because you will be able to spot any that might speed the decomp process. (No one likes mushy fuzzy grapes!)
  • Package snack foods into individual portions so you and the kids can grab a bag and go.
  • Do a weekly sweep checking expiration dates and discarding old science projects leftovers. haha
  • Use labels or color coding for children’s drinks. My girls always keep a sealed cup of water in the fridge to which they can help themselves to. Each child has a color and knows which one belongs to them. 
I hope these tips help keep your pantry and fridge organized and clutter-free. I think that once you establish “your” system and stick to it, you will find menu planning, shopping and cooking much less stressful, equaling a more pleasant mealtime!

Tomorrow, I will be sharing more organizing and money-saving tips that I find helpful!


I am excited to be part of this 5 day series with a group of great bloggers! This week you can read about organizing things from your kitchen, homschool room, fitness routine and much much more. Make sure to click over to the main landing page and check out all the different topics and post. Also register below for the $35 paypal gift certificate. Visit the other bloggers for more giveaways!

2 thoughts on “5 Days of Meal Planning & Menu Organization – Day 4: The Pantry

  1. I usually organize my refrigerator and pantry with similar items together. Makes perfect sense to me. I just wish everyone else in the house agreed with that. 😀

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