Ever look at your pantry and feel uninspired? These simple storage solutions will get your culinary creative juices flowing.
Why Should I Change How I Store my food?
At first go it may seem like it doesn’t matter how your ingredients are stored. The eggs are still eggs, and it takes work to maintain beautiful things. But, life is more enjoyable wen we take care with the little things. Properly storing ingredients can encourage you to waste less food, keep your ingredients fresh for longer, save money by using what you have, and encourage you to be more creative in the kitchen.
1. Make Your Refrigerator Beautiful
In the modern era of electricity, your fridge is probably the appliance you touch most often. Every meal seems to need something perishable, and looking at boring plastic shelves can feel dreary.
Start by cleaning out your fridge, removing everything from it and doing a thorough wipe down. Now is the time to take a look at what has expired or is running low.
Next, see what ingredients are hard to reach and see. Is there something you can rearrange to make it more functional? Take some time playing around with organization. Don’t be afraid to scrap your old system if it isn’t functional anymore.
Can Simple Storage Solutions Be Beautiful?
Adding touches of beauty into your fridge storage is easy! In the photos above, you can see that I decided to make my eggs a focal point of my fridge. Eggs are something that I love to use, but it can be frustrating digging out the squished cardboard box from under piles of ingredients in the fridge. The bright fabric I tied around the bowl adds a fun pop of color, and makes it easy to reach into the fridge and quickly grab an egg. The soft material also protects the eggs from chipping or cracking in the container.
Mason jars are one of my favorite ways of storing ingredients in the fridge. Putting berries into glass also keeps them fresh longer. Storing things in glass jars also has the added bonus of being able to see how much and what you have ready to use. These jars are easily stackable, unlike the fragile plastic cartons that berries typically come in.
Fresh flowers in a pretty vase are also a great addition to your fridge. They will keep things smelling fresh, bring a smile to your face every time you open the door, and stay perky for longer in the cold.
2. Create an Accessible Freezer
While it may be harder to make the freezer beautiful, adding function will help you create better meals. In my freezer, I added bins and a pull out drawer. This allowed me to store food vertically while still being able to see and access what is underneath. Most food only stays good for three months in the freezer, so remembering to use up what you have is important. If you double batch and freeze meals to prep in advance, being able to see what you have already prepared will save you time and money.
How Expensive are These Simple Storage Solutions?
Organizing my fridge and freezer cost me almost nothing. For the most part, I repurposed baskets and jars that I already had. Just because something is not labelled as a fridge storage item doesn’t mean you can’t use it that way. As long as what you are putting in your cold storage can withstand the temperature and is durable enough to handle being cleaned after food is in it, you are good to go.
3. Label & Organize Your Spices
In most people’s homes, spices are underutilized. To make my spices more accessible, I bought an elevated rack, and matching jars that came with labels. Since arranging my spices this way, I have used them more frequently, and also been able to see what I need to use up or replenish. Spices are expensive, and you should use them up within a year for peak freshness. Don’t let your money go down a drain and your recipes suffer by allowing spices to go stale hidden in a cupboard.
Affordable Alternatives for Simple Storage Solutions
If you can’t afford to buy elevated racks or matching jars, there are other options for you. Try using cardboard or small boxes to create tiers for your jars. You can save jars that you use, like oui yoplait yogurt containers, to decant your spices into. They can be found for sale very cheap online. I would also recommend checking our your local thrift store, facebook marketplace free section, local facebook no-buy groups, or freecycle.com for jars.
4. Decant Dry Goods
When it comes to dry goods, this is the one area where I would recommend splurging on airtight containers. Small buys like weevils like to get into flour and grains, and they will ruin your other food as well. Putting your dry goods into clear stackable containers is so helpful for keeping food fresh, and seeing what you have available. You can also use mason jars for this since they are airtight. There are always jars on sale at my local thrift store, so I would recommend this as a budget alternative.
Since my food has been organized this way, it is so simple to look into my pantry and create a quick and delicious meal. I hadn’t realized until I did this that I had flax seeds and other things I could have been using in my smoothies each morning. When things are unorganized, items often get lost in the shuffle. It has also been inspiring me to use some of my more creative ingredients like preserved lemons and pine nuts. When I see an item every day, I am more likely to want to cook with it. Also, when I see a recipe I want to try online, I can simply open my cabinet to see if I have what is needed. No need for rifling around and opening boxes when your pantry is easy to see, just get cooking!
5. Rearrange Canned Goods
Canned goods can often get forgotten about, especially if you can’t see all of what you have. Organizing the cans by categories like legumes, vegetables, fruits, soups, meats, ect… will help you keep stock of what you already have and use it up. It is also important that you can see the labels on all of your cans. You can do this by staggering them, or stacking them on top of the same item.
Simple Storage Solutions Bonus Tips
For bonus organization, you can keep an inventory written down of what you have available in a notebook or your notes app, and cross out something when you use it. This will give you an up to date list of what you have so that when you go grocery shopping it is easy to know what you need. This also prevents you from buying more of what you don’t need, or making a recipe without an ingredient that you couldn’t find when it was pushed to the back.
Have These Simple Storage Solutions Made Me a Better Cook?
Yes! Seeing what I have available has made me a more creative and efficient home cook. When I know what ingredients are available to me, it makes cooking more fun and less of a hassle. There are even websites and apps like Super Cook that allow you to type in ingredients, and they will give you recipes with those ingredients. Organizing and beautifully storing things properly in my freezer and fridge has saved me money and frustration. Being able to see my spices in clean and beautiful clear jars helps me to use them regularly, and results in more flavorful meals. Finally, decanting dried goods and organizing canned goods gives me peace of mind knowing what I have, and that it is safe from spoiling and pests.
What Creative Storage Solutions Do You Love?
Share your favorite kitchen and food organization tips in the comments below. What would you like me to help you organize next? For help organizing your computer and designing a beautiful desktop home screen click here.