How Do You Organize Snacks in a Pantry?
If you have children or you simply love having a variety of snacks available for your own consumption, you might have noticed that snack storage can be a challenge. Children and teenagers often open more than one box or bag of one specific snack. Small items might get shoved to the back of the pantry or fall through the shelving onto the floor. Your younger children might not be able to reach what they want... or perhaps they can reach everything and eat too many cupcakes or bags of pretzels at once. Here are some tips on how to minimize clutter and have an organized pantry thanks to better snack storage strategies.
Keep Childrens Snacks on a Low Shelf
If you dont mind your children helping themselves to certain snack items, try storing them on a lower shelf right at their eye level (or lower). This is, of course, best for healthy items that they can open without help or without making a mess. Granola bars, small cups of fruit, and whole-grain breakfast cereal are good options. If you purchase items in larger containers rather than in single-serve packages, consider portioning them in ziplock bags or easy-to-open plastic containers.
Keeping healthier items toward the middle of the shelf is a good strategy for encouraging them to make good choices. You can keep only healthy items accessible and put the sweet and salty snacks up higher or out of sight. You can also use baskets to hold enough snacks for one day; try assigning each child a different color and placing one sweet snack and several healthy snacks in each basket to help them make their own decisions in a way that is controlled.
Use Bins to Keep Individually Packaged Snacks Neat
Many families with children in school choose to purchase individually packaged snacks to make it easier to make lunches. Pantry organization issues occur when the big bags or boxes get torn open and the individual snacks begin to take over the space. You can combat this by corralling the individual packages in some sort of bin or basket. Dump all of the bags of chips or granola bars out of the bag or box they come in and separate them into bins. This way, all your kids have to do is reach into the bin and take one out. No more mess!
You could also use an over-the-door organizer to keep these small packages neat and tidy. You might be able to find one that will hold enough snacks for a full week. On the weekends, fill up the partitions with the number of snacks needed for lunches and let your kids choose what they want throughout the week. This can teach them delayed gratification: If they eat all of the chocolate snacks on Monday and Tuesday, then they will end up with only fruit cups the rest of the week. This is a great lesson for them to learn and you wont have to be the one making their daily choices for them.
Keep Unopened Boxes and Bags Up High
If you have older children, you might find that they tend to open more than one bag of chips or more than one box of toaster pastries or granola bars. This makes the pantry cluttered and messy. Keep only what is open on the lower shelves and put the unopened boxes and bags up high. Make it a rule that they cannot help themselves to a container on the top shelf of the pantry without permission. This can cut down on having five or six (or more!) bags of potato chips languishing on a shelf. Not only will it look neater but it will also reduce spoilage and food waste due to items getting stale.
Use Pull-Out Shelves to Help With Rotation
After you go grocery shopping, its often easiest to put the newest items in the front of the pantry when you put the items away. You know that you should put new items toward the back of the shelf, but if its hard to access the back of the shelf, that tends to create a mess. Pull-out shelving in the pantry can eliminate this problem.
When you bring your groceries home, simply pull out each shelf and place the older items in the back. Encourage children to take only from the front of each shelf to ensure that the food is getting eaten before the expiration date. This is a good alternative to putting new items at the top of the pantry, since not everyone has enough room to do that.
Add Trays If You Have Wire Pantry Shelving
One common problem when it comes to kitchen pantry organization is that its easy for smaller foods to slip through the wires of the pantry shelves. Wood shelves can combat this problem, of course. If you arent ready to upgrade your pantry just yet, however, putting trays on the shelves is another good solution. Then, you can line up your snacks on the tray and they wont fall down to lower shelves or, worse, onto the floor. If your goal is to reduce food waste, this is an inexpensive and easy solution, since you can find trays at dollar stores or even at thrift shops.