By Karen Swan

If I’m honest, I can’t say this was a task I was loathing.  After years of retail life, I’ve developed quite the addiction to merchandising, and this is reflected in my cupboards, wardrobes and pantry.  I can’t help myself!  I kid you not, there have been moments when, after re-organising my wardrobe, that I have sat on my bed and just ‘looked’ at it for a good half an hour.  I’m a little mad.

So, my pantry wasn’t that bad to begin with, but she was full, oh yes, she was full!  So, here’s the before:

#mamabakeLeanLarder BEFORE

What shocked me as I took everything out and wrote everything down, was how very well stocked my pantry was.  How lucky I was to have the amount of food in there as I do.  How wasteful it was of me to have so many of one thing, when I obviously didn’t need it and didn’t check if I needed it before buying it.  It shocked me that, even with a pantry so well stocked, I often had absolutely no idea what to make for the family meal and we were eating sausages and salads more nights than I care to admit because I just couldn’t bear the thought of having to ‘create something.  I’d done a clean out not too long before, but the clutter had crept back in.   Easy to see and easy to access; that was my plan.

Tip 1:

mamabake Lean Larder Challenge - after

Organise your shelves in groups, genres if you will.  Keep all oils and vinegars together.  Spices and herbs together.  Baking and sweet things together.  Using little baskets is a great way to keep stock together, like for like; they look great too!  You can pick them up super cheap at most shops now.  Keep the ingredients you use the most, at the front and easily visible.

Tip 2:

mamabake Lean Larder Challenge - after

Use jars or containers to store things like rice, beans, lentils, flours etc. This way you can see at a glance how much of something you have left and the seal helps keep nasties out and extends the freshness.  If not in a container, grouping them together in baskets so you can easily pull them out and see what’s inside is a great help.  Keep all your empty glass jars, give them a good wash and dry thoroughly.  You can generally pick up glass jars at Op Shops for free!  I’m gradually replacing much of my plastic storage containers with glass now and I’m already finding I accumulate less clutter (read:  the hell that is the plastic container cupboard is slowly disappearing!)  I’m entering the very cold Canberra Winter, so I can happily leave my flours and coconut in the cupboard.  If you live in a warmer, more humid climate, you might like to keep these (along with nuts) in the fridge.

Tip 3:

mamabake Lean Larder Challenge - after

Easy access.  Keep all the foods you reach for day in day out in the most accessible shelf. Again, the use of clear glass or plastic containers will make knowing what you’ve got as simple as opening the door!

mamabake Lean Larder challenge after

If you want to see exactly what I’ve got lurking in there, then you’ll find my (long) list here.

Are you joining me in the #mamabakeLeanLarder challenge?

Why not get started by doing your own stocktake?

We’ll have more information coming soon!

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