Summer is often a time of frenetic activity, with everyone in the family constantly on the go trying to make the most out of the beautiful warm weather. This also means that everyone needs to be fueled and properly hydrated to make the most out of whatever day has to offer.
One of the best ways to do this is to give your existing pantry a little bit of an overhaul before it’s laden with grab-and-go snacks, sports drinks, and quick-cooking non-perishables. To do this, you might want to consider some of the following summer-ready pantry tips.
Make an Inventory of Everyone’s Favorite Foods, Snacks & Beverages
Making a smart list of everyone’s favorite drinks and food items will help you assess just how much room you need in your newly upgraded summertime pantry. Take the time to talk to everyone, take their input, and get an idea of just how much of specific items they might go through in a given day or week.
Add a Whiteboard to the Pantry Door
Putting a whiteboard or a stock inventory list on the back of the pantry door lets family members mark off what they take out. This lets you see what you need at a glance when making your weekly shopping list. It also goes a long way toward keeping kids from getting grumpy when you run low on one or two of their favorite things.
Declutter to Make Room
Once you have an idea of just how many snacks, drinks, and non-perishable volumes you need to keep on hand, you can move to the unenviable task of decluttering your pantry of old, outdated, and seasonal food items.
This means it’s finally time to take out that jumbo bin of powdered hot chocolate mix, and those leftover candy canes from Christmas to make room for energy drinks, protein bars, and fun-size bags of chips.
Stock Up on Quick Cooking Family Pleasers
When you’re on the go during the summer, you rarely have the time to make a roasted chicken dinner with all the fixings. Instead, try to think of quick-cooking family pleasers. This is the time of year when you can give yourself permission to feed the herd with boxed macaroni and cheese or hamburger helper without guilt.
Though it doesn’t have to all be processed box foods. Protein bars, cans of tuna, and chicken can all make for fast snacks and sandwiches. They’re compact in the pantry and friendly on the family budget.
Separate Snacks & Meals
The last thing you want is for your kids or your spouse to go into the pantry looking for a meal, only to start grazing on the snacks right before their eyes. Meals like boxed macaroni & cheese and cans of tuna should be kept in one zone for selecting meals. Then snacks like protein bars and fun-size bags of chips should be kept in another zone.
Then take the time to organize these zones in the pantry to make everything accessible. Feel free to put up obvious labels for snacks and meals to drive the ideal home.
Lazy Susan Makes Finding Snacks Easy
A lazy Susan on every corner shelf helps you make the most out of what would otherwise be an inaccessible space. If your pantry is blessed with a central island or you have an available kitchen counter right outside the pantry door, a lazy Susan is a great way to display popular grab-and-go snacks.
It also helps you to curate the offerings. Your family members are more likely to go straight to the lazy Susan loaded with healthy protein bars and whole grain single-serve bags of chips before digging in the pantry to find that hidden stash of candy bars and high-fructose corn syrup gummy snacks.
Install Adjustable Shelves
Adjustable shelves make it easy for you to optimize the available vertical storage space in your new summertime pantry. This lets you make extra room for summertime items, as well as make quick changes if your inventory grows. It’s especially handy for providing the extra storage space you need to save money buying dry goods in bulk.
Even if your current pantry shelves are static, it’s often easy to add a track system or dowels to add more shelves.
Install Pull-Out Wire Baskets
Wire baskets are a great way to hold lightweight loose items. They are also handy for making the most out of your pantry’s vertical storage space if you can’t install adjustable shelves. Most can be integrated with drawer guides/runners, which makes it easy for family members to pull them out.
The wire baskets also improve visibility. You can load them up with the healthy snacks you want your family to find while stashing the unhealthy ones in less-visible places.
Make the Most Out of Overhead Hooks
A lot of people store pans and other kitchen accessories in their pantry, which can really get in the way once you stick it to the rafters with summertime snacks. One of the easy ways to get handles and mesh bags out of the way is to install ceiling hooks. You can then suspend them overhead, where you can get them when need be, but keep them out of the way during your family’s everyday summer adventures.
Create a Beverage Center
A beverage center near the grab-and-go snacks is always helpful. This can be as simple as keeping some sports drink bottles on hand or perhaps even adding a mini fridge with a see-thru door to keep everything chilled. A portable ice maker can also be helpful, allowing family members to get ice on demand without everyone constantly vying for elbow room near the freezer door in the kitchen.
Add LED Lights to Corners & Dark Shelves
LED lights are incredibly energy efficient and light weight. To the point that you can mount them just about anywhere with Velcro or contact adhesive. You can then put these touch-activated lights in deep corners and under dark pantry shelves making it easy for family members to find what they want without pulling out or disorganizing the entire shelf.