There is something about opening the pantry when it’s just been cleaned and organised that fills you with a sense of calm. Having a well organised, totally functional pantry is a must-have in this busy day and age. All it takes is an hour of your time, some matching containers and a little pantry inspiration.

I am a firm believer that if you can see everything, you won’t waste it. Shallow= shelving will stop you from stockpiling cans; simple, clear containers will tell you when you are running low on items, and baskets are handy for odd-shaped packets that are a little tricky to decanter. I like to keep everything together – my herbs, spices and baking items, such as flour and sugars, all lined up neatly, a section for tea, and so on. Doing this makes it much easier to find what I am looking for in a hurry.

Learn to love labels

I can’t be the only one who’s confused plain (all-purpose) flour with self-raising flour, or icing (confectioners’) sugar with cornflour. Poor labelling can cause some real issues in the kitchen, so there’s no excuse not to label your jars, especially when there are so many free templates on the internet to get you started.

Creative labelling

  • Hang a simple piece of brown card from the lid and neatly write the contents in thick black marker.
  • Paint a square on the outside of your jars with blackboard paint and label them with chalk.
  • Write directly on the jar with a marker in neat, cursive writing.
  • Match your labels to your kitchen colour scheme to ensure continuity.

Tips for a neat pantry

  • When buying containers for your pantry, stick to the same size, style and look. Consistency with your containers will create an inviting sense of order.
  • Label, label, label!
  • Group similar items, especially oils and condiments, together so that you can see everything at once.
  • Never store more than two layers deep. If you can’t see it, you won’t use it.
  • Invest in good lighting for a walk-in pantry. Searching in the dark is no fun.
  • Tidy weekly to avoid your pantry getting disorganised.
  • Having a collection of baskets on the floor of a walk in pantry is a neat and tidy way to store big packets and odd-shaped containers.
  • A plastic-sleeved folder will solve your recipe mess. Simply slip cut-outs into a plastic sleeve and file away. Do the same with takeaway menus.

This is an edited extract from Chyka Home by Chyka Keebaugh published by Hardie Grant Books NZ$44.99 and is available in stores nationally. Image credits: Lisa Atkinson and Armelle Habib

Article created in partnership with Over60