Backstock has to be one of the most annoying things to deal with when I am organizing. The problem with backstock is that it has to be out of the way but still easy enough to access when you need it. So that always leaves me with the problem of where to put it. Especially in a small kitchen, it is so important to have a good system for backstock. I am here to solve all your problems and share my best tips for how to organize backstock like a pro!
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What is backstock?
Before you can learn how to organize backstock, you need to know exactly what it is. In short, backstock is any extra products. One of the hardest things about backstock is that depending on the room, backstock looks like something different. In the kitchen, backstock may be the extra cereal that didn’t fit in the clear canister. But, in the bathroom, the extra toothbrushes in the multipack are backstock. In the laundry room, backstock may be the extra rolls of paper towels or bottles of detergent.
Obviously, backstock looks like something different depending on the room and the products. But, that doesn’t mean it all can’t be organized. You just have to learn how to organize backstock for each room in specific.
Why do you have backstock?
In most cases, the only reason you have backstock is because you bought something in bulk. Whether it’s a huge bag of flour or a family pack of toilet paper, you are obviously not going to be using everything at once.
Buying in bulk–especially for college students or anyone with a small space–may seem annoying and inconvient because you are stuck with all the extras. BUT… it is so important to buy in bulk for one reason: it will save you SOOO much money.
While it might not seem like that big of a price difference, buying a lot of your commonly used items in bulk can save you a crazy amount of money each year. Things like toilet paper, paper towels, paper goods, plastic bags, baking ingredients, cereal, and other products are perfect to buy in bulk. As long as you are sure you are going to use all of the product, you definitely want to buy in bulk.
But, buying in bulk obviously comes with a lot more stuff… stuff that has to stay organized somehow.
Types of backstock
In the kitchen and pantry, you have two basic categories for backstock: open and closed foods.
Open foods are anything that was opened, put into a canister, and are extra. Basically, anything with an open bag or half used box. For example, when I fill up my reusable cereal canisters, I have some cereal leftover in the bag that doesn’t fit.
For open foods, I love using OXO air tight containers. I basically use these for everything in my kitchen (cereal, nuts, flour, sugar, brown sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and probably a million more foods I can’t remember)! Click here for my favorite cereal containers and here for a multipack that is perfect for everything else!
Closed foods are anything that is extra, but still closed and sealed. Maybe you bought a family size box of granola bars: those are still closed, but you don’t need so many on hand at once.
Where to organize
To organize backstock, you first have to figure out what space you have to put everything.
Back of cabinets
My first spot is to take advantage of the depth of your cabinets. In my pantry at home, we have super deep cabinets that are hard to reach. Instead of wasting the space, I put it to use for all the backstock cereal and baking ingredients. It is such an easy way to take advantage of the space without pushing something commonly used into the back. The back of the cabinet or shelf is close enough to grab when I need to fill something up, but out of the way enough that it isn’t getting in the way of everything else.
In my own pantry, we keep backstock flour, sugar, cereal, salad toppings, and nuts all in the back of the cabinets. You’d be surprised how much fits back there!
You can use the back of any area where there are deep cabinets or open space. Just make sure you seal the food and then stick it in the back. Also remember not to forget where you put everything so you know where it is when it comes time to use it.
My other favorite spot for kitchen and pantry backstock is the top shelves. Depending on how often you need access to your backstock, this will only work for certain products.
Just like the deep cabinets, the top shelves are such wasted space because you can never get to them. Instead, use the area for the backstock. Again, it’s still close enough to grab, but you aren’t wasting any prime real estate.
For me, I use the top shelves for less common backstock items. For example, I keep extra pancake mix and some other stuff on the top shelves.
Between the back of cabinets and the top shelves, you should have covered most of your backstock products. If you still have more, you could also move the backstock to another room or area. Instead of keeping everything in the kitchen, try using the garage or basement for extra space.
These areas are especially good for over-sized backstock. While some extra cereal may fit in the back of a cabinet, a huge bag of chips definitely won’t! You can put these products in bins in another room.
My one warning with doing this is that you want to make sure you don’t forget about anything! Don’t keep random things in random places, especially if its food. If you are going to use another room other than the kitchen for backstock, have one designated area for the food. That way, you know where everything is and what you have on hand.
Work with your space
Your backstock system is going to vary based on the products you have and the space you are putting them in. Make sure that above all, you work with the space you have and try to organize everything as best as you can!
And remember, learning how to organize backstock is only step 1! You also have to remember to keep up with your system so everything stays organized too!!
If you want to keep organizing in the kitchen, check out my best Pantry Organization Ideas to Reinvent Your Kitchen!