Reorganizing the pantry is something we should all consider. Like a big closet or an old storage locker, most people’s pantries have an “organization” tactic of essentially putting things wherever they fit. Inevitably, that makes things difficult to find down the line.
Naturally, nobody likes to waste time digging through cluttered drawers full of old cereal, just to find the good spices. But for some of us, the prospect of a full pantry reorganization might seem daunting. Who has the time?
Well, I’m here to tell you: not only is a redesign easier than you might think, but the potential improvement in your quality of life is also certainly worth it. It takes a little bit of effort…but the change in your space is often astonishing.
Luckily, you’ve got the experts on your side. At ShelfGenie, we’ve helped thousands of people reclaim their living space through the astonishing power of organization and storage. Now we’re sharing everything we know in this 3 part series on how to reorganize your home—continuing today with part 2: the pantry.
Ready? Here Are Three Helpful Tips On Reorganizing Your Pantry
1. Start Reorganizing Your Pantry With A Purge
Just like when you’re reorganizing the kitchen, the first step with a good pantry overhaul is to purge the unneeded items. Nothing saves space like eliminating waste. However, unlike your work in the kitchen, this time you’ll want to literally take everything out.
Do I have to? Well, you should. Here’s why: there’s almost certainly a fair amount of expired and/or useless goods hiding away in there. We’ll be throwing those out. But moreover, if you haven’t used a true organization strategy before we’ll have to start from scratch. To do that properly, you’ll need everything out from the shelves.
As you go through each category, try to be as ruthless as possible! The less stuff you have, the easier it will be to organize your pantry and keep it that way. As Mari Kondo tells us: if there’s something in there that is no longer usable or you don’t love it/use it often, send it on its way!
2. Consider the Space
If you’re lucky enough to have a walk-in pantry, you have plenty of space, which makes storage more manageable. If yours is more of a large cabinet or two, you’ll need to maximize your space. Mesh, plastic, or wire stacking bins can do wonders for organizing pantry shelves. Arrange items by categories, such as pasta in one bin, rice and other grains in another, kid snacks in a kid-friendly bin, and so on.
Another way to maximize available space is to consider custom pull out shelves. This can allow you to efficiently utilize vertical space in your pantry, increasing your available room for storage by a truly incredible amount without actually making any structural changes.
3. The Zone System
Designated zones turn a jumbled pantry into a streamlined food storage area. Zoning your pantry helps you see what food you have, what you need to restock, and where the groceries belong. Consider reorganizing your pantry in zones for efficient meals and snack times.
Leading up to your reorganization day (or days), collect small baskets, canisters, bins, and drawer organizers that you think will help you fine-tune your kitchen organization. Measure your cabinets and drawers beforehand, so you don’t end up with containers that are too big for your shelves and cabinet openings. In addition, gather some larger boxes and packing materials, in case you want to stow rarely-used items away in the basement or attic.
When your spices are unorganized, using them is a pain. Spend some time organizing, so they’re all within easy reach. Tip: If you don’t have a drawer to dedicate to spices, a lazy Susan is great for organizing them in a cabinet.
If you just toss everything loosely into your cabinets, they will quickly fill up. Not to mention, it’ll be impossible to find everything. Instead, break items up by type and then put them into baskets and organizers.
You’re going to be less inclined to actually want to clean if you can’t find any of your cleaning products. Use a lazy susan to hold spray bottles, then contain sponges, towels, and trash bags in plastic containers.
Take Time To Check Your Work
Woof. That’s a lot of work…and it might be easy to mentally check out for a bit. But…
After all that effort, it’s important not to let things slip right away…especially if you have family members around eager to mess with your newfound sense of pantry organization.
Try to develop a habit of checking your work frequently: analyzing, when you first walk into the pantry, whether things are roughly where they ought to be. Studies show developing a new habit doesn’t really take all that long. Maybe develop a routine that involves super quick tidy whenever you’re in there. It doesn’t have to be anything gigantic…just enough to establish a new, super clean baseline.
There are many ways to maximize your pantry – check out ShelfGenie pantry solutions.
Your future self will thank you for it.