Pantry Organizing Tips From Jess Nowell
Whether it be in the pantry or cabinets, our food and appliances can tend to be out of control! More often than not, just as in life, there are some bad seeds stirring up all the trouble. Are you sick of the potato chips jumping out at you? Is that pesky popcorn maker constantly in the way, but you cannot remember the last time you used it?
From expired foods, weird jars of creations great Aunt Sally gave you, and the “meant to make your life easier” appliances the space in our kitchens quickly gets eaten up and over run. Gaining control may seem overwhelming, but it is doable and in steps too!
What are you willing to put in? An hour, an afternoon, maybe even the whole day? Break it down in pieces. If you only have an hour or two each week, schedule it out in the calendar and make a promise to yourself to do it. Perhaps enlist a family member or friend, grab a bottle or wine, kick up the tunes and lets have some fun.
Professional Organizer Top Tips.
Step 1: Remove everything!
Whether you are focusing on ONE shelf or cabinet or the whole pantry is up to you. If you are short on time, doing it in pieces is a great idea. Make sure your kitchen table or counter is clear before you start and pull everything out of the cabinet or shelf. Ideally, when you pull things out you will want to try to put like items with like items. So cans with cans, medicines with medicines. Or you can separate it out by day parts (breakfast, lunch, dinner) or type of food (baking, snacks, main dish, side dish, etc). Keep in mind how you and your family work.
Step 2: Wipe it down.
One of the great things about getting organized is that you can also clean up areas you may have not hit in a while. I mean lets be serious, after you move into a place how often do you completely empty any cabinet to give it a little wipe down? As a renter, who moves quite often, things like the cabinet shelves get cleaned on the way in and out, and that is it.
Step 3: Purge.
For me this is the fun part, but I understand it is not so much for some people. Depending on what is in your cabinets there are a few things that can happen. Toss, donate, or sell. (More to come on this later).
Step 4: Like with like.
Everything is out of the cabinet(s) or shelf, you have gotten rid of (in one degree or another) the stuff that does not belong and now it is time to see how it all fits together. If you took my advice as you took things out you already started doing this. If you are doing good on time, you may want to sneak a quick peek into the other cabinets and see if there are any of the category of stuff you are working with hiding. For instance if you focused on the can shelve, but there are a few rogue cans on the shelf below, grab them now… be sure to check the date.
This is also where you can get very specific. Beans with beans. Or if you started out with type of container — can, box, bag, etc. Now you can focus on types of food – side dish, main meal, snacks, grains, baking goods, etc.
Step 5: Organize where it will fit.
As you put things away, keep in mind what you use most frequently or who will need the most access to them. Remember to keep like items with like. If you have really deep shelves consider baskets that you can pull out to see what you have (this makes rotating your items a little easier too, newest in the back oldest up front). Also, they make these great plastic steps for cabinets and shelves so you can see the items you place behind each other.
Step 6: Label as needed.
If you have a bunch of other people that go in and out of the area you are working in, but are determined to make it stay in proper, clean working order… Consider labeling the shelve, baskets, or whatever else you may have utilized. These can be as simple as “Canned Goods”, “Snacks”, “Grains” or as detailed as “Pasta”, “Crackers”, “Beans”, etc.
If you would like more tips, tricks, and cool information about organizing and regaining authority over your space please follow this blog. You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter here.