Let’s face it, well-organized living spaces make for a calmer home environment, but getting organized can be interesting at best. If you’re looking for a way to quickly shape up your kitchen and get your pantry into a comforting state, then you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll go over our top 5 ways to combat pantry clutter and how you can utilize them for both large and small kitchen spaces.
Kitchen Clutter Affects Our Moods
For most households, the kitchen is one of the main rooms that can be seen after walking through the front door- and has the most effect on our mood. Should it appear clean and airy, a sense of calm overcomes you, yet should it look as if World War Three took place before you got there, heaven help whoever is nearby. Our homes and kitchens are a primary source for peace and aggravation, and here are a few reasons why:
- Homes are a source of pride and public distinction.
- Living spaces are sacred areas.
- People are often judged by the type, design, and condition of their living space.
- Unkept living spaces trigger subconscious fears of being personally out of order.
- Living areas trap energy that can linger for long periods.
This is true for the kitchen. Think back to a time how your parents (or yourself) reacted to overnight dirty dishes in the sink or the time when the pantry was overflowing with half-eaten cereal boxes, empty fruit cups, and snack wrappers and items falling onto the floor. Was there anger involved? Did you notice afterward that there were negative reactions to everything else said and done?
On the opposite end, if the kitchen and pantry were clean, were you praised or told how shiny the cleaned floors looked or how well you organized the canned goods? Did this manifest into a special meal or being able to ask for a favor? Whether realized or not, the state of our kitchens can impact our moods for long periods of time. So should you be in a ‘Fung Shei’ mood or wanting to give your kitchen a makeover, then your pantry will be the best place to begin!
The Basics Of Pantry Organization: The 3 R’s
When tackling the pantry, we like to use the 3-R approach. That is, remove, review, and reimagine. Here’s how:
How To Remove Items From Your Pantry
After clearing off as much kitchen table space as you can find (including placing appliances in cabinets and under the sink to free up more space), you begin by removing everything from the pantry. While you’re removing, be sure to physically touch everything and not do a giant sweep into a trash bag. Why? Taking a cue from the Fung Shei guru herself, Marie Kondo, physically connecting with objects inside the home can help you emotionally decide what stays and what goes to bring more calmness and awareness to the space.
To do this, ask yourself questions like:
- How does (item) make me feel?
- Which meals have I cooked within the last year used (item)?
- Does (item) make me feel bloaty, slim, anxious, content, or happy?
- Do I have to take any medication to use (item)?
Bringing this strategy to the pantry, should you find that certain food items feel unnecessary or an heirloom you’ve been holding on to no longer brings about happy feelings, toss it. Everything in our environments carries energy- even the foods we eat- and if you are hesitant to use an item or always bypass it when it comes to meal prep, that may indicate that it needs to go.
How To Organize Your Pantry
Understanding how much your pantry can hold and utilizing the space is a strategic way to reduce pantry clutter. Often, with no thought to the amount of shelving or whether we have a closet, room, or slide-out compartment, we can quickly overstuff the area. This leaves no options for moveable space and categorizing, leading to a massive mess on your hands.
After you’ve taken the chance to clean out your pantry, group all items by order of groups. This will help you make the best judgment for your space. Here are a few common categories:
- Bottled Water and sports drinks
- Boxed snacks
- Breads and muffins
- Breakfast Cereals
- Canned Fruits
- Tinned Meats
- Canned Vegetables
- Cleaning Supplies
- Cooking Oils
- Paper Goods
- Pasta and boxed noodles
- Pickled Jars
- Spices and Herbs
Once the inventory is counted, you can use a few of the examples below to organize your pantry:
- Try placing the most commonly used items in the front and the least used items in the back.
- You can organize by levels of items, with heavier ones being on the bottom and lighter options on the top.
- Why not sort by meal preparation: American cuisine, Asian cuisine, African cuisine, European cuisine, Latin cuisine, Island & Exotic cuisine.
- You can organize your pantry by the ease of meal to meals that will require more work to prepare.
Your options are limitless, but this list can get the creative juices going for your particular lifestyle.
How To Redesign Your Pantry
Lastly, when deciding on how to redesign your pantry, factor in how many levels of shelving you have and how deep your pantry goes. Should you have a lot of shelving but little space, placing the heavier, most used items towards the bottom and the lighter ones up top may make the best sense. Should you have limited space and limited shelving, consider placing canned items towards the bottom and incorporating removable shelving options to place boxes and spices on.
To help you out, here are a few essential items to have for reorganizing your pantry:
- Clear food storage containers
- Glass jars
- Metal (plastic or mesh) stackable kitchen storage shelves
- Clear plastic shelving liners
- Removable shelving storage units
- Stackable spice racks
- Large adjustable kitchen bins with dividers
- Removable command hooks
- Over-the-door hanging organizers
Utilizing this three-step pantry organizing hack can save you considerable time (and money) and make the overall experience an enjoyable one!