Shira Gill is an organization expert. Her Bay Area-based firm offers on-site, full service home organization AND styling, as well as online resources and inspiration. In short, she’s here to help you have a clutter-free, well edited life.
So, one area that we all could use a little help with — especially before Thanksgiving next week! — is the kitchen and pantry. You want it to be organized so that you stay sane, and… who are we kidding?? It wouldn’t hurt to have a spotless set up with the in-laws arrive. By implementing her tips (below) for a streamlined and organized pantry, you’ll be in great shape for holiday cooking and entertaining. And, you’ll be crossing off a New Year’s resolution early, because these tips will help you stay organized year round!
Kitchen surfaces commonly become a dumping ground for mail, papers, and random household items. Most often, clutter builds up when items don’t have an assigned home. Take a few minutes to relocate household items that don’t belong in the kitchen, and create a new “home” to contain mail, bills, and magazines by storing them in a basket, tray, or wall mounted pocket until you can give them your attention. Before we get to your pantry, we have to make sure there is room on your counters to put everything during this project.
It’s important to edit before you organize so you can eliminate clutter and only store what you actually enjoy and use. Take everything out of your pantry, wipe down shelves, and toss expired spices and canned goods. Products you don’t use can be donated to your local food bank or composted.
After you’ve edited, make sure to group similar items together by type – organize canned goods together, pasta and grains together, snacks and sweets together, etc. Once you have grouped everything by type, it is easy to assess what size and quantity of storage products you’ll need to complete the project.
Streamline Your Storage
In my home, I prefer to ditch packaging whenever possible and instead opt for uniform jars, bins and baskets for storage. For a stylish and sustainable pantry makeover, airtight labeled jars create a clean, streamlined look and keep your snack and pantry items fresher, longer. Using clear jars maximizes storage space and also makes it easy to see when baking goods and spices need to be replenished. Once you are all set up, it’s easy to restock your pantry by shopping in the bulk bins at your local market. This small shift will save you money and reduce your environmental footprint. A win-win!
Zone by Usage
Once you have organized and stored your items, set them up in clear zones based on frequency of use. Take stock of which food items you use on a regular basis and make sure they are stored in a convenient location, ideally at arm’s reach for easy access. Specialty or occasional use items can be tucked away in labeled bins on high or hard to reach shelves. I also love to set up a stocked party bin that contains décor, disposables, candles and napkins. By storing all of these items together in one place, you’ll have everything you need at the ready for easy entertaining.