Clutter Busting Tips: Pantry Edition
Last week we chatted about getting control over the clutter and how we maximized our exposed storage to better suit our needs. This week is all about our less-than-ideal pantry situation and all the ways I’ve cleaned it out to better serve us. While we have a beautiful kitchen, it doesn’t have a ton in the way of storage. The island is functional because it has plenty of space for things, but it’s become kind of a catch-all for everything and I end up shoving stuff into it directly from the dishwasher.
To add further insult to injury, our house does not have a walk-in pantry so I have to make do with making our cabinets as storage-friendly as possible. (In contrast, our pantry at the lake house is a full room — and it makes my head spin with delight). But there’s a limit to how much you can cram into a couple of shelves and drawers.
In this cabinet pictured below, the top ones are devoted to storing serving ware and smaller appliances. The bottom section is composed of 3 pull-out drawers which I use for things like snacks and breakfast cereal stuff.
I cleaned out a ridiculous amount of expired canned food and baking supplies. And then I bought some of these super inexpensive bins from the Container Store to allow me to keep similar items together. It’s a pretty narrow, shallow shelf, but the high sides of the bins allow me to pack a bunch of things in. And I can label it with a dry erase marker.
Why didn’t I go with refillable containers? Frankly because that would stress me out. I like the idea of beautifully matching containers of Cheerios and oatmeal, but the reality is that I would never keep up with that system. I need to toss it in and go.
My other favorite thing is that clear divided lazy susan — that might be the most versatile piece I’ve purchased. I’ve also used it in our master bathroom and for all the medicines. Grab a few — you’ll be surprised how many places you can use them.
We also have a section in between the fridge and pantry cabinets with 2 pull-out drawers. These are super deep and are perfect for those larger appliances that you might not want to keep out on the counter all the time. But they were being wasted because I had them full of linens, napkins, runners, leftover party supplies, etc. HOT MESS. So I got out the label maker and designated one drawer for the Instant Pot, blender, and can opener. And the other one below is for things like plasticware (tupperware stuff) and those enormous plastic cups we somehow seem to acquire left and right.
I don’t like having a lot of clutter out on the kitchen countertops. Since our family room and kitchen are open and connected, I don’t want the visual distraction of a bunch of stuff sitting out. Internet, let me be clear: this isn’t to say that I’m perfect at it, nor does it mean that our countertops are always clutter-free. But my goal in all this is to keep stuff out of sight and off the kitchen counters. When things end up cluttering the counters, it’s almost always because I haven’t given it a designated spot in one of the cabinets and the system isn’t running efficiently.
This scene below is one of the primary focal points of the room. I pulled in one of my old Pencil Shavings lucite trays (SO SO HANDY) and used that to contain our Home Base binder, pencils, spare change, and the charger for the boys’ Kindle.
A FEW ORGANIZING TIPS:
Get a lot of different sizes of bins and/or trays to allow for storing larger and smaller items.
Don’t feel stressed about labeling right away. Label everything as much as you can, but keep it somewhat general. You may find that after using your new system for awhile, you might have to tweak it to make it more functional.
If you don’t label your bins, they become catch-alls and crap-catchers. So give them boundaries and tell them what can and cannot go in them.
If you run out of room for a certain item, stop buying those things until you run out.
Ok, I hope there’s something in here that’s been helpful for you! Like I said, it’s an ever-changing thing but so far we’re much more streamlined and efficient than we were before.
Don’t miss the first part of my Cut the Clutter series here.
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