You've seen the Instagram photos of perfectly styled, curated, and labeled pantries. Scratch that - works of art.
The colors are organized according to the rainbow. The labels are delicate and beautiful. The entire scene makes you want to open the pantry door and gaze lovingly at this masterpiece while ordering your kids not to touch anything. Nothing should interrupt this one little corner of life that is tidy and orderly, you think.
We get the infatuation - truly - but we also know your pantry has to remain functional. Even after your professional organizer or if you did it yourself, is done, you'll want to maintain ALL that hard work between the re-organization efforts. If you aren't sure how to do that, keep reading.
Keep with like:
You've noticed that pretty much all professional organizers will group similar items together, further dividing them into subcategories if needed. This is because 1) it is easy on the eyes and creates a sense of mental clarity and balance, and 2) it helps you find what you need more quickly.
As you begin using your perfectly sorted space, make sure you (and the kids...the spouse...the babysitter) understand that each item has its own place on the shelf, bin, drawer, etc. No, "I'm too busy," or, "I'll just set this here for a minute," excuses.
2. Avoid eclectic buys
Every mainline store from Target to Home Goods is going to tempt you with the latest lovely organizing gadgets. Wide-mouth jars pre-labeled for baking, rigid cloth bins to organize your tea bags and "add texture" to your pantry.... Don't fall for it. The more colors, sizes, and textures you introduce into your pantry, the less organized it will become.
If you find that you need more organization bins or jars, keep it simple. Make sure you get more of the right brand and size, ensuring consistency and prolonged organization of your space. This goes a long way!
3. Remove the packaging
Remember to continue using your jars and containers. Have a new bag of cereal? Pour it into the clear container. Have more of your kids' favorite snack crackers? Put them in the child-friendly (or is it "childproof"?) container. Removing the outer packaging from your pantry purchases will save space and keep the shelves aesthetically pleasing.
ORGANIZING PRO TIP #1
Go for glass, if at all possible
Store flours and other grains in sealed glass jars to prevent pests from taking up residence. Ensure the mouth is wide enough for easy scooping and measuring.
ORGANIZING PRO TIP #2
Quarterly maintenance is key
Reassess your pantry once every three months to check for expired, forgotten items, or completely misplaced items. You'll be surprised what you find. An organizer's job is never done!