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Pantry Organizing 101

If opening up your pantry spikes your stress levels, it’s time for an overhaul! It doesn’t have to be a big project—all you need are a few key organizing essentials and a couple of cleaning tools, according to organizing pro Ashley La Fond of Of Space + Mind. Follow her advice and feel calmer in the kitchen with these 8 totally doable moves.

Step 1: Do A Pantry Purge

Take everything out. Toss expired items, consolidate duplicates, and start a box for extra canned goods to donate.

Step 2: Clean Up

Use a food and people-safe surface spray like Surface Cleaner to wipe shelves clean of crumbs, rogue bits of food, and anything sticky. Next, nix funky odors with Scented Vinegar, which will soak them up. Pour some in a shallow bowl and leave out for 15 minutes.

Step 3: Make Sure To Measure

Take full measurements of your pantry space including the length, width, and depth to make sure any storage items you purchase will fit. “Don’t shop without a list of measurements and a plan!” says Ashley.

Step 4: Stock Up On Storage Essentials

“The right storage and organizational tools will help maximize space and allows you to create a system that is easy to maintain over time,” says Ashley. There are tons of options at The Container Store, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Wayfair, and Amazon. Ashley’s favorites include…

Lazy Susans

“They ensure sauces, oils, and vinegars are always in reach.”

Baskets and Bins

“These make keeping snack foods and bulk items like cereals, grains, and nuts organized.”

Jars and Canisters

“Great for decanting bulk items to eliminate bulky packaging and give your pantry a polished look!”

Cabinet Risers

“A great solution for storing canned goods or spices—they keep them visible and accessible!”

Drawer Dividers

“If your pantry has drawers or you use drawers in place of a pantry, make sure to pick up drawer dividers to keep cans and spices organized.”

Step 5: Group Items

Now for the fun part! Ashley likes to stock her pantry by grouping items by function. “This way, you know where to reach when you need baking ingredients versus a quick snack for your kids.” Examples of groups include snack foods, breakfast items, spices and condiments, baking ingredients, and bulk items.

Step 6: Map Out Your Space & Restock

Remember this rule: “Eye-level areas should be reserved for staples,” says Ashley. “And high or hard-to-reach spaces should be used for items used less frequently. If you don’t typically bake, for example, put your baking supplies on a higher shelf to reserve premium space for whatever you use most often. Generally we use the very top shelves for bins of bulk items like pasta, grains, and duplicates.” Now’s the time to break out your organizing tools, so use them to combine and consolidate. Tip: Before pouring bulk items into canisters, make sure to clean them with a dish soap free of harsh chemicals like our Dish Detergent.

Step 7: Label

For some extra credit, label canisters and jars to help you quickly ID foods that look similar, like all-purpose flour and almond flour. You can also add expiration dates or label shelves according to category, like snack foods and baking ingredients.

Step 8: Maintain

Now that your pantry is a masterpiece, don’t let it slip back into cluttered chaos! “As part of your weekly routine, especially when meal planning, set aside a few minutes to do a quick inventory, toss any expired items, and create space for incoming items,” says Ashley. “A simple review each week helps maintain an organized pantry, and that way, organizing won’t become an overwhelming and time consuming task!”

Images courtesy of Of Space + Mind.