Before: A mother asked for our help when she became fed up with her disorganized pantry. Her 3 kids would make a mess every time they went in there, so we needed to develop a system that everyone would understand and follow.
After: We created zones and made better use of the can stacking device and lazy susan that were underutilized in the space. The can stacking device, which was pushed in the back of the pantry is now front and center. The lazy susan is in the back corner housing sauces and other liquids, and a quick spin keeps anything from getting lost in the corner.
We also moved all of the kids’ favorite foods to 2 shelves that they can easily reach. The kids’ section is in the back of the pantry rather than right by the door so that if they do make a mess, the rest of the pantry is still accessible. We containerized the kids’ snacks, bread, and sandwich ingredients in clear plastic double shoeboxes. We also put cereal into tall, clear plastic containers. This eliminated stale, unsealed cereal bags and empty boxes from going back on the shelf.
The shelves near the entry of the pantry are now used for Dad’s supplements and bars as well as canned and dry goods that the kids don’t use.
We also made a zone for baking items like sprinkles, food coloring, etc and those are now in a lidded container behind the more often used items, to be pulled out when needed.
We containerized medicines, separated by type so they can easily be found when needed. We also made room for sodas which use to live outside the pantry. We made sure to keep them in a plastic container as they had leaked in the past.
Finally, we labeled all containers so there is no question as to where things belong. This is a very important step when you need everyone in the family to work together to keep an area organized!
Today I’m going to share with you the often overlooked importance of organizing your fridge.
Now, you may want to throw your hands in the air and say, “What?!
I have to organize that too?!”
And the answer is YES! But the good news is that organizing your fridge is easy, and comes with massive additional benefits.
With an organized fridge, meal preparation time can be cut in half or more.
You can also prevent over-eating and excess snacking by having limited quanitites of food in specific places within your fridge.
Additionally, you’ll be able to keep your food for the maximum amount of time without spoilage.
A clear example of this is storing salad dressings, condiments, soda or jelly in your refridgerator drawer — these items are much less likely to spoil at the lower temperatures.
Then, keep your milk and meat towards the top of the fridge, where the temperature is usually coldest.
These very simple tips can save you hundreds of dollars on spoiled food.
See how powerful simple organization is?
To discover how to live at maximum efficiency thanks to simple organization, go here now:
It’s time for me to admit that I have not cleaned out my junk drawer for at least 2 years. Truth be told, it was created when we moved in!
Now I do feel that every home should have one (ONE) junk drawer and I do help my clients create them. This way, there is a designated place to stash the miscellaneous and random tools like matchbooks, keys, screwdrivers, pens and tape. This particular drawer had big appeal to me as a junk drawer when I set up house for 2 reasons:
1. It was located in my kitchen
2. It was the smallest drawer in the kitchen.
Since my kitchen, like most, is the family hub, it made sense to create a junk drawer there. And my rational is that if I used a very small drawer, I would probably have less junk. And due to it’s size, it would not take long to get out of control and I would be prompted to clean it out sooner, as opposed to later!
So, sure enough I dumped everything out into my large salad bowl and made quick work of sorting and tossing. One bag for trash, one bag for donate (I have no idea where all of the pens and post it pads came from), one bag for outbound to other drawers and all of the rest back into the new drawer organizer.
I was on a roll so I decided to take a quick trip around my house and get rid of a few more things. Here is what I ended up donating. Yay!
Situation: Client lived in a small beach house which was lovely, but had a very small kitchen with really small cupboards and very little counter space. She loves to cook for her family and has a large collection of spices and gourmet ingredients.
Challenge: The client was using a built-in kitchen desk for kitchen storage as well as her son’s school papers and her own bills and paperwork. She needed to reclaim her desk so that her son had an appropriate homework area. She also needed the make to kitchen functional so she could cook her fantastic gourmet meals.
Solution: We got rid of the miscellaneous papers that were not needed. We organized her son’s school supplies into bins and gave him an organized space to work. We also created space around the stove for her spices and condiments so she could easily reach them while she cooks. The personal bills and paperwork were moved to a different area of the house and put into a Freedom Filer file system. In order to do these tasks, she had to downsize and re-prioritize what she really needed. Now she can help her son with his homework and cook dinner at the same time!
An incredibly large pantry with built-in shelves and drawers but a very industrious and busy cook. It seemed to have a life of it’s own and created it’s own systems if we didn’t keep an eye open for small hands and hungry mouths!
There were so many shelves and drawers that it looked deceptively easy to organize. This is a common situation with too much space in pantries, closets or other areas in your home. Because of the expanse of storage space, you keep buying more and more products to fill it up. Sound familiar? This actually wasn’t the issue in this pantry but a good thing to keep in mind if you have a large but out-of-control storage area.
We decided what zones were really necessary to keep everything organized in this space. Zones were super important since this was a very busy mom with a multi-cultural family with a variety of palettes.
Specific zones were created to include:
1. Condiments, Sauces
2. Asian Cuisine
3. Canned Goods: Soups, Veggies
4. Canned Goods: Mexican
5. Baking / Entertaining Zone
7. Teas / Beverages
8. Snack Zone
9. Breakfast Zone
These are the zones created specifically for foods. After that we created storage for appliances and other items to include:
1. Entertaining 2. Baking 3. Cooking 4. Paper Goods
Click here to see more specific solutions for storage and zone organizing for pantries. I use these solutions frequently when I work in with clients and you might end up with some new ideas for your own pantry!
PS Please post any good solutions you have developed on your own in the comment form below so that others can benefit from your clever tips and tricks!
Situation: An oven that had turned into a cabinet. A pantry that held almost everything but food and food storage supplies.
Challenge: This was a very dangerous choice. When space seems to be at a premium, folks will often default into using areas for storage that are really meant for other things. The real pantry was used to store games, wrapping paper, office supplies, almost everything but paper goods.
Solution: Get rid of excess grocery inventory, clear the pantry and make room for what supplies and food needed to be kept on hand.
This kitchen bar counter had turned into a dumping ground for all things that didn’t have a pre-defined place to live elsewhere. The owner had spent the past year investing all of her energies traveling to see her husband in an assisted care living facility. She simply did not have any energy at the end of the day to maintain her own home.
An additional challenge was that this home had been her main residence for 40 years and, as is normal for everyone, she had accumulated many duplicate and unnecessary possessions.
Determining what types or categories of items had actually found their way to this area. Most of the items did not belong in the kitchen/living room but ended up there by default because there wasn’t any space in the other parts of the house to store them.
Like most classic organizing projects, we had to begin organizing and de-cluttering other parts of the house before we could tackle this particular area. For this client, our work began in the garage. Once we had the garage organized and purged of all unnecessary items, we had created enough space to move what she wanted to keep and store from the kitchen area.
Begin by tackling, purging and organizing the two car garage which had initially room for only one car. Once that area was organized, we had space to bring in the other items from the kitchen that needed to be stored there long term. These items mainly consisted of memories, clothes and holiday decorations.
Many of the duplicate items were given to her daughter who was in the process of purchasing a new home so it was a win-win for everyone!
Client was at the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s. She kept notes hanging up everywhere so she could remember important information. The problem was that she had so much information hanging up that it turned from useful information to overwhelmingly visual clutter. She had not ever used file folders or her file cabinet for years and instead used the floor and counters for paper storage. I think her reasoning again was that being able to see all of her papers would help her remember what she needed to do.
Situation: A very old refrigerator with a microscopic freezer. Too many loose items and not enough door space or shelves to hold all of the food.Items often fell out upon the unlikely door opener when they went in to retrieve the ice cream. Sound familiar?
Solution: Remove all of the contents and organize into categories, meat, vegetables, boxes and bags. Group items together and place the bagged items into a large storage bins which now act as drawers to be pulled out instead of having the self-serve falling out from the old days!