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How to Quickly Organize a Small Pantry

How to Organize a Small Pantry in 20 Minutes or Less

Having a clean kitchen starts with an organized pantry, but that can seem like such a daunting, time-sucking task. Some (myself included) avoid it until the crumbs, the jumbled piles of snacks, and whatnot become too unbearable to avert any longer. I Konmaried my kitchen (and whole house) about a year ago, a process that involves intense purging, and even though I gutted the place and neatly positioned each item that "sparked joy," I've discovered the junk does occasionally find its way back into my shelves with each birthday, Christmas, and shopping haul. But that's OK, because I know how to zap it before things get too out of control. You will too with these simple tips.

*Keep in mind, this process may take around 20 minutes if you have a small pantry like mine (about 4 feet squared) and much longer if you have a walk-in pantry.

  1. Remove every single item in your pantry. Place them on your kitchen counter or on a table.
  2. Wipe down the shelves of the pantry with a warm, damp sponge.
  3. Toss expired and/or opened foods that you haven't eaten recently. Donate any unopened, unexpired foods (that you will never plan on eating) to a food bank. If you're having trouble deciding to keep something or not, hold the item and look at it. If it gives you a sinking, nagging feeling, toss it or donate it. Keep the foods that make you flutter with excitement and hunger at the sight.
  4. Group like items before putting them back in the pantry. For instance, group oil together, cereals together, beans, snacks, etc.
  5. Consider which items you use the most frequently and position those in the easiest to reach area of the pantry. For my roommate and I, we're big tea drinkers, so I moved all of our tea and coffee items to the prime spot in the pantry. Save the top shelves (that are harder to reach) for bulkier items that you use less frequently. For me, that's oils, vinegers, dried beans, etc.
  6. Scan the pantry, and make sure you can see all the items you've stashed. Otherwise, they may get lost and forgotten about once again. Even though the shelves of my pantry are deep, I'm only using a few inches. I've positioned each of the jars and bags toward the end of the shelves with the labels facing outward. I can clearly see and read exactly what I have in my pantry plus this particular technique gives the pantry a naturally attractive appearance (no baskets, lazy Susans, or organizing equipment necessary)
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Anna Monette Roberts
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