Over the weekend, I was wiping down the kitchen and no matter how well I cleaned it, something was off. It just did’t look spic and span. Then it hit me. It was the pantry. I stared long and hard at the pale white shelves of spices, oils, kitchen equipment, other consumables, and non-consumables. The pantry looked like it threw up on itself after a night of unabashed binge drinking. At first, I tried to rationalize that the the placement of items was by design via organized chaos, but who the heck was I kidding?
You see, I was never big on kitchen organization. I kept the most used items right by the stove, but as for the placement of everything else, well it was fair game. After all the years of just scathing by, I was finally disgusted at myself for the sloppy kitchen organization. It was time for a pantry clean up intervention.
The cleanup took much longer than I thought, but I had a battle plan going in, so in the end, the extra effort of planning in advance was worth it. Below are some tips that I recommend following.
1. Have a plan. Visualize how you want to organize the items around the kitchen. Sketch some diagrams on how you want to organize the pantry and cabinets.
2. Assess your inventory before purchasing organizers, racks, and containers. This is a great opportunity for cleanup of items that have passed the expiration date. If you have expired spices in a small glass container, dump out the spices, clean and use the empty containers to hold your own spice blends.
3. Group like things together. Common sense would dictate to group like things together, nope, not me. The cups and plates were finally separated into their own cabinets. Spices were grouped together by type. Curries, alliums, dried herbs, chilies and savory spices all had their own sections. Items that were used often were placed towards the front of each shelf. Teas had their own section, as did the the big bottle items.
4. Use shelving racks, containers, and other types of organizers. They are great for making use of extra space that is otherwise wasted.
5. Use shelf liners for protection. There a couple of options for liners, the non -kid type or vinyl/plastic. Make sure to measure the shelf space dimensions, so you know how much lining material to purchase. Don’t be like me and avoid the, “oh shit, I should have purchased more liner!” feeling!
6. Consolidate. I had about 5 boxes of tea that had only one or two teabags left inside. I took them all out of their boxes and consolidated them into a plastic container.
7. Always return items to their original positions. It can easily turn from organized to disorganized faster than you think.