Stop what you’re doing because I’m about to give you one tip that might save your sanity in lockdown: Netflix and cleaning. Angry cleaning, specifically.
The other day I fired up Season 3 of Working Moms (gotta re-watch so I’m ready for Season 4, which comes out on Netflix May 6 and MAMA READY), propped up my phone, popped in my trusty ear buds and went to town, sister. Nothing I love more than a good Angry Clean. You know what I’m talking about… Frustrated about being locked in, nothing else to do, kids generally laying waste to the rest of the house… What else can I do except control what I can? And that day, my pantry was my victim.
And no, reorganization doesn’t have to be pricey! There are tons of simple tricks and low-cost items that can help you reorganize your pantry for less, whether you’re binge-watching Netflix or not.
So park the kids in front of a device–I’m not here to judge–grab a pair of ear buds, fire up that phone and let’s get organizing!
Cleaning Things Up: Pantry Organization 101
Step One: Take Everything Out
You don’t have to dump the entire contents of your pantry out onto the island, but maybe go section by section.
Here’s how I did it. I took out all the items that “belong together.” So for example, I started with pasta, rice, and other boxed non-perishables, which currently account for about 3 shelves in our pantry. I set it on the island and put them into categories like this:
1 – Items I’m keeping
2 – Items I’m throwing away (expired or stale)
3 – Items I’m donating
There are plenty of places accepting donations of new, non-perishable foods during quarantine. This is a great opportunity to take out items you’re not going to use and donate them to a family who will! HERE is a site that will help you find a local donation spot.
Immediately put your donation items to the side, and put the items you’re keeping to the side for now.
Step Two: Wipe Down Shelves
Clean up! Inevitably, pantries collect crumbs and dust. This is a great chance to clean things up.
Don’t use products containing bleach or other strongly-scented cleansers, as you don’t want a chemical smell emanating from a place you get food from. I prefer Branch Basics’ All Purpose Cleanser.
This is the cleanser I use nightly on our kitchen island as well. No scent, cleans beautifully, and the bottle lasts forever.
And, bonus! You get 10% off their Starter Kit with code SONNI10. Go HERE and type in “Sonni10” under the Coupon Code section at checkout!
Step Three: Add Liners, Dividers, and Storage Boxes
I’m a huge fan of storing boxes and cans in clear or open-wire boxes. This keeps them confined to a neat space, while also allowing you to see what’s inside.
Here are some options:
Use Drawer Space Smartly
Drawers are great spots for boxes of aluminum foil, plastic bags and other shallow-depth items that you reach for often. I let mine float free, but if you want more order, you can use these bamboo drawer dividers to section off spaces to keep items in their own spots.
Save Countertop Space for Your Most-Used Items
If you have countertop space in your pantry, make sure you use it wisely–for things that are bulky or you otherwise use a ton.
For us, this is our Nespresso machine and our bread basket. The toaster is another constantly-used item in our house, but luckily we have some open storage space below the countertop in our pantry to park it.
But you get the idea: The most-used stay out, easily accessible.
Consider "Standing Up" Your Cooking Sheets and Trays
Oh how I wish we had thought of this before we built! This hack for storing cookie sheets and other flat items is amazing. If you have the ability to work something like this into your kitchen, do it!
Add It All Back In
Your shelves are clean and you’re ready to put things back into place. Think about what belongs with what. I like to organize items by shape and type.
Here are the general ways I organize our pantry:
Non-perishables in boxes: Pasta, rice, mac and cheese, soup boxes, etc.
Cans: Soups, tomato sauce, bread crumbs, and other canned goods
Glass Jars: Spaghetti sauce, applesauce, etc.
Snacks: Nut mixes, dried fruit, etc.
Candy and sweets: I keep this on a high shelf so the kids can’t reach it on their own. #meanmom #notsorry
Beverages: Nespresso pods, tea bags and loose-leaf tea brewers (stacked in a storage box)
Flour and sugar go into canisters, and what’s leftover in the bag goes into a storage basket to refill later.
Baking Goods: I like to keep cake mixes, chocolate morsels, baking soda, sprinkles and other baking-related items in one storage box, because these items are most frequently used together.
Supplements: These are stacked in an open-front storage box at eye level. I take vitamins and supplements several times daily, so I like to have these in an easy spot to grab. This is the one I use, and it’s perfect for allowing you to see what’s inside.
Paper products: I open up and stack toilet paper, paper towels and tissue boxes neatly on the bottom row.
Cleaning Supplies: I put dishwasher pods and hand soap refills in a storage box and put it on a high shelf.
What do you like to do to de-stress? Let me know your tips and how you like to organize your rooms below in Comments! I’m always ready for some new tips and tricks. 🙂