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Jesmine Onyeukwu: Don’t Let a Scattered Pantry Drive You Crazy! Check Out Quick Fixes For Your Dream Kitchen



Profile photo for BellaNaijaAn “organizing fix” is my term for making the most of the organizing lifestyle. It means achieving long-term organization by enhancing common organizing methods and systems. The critical part of organizing is not the first step(effort) but all the other steps (maintenance and gratification) afterwards, because it’s pointless losing your grip on the situation after investing a load of effort initially.
If you are wondering why you need organizing fixes, I bet you’ll agree with me that, staying organized can occasionally seem complicated or just plain difficult. If the organizing systems and methods in your space don’t allow for easy maintenance, they need to get fixed.

A pantry is a very important aspect of a kitchen and it plays a significant role in kitchen organization. A pantry is a storage dream for an ideal kitchen. It provides a substantial or additional storage for kitchen, cooking, meal and snack supplies. It is ideal for storing food, dishes, linens, utensils, cleaning supplies and/or anything that applies to kitchen function and purpose.

A disorganized pantry is a kitchen disaster and a kitchen disaster is a home disaster, as the kitchen plays a central role in the home. Don’t resign your kitchen to a place of chaos yet. Regain control with these twenty ways to make pantry organization work in your favour as well as give you the ease of maintaining an organizing culture in the kitchen.

Maximise Your Pantry Space
We hardly ever get enough room especially in the kitchen, hence, the importance of maximizing our pantry space. When designing/organizing your pantry, please make optimal usage of horizontal and vertical spaces and make sure not to waste any worthwhile space. With diligence in your pantry organization, I guarantee you will find useful room even in the most seemingly insignificant corners or narrow/flat spaces. Stack if need be, but stack sideways. You will be better off if you don’t stack upwards; that way you can avoid the drama of having to pull down, say, four storage containers just to reach one.

Maximize space with a layout dimension for the various compartments of the pantry shelving units. The measurements should vary according to the size (height and weight) of your storage solution (bins, containers, baskets etc. It’s also essential to choose your containers carefully as square containers take up 25% less space than round ones.

Ok, let’s further break it down with these fixes.

Fix 1. Use storage bins with square/rectangular shapes for modular stacking and fitting into corners.
Fix 2. Use pantry layout dimensions when constructing your pantry shelving. Very smart!
Fix 3. Use pin boards or magnetic boards for tool storage.
Fix 4. Use pocket or behind-the-door storage for oddly-shaped items.

Cover photo for pantry organization

Increase the Visibility of Pantry Supplies
An easy view of pantry supplies gets you instantly informed about what you have, what you are running out of and what you don’t have. It eliminates the frustration that comes with questions like “where on earth is the box of tea and pack of tea biscuits?’’, just when breakfast beckons, or “did I forget to shop for spices or am I just going crazy?”, right in the middle of cooking.
If any of those sound like your situation, let’s fix it!

Fix 5. Use tier shelve racks to elevate supplies while
Fix 6. Use see through bins or baskets to store smaller supplies.
Fix 7. Use the good old friend called “labelling”.
Fix 8. Use sufficient lighting in the pantry and possibly, install some in the shelves.

Boost the Accessibility of Pantry Supplies
Proper accessibility to your storage supplies is a time and energy saver in your kitchen. It’s one thing to have proper storage of pantry supplies but of what use is the storage if you have to constantly deal with the hassles involved in pulling your stuff out/placing them back in. A lack of proper accessibility to pantry supplies can also hinder decluttering. I’m cognizant of what it’s like to know exactly where your stuff is (increased visibility) but have a dilemma reaching for it, for the fear of having stuff knocked down and over the place and then having a mess to deal with -definitely not a thought-worthy situation. Neither is it when you have the kids rummaging for snacks where you stored grains. You want to give your kitchen an edge and feel very much in-charge?

Let’s get down and fix it!
Fix 9. Use pull-out drawers in shelves instead of just regular shelves.
Fix 10. Use rolling kitchen carts to move storage around. Oh, how fun!
Fix 11. Use portable storage bins/containers for frequently used supplies.
Fix 12. Use turntables, spice/can racks to store like items.

Reduce Waste & Improve Stock Taking
Pantry organization is not just about storage systems, it’s also about routine checks like stock taking, meal planning, etc. If you don’t pay regular attention to your pantry supplies, especially if you are someone who prefers bulk purchases, you are most likely culpable of food waste. Unnecessary waste is unhealthy for us and our environment. In reducing waste and improving stock taking in the pantry, let’s apply the 3R principle of eco-friendliness (Reduce. Reuse. Recycle).
Here’s a simple question. How often have you purchased stuff for the kitchen that you later realised you had and at times, even in abundance? I bet, that resonates with a lot of us. REDUCE the quantity of perishables you purchase, always use a shopping list and buy only what you are definitely consuming. Find a way to REUSE items that are disposable and those that have multiple uses.

Recycle! Oh! RECYCLE everything recyclable, from plastic/paper shopping bags to canisters and ice cream bowls. While recycling, please beware of hoarding. Not trashing what you can use is different from not trashing what you won’t use. You should also sort your supplies that are approaching expiry and if there isn’t enough time to consume them, you can donate or give them away. Also note that before you cook your meals, you should first cook up your meal plans.

Let’s get to the fixes.
Fix 13. Use labeled sorting bins for expiring items.
Fix 14. Use calendar/pantry inventory checklist for updatesIMG_3931
Fix 15. Use a grocery checklist and shopping list to monitor food purchase.IMG_3930
Fix 16. Use a meal planner to cook smarter (save money and time).

Beautify & Maintain Cleanliness
So after you have established all of the above fixes, a pantry that does not appeal to your senses still wouldn’t cut it. You want to pay attention to the aesthetics of your pantry if you really want a dream kitchen. Let’s be honest, not all pantry items are display worthy and without appropriate arrangement, not all display worthy items are pleasing to the eyes. When you are also faced with the challenge of maintaining a sparkling pantry, you should consider applying measures that allow for less dust, grease and stains.

These fixes should keep your kitchen and pantry pleasant to behold.
Fix 17. Use deep storage for less display worthy supplies.
Fix 18. Use junk drawers to hide kitchen junk. Who doesn’t have those?
Fix 19. Use vinyl decorative shelf/drawer liners for ease of dusting and cleaning surfaces.
Fix 20. Use silver flatware storage rolls for keeping your silver ware polished. Cool, right?

I hope these fixes will be helpful in adding some excitement to your pantry organization as well as providing easy maintenance. Please, share any other tricks you have kept up your sleeves as regards your pantry organization and remember that there are no hard and fast or one-size-fits-all rules in organizing. Go and make the most of your space but at the same time, please enjoy your unique journey of organizing.

Your organizing enquiries are welcome, anytime.
Your Organizing/Productivity buddy

*N/B You can find the images for these fixes and more organizing tips on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @JessylsCharm

Jesmine Chinwe Onyeukwu is an Organising/Productivity Expert, Coach, Speaker, Writer and the CEO of JessylsCharm, Nigeria’s first and leading Organising/Productivity Company. JessylsCharm helps clients beautify their lives, reclaim their effectiveness and boost their productivity with her space, paper and time management solutions.

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