We know how busy you are. We’re all time-poor these days and unless you’re one of the lucky few who is obsessed with cleanliness and order, that means shoving stuff into cupboards and closing the doors can be such a good option.
But what Marie Kondo proved when her organisational antics took the world by storm last year is when it comes to peace of mind and a smoothly running household (yes, it is possible), less is definitely more. And orderly is even better.
The experts say the best way to tackle an out of control pantry is to pull everything out and put it on the kitchen table or benchtop.
Wipe the cupboards down and have a good look at the empty space.
It’s deeper than you remembered, isn’t it? It feels calm, doesn’t it?
First, check all the use-by dates of the products on the bench. Ditch what’s out of code – no, powdered stock from 2013 is not still useable. Throw it away. All of it.
Sort the rest into two piles. One pile is the stuff that is frequently used.
Find a storage box, ideally with a lid and put all the infrequently used items in it and set the box aside– we’ll deal with that in a minute.
Sort the frequently used items into cans, spices, cereals, baking.
Yes, matching containers make a big difference. Purchase some and set about emptying all the dry contents of boxes and packets into them. Apply labels, we naturally love Pretty Little Designs and can’t see past them.
Put everything back into the cupboard and keep your sections separate. Put your designer’s hat on here. Make the groups look orderly, heck even lines them up by size if that floats your boat.
Find a place for the box of stuff you don’t use frequently, in the laundry or the scullery or in the garage. During the next month, take note of the items you needed to source from the box. If it is warranted, store them properly and add them to your pantry. If not, either keep them in the box for a bit longer or donate them to charity. They’re not needed and your life is better without them.
Understand the Science
Spaces that are easy to navigate lead to increased motivation. That means you’ll feel a whole lot better about cooking and preparing food when you’re working in an orderly space.
Spaces that look pretty bring joy. Even if you’re a minimalist, labels will make space look more appealing because they make the job of finding stuff easier. That means you’ll feel a whole lot better about cooking and preparing food.
Shopping lists are so much easier to get right when you can open your pantry and see an empty, labelled container. No more running out of stuff at the worst possible time because you forgot. No more asking others….” what do we need”. That means you’ll feel a whole lot better about cooking and preparing food.
Food that is stored properly, lasts longer. Choose the right containers and your hard-earned will go a whole lot further. No more replacing flour because a pesky weevil snuck into an unopened pack. No more replacing sugar because it went hard. That means you guessed it, you’ll feel a whole lot better about cooking and preparing food, because you actually have, well, what you thought you had. Hallelujah.
Your family will get the drift. A well organised, properly sorted pantry is pretty hard to ignore. Miss 14 is going to be less likely to stash her returned maths test in there if everything else has its place. Master 10 won’t ask where the Nutrigrain is. And Mr 40-something won’t ask you if you bought coffee this week. That means you’ll have more time, patience and inclination to cook and prepare food. Because being nagged about what is or isn’t in the pantry has to be one of the biggest burdens to fall on the shoulders of the kitchen supervisor.
Now it’s time to sit back, relax and plan your next meal.