As a busy parent, I know how frustrating it can be to walk into your kitchen and feel like it’s in complete disarray. As an area that your family is spending hours in each day, it’s fair to want (and expect) for it to be well organized, easy to navigate, and easy for everyone in the family to be able to keep up with. You’ve trusted Mamavation to bring you the top 50 organic snacks, the top 100 healthy recipes bloggers, and how to keep your organic food lasting longer, now join us as we give you tips on how to get your kitchen and pantry organized.
I know that we are all busy and don’t have extra time on our hands to focus on organization (trust me, I totally get that!), but the good news is that once you get your kitchen and pantry organized correctly, the upkeep doesn’t take longer than the time you’re already spending on caring for and restocking these spaces. In fact, once your kitchen and pantry are properly organized you’ll likely realize that you are spending less time, money, and frustration when it comes to kitchen-related needs. That means creating systems for your kids to help with school lunches and after-school snacks, always knowing where the utensils or container is located, and driving down dollars that go to wasted food and overbuying.
So, what’s important to know when it comes to organizing the fridge and pantry?
Know what you’re working with. An important part of kitchen organization is taking stock of what you have. Pull out everything and forming specific groups from within broader categories of items like your drinks, fruits and veggies, and snacks. If you have food in boxes or bags, like granola bars, ditch the packaging. It takes up unnecessary space and makes it harder to see how much you have on hand.
Keep like with like. Dedicate areas of your fridge and pantry for certain types of food so that you know where to find what you’re looking for when you’re looking for it. Not only will you always know where to find a category, but you’ll also have a visual cue for when it’s time to replace an item in a category or help to prevent buying duplicates on your next grocery run.
Use clear containers to make your life easier. Put your food in clear containers that fit well on your fridge and pantry shelves. Not only will the container make it easy for you to pull in and out of these locations and help keep your shelves clean, but it will also help you see what you have and remind you to use it. I’m also a huge advocate of labeling my containers clearly so that everyone knows what’s inside.
Make adjustments. Fridge shelves (and many pantry shelves!) are adjustable and may need to be tweaked to best fit your needs. Similar to other areas of your home, the vertical space in these areas often gets wasted but it’s full of valuable real estate.
Arrange your kitchenware by the frequency of use. Put dishes you use every day on an easy-to-reach lower shelf and special-occasion pieces up above. Usually, with kitchenware, it is out of sight, out of mind. So make sure to keep items you want and use close by.
Make food easy for everyone to access. When it is difficult to know or see what you have on hand, a lot of times it leads to developing a good amount of wasted food and products because you don’t know where what you need is when you need to use it. When everything in your fridge has a home it is easy to always know where to find the item.
Check the out-of-sight places regularly. The bottoms of fridge drawers and back shelves can become scary pits for expired foods if they aren’t kept up on a regular basis. Before you stop by the grocery store make it a priority to pull out items in each category (and especially the drawers) to keep expiration dates in check and also refresh your mind with what you have already available in your fridge and what needs to be replaced.
Reset the kitchen each night. Put away leftovers, clean up the countertops, and run or empty the dishwasher each night so that the kitchen is clear for the following day. Waking up and walking into a kitchen for the first cup of coffee of the day is just that much more enjoyable when there isn’t a dirty spaghetti dish staring back at you.
ABOUT RACHEL ROSENTHAL
Rachel Rosenthal is an organizing expert and founder of Rachel and Company, a Washington, DC-based professional organizing firm. Since 2007, Rachel’s firm has worked with 2,000+ clients and teamed up with prominent brands, including West Elm, Pottery Barn, The Container Store, and Four Seasons. Rachel is a TODAY Parenting Contributor and her organizing tips and expertise has been seen by millions and in 70+ publications, including Real Simple, Martha Stewart, House Beautiful, The Rachael Ray Show, and local NBC, ABC, and Fox morning shows. Rooted in the belief that organization can be achieved by all, Rachel emphasizes solutions that are easy to use and enhance a home’s existing aesthetic. Check out her site and follow @rachelandcomp on Instagram!