Live Better

How to organise your kitchen and pantry

Professional organiser Natalie Morey explains how to get even the messiest pantry in order.

Chef hand returning spice into a spice rack. Food background. copy space

A place for everything, and everything in its place. There’s nothing more calming than looking into a well-organised pantry.

It makes cooking so much easier. You don’t double up on buying extra food, because you know what you have. Nothing falls out of the pantry when you open the door. You don’t knock over the oil trying to reach for the pasta, which is stuck at the back of the pantry. Plus, it’s so much easier to decide what to cook for dinner when you can easily look in and see what you’ve got available.

The biggest challenge in any kitchen is firstly the size, and secondly how it’s used. However, there are so many great storage products available now that even with the smallest pantry, you can still create more space and organisation.

Get prepared

To declutter your panty you’ll need at least an hour, possibly longer if it’s a big space. You’ll also need some motivation – set a timer and don’t stop until you’re finished! Make sure you’ve got rubbish bags, cleaning cloth and spray, and ideally a label maker on hand.

Don’t get overwhelmed. Remember, start one shelf at a time. Remove the item, check the use-by date of food and throw out anything that’s past it (seriously, do you want to be cooking with spice that expired in 2013?). Wipe over the shelf and put the item back in a logical, grouped order.

Use matching containers

This is one of the quickest ways to make your pantry look organised. Whether you’re a Tupperware lover or prefer glass jars, using these products can transform a chaotic panty in no time. You can use them to store so many things like flour, sugar, seeds, nuts and small snacks.

Go for clear storage containers

It will make things much easier if you can see what’s inside them. I use large plastic organiser baskets to store bulky items, and narrow pull-out containers for storing packets of spice, cans of food, etc.

Label, label and label everything

You might also label the shelf that the container sits on, or sections of your pantry, so that other people know where to put the item back.

Keep similar items grouped together

For example, all your baking items should be grouped together, all tinned foods together, etc. I like to use large plastic containers to keep baking items all grouped.

Sort through your kitchen appliances

Got too many? Ask yourself, ‘When was the last time I used this?’ ‘Do I really need two blenders?’

Use the inside of the pantry door

This is the perfect storage space for items that you use often and need quick, easy access to. Keep in mind though that you don’t want anything too bulky or heavy here, as the door still needs to close. Freezer bags, glad wrap, aluminium foil and snacks are the perfect items to be stored here.

Add shelf organisers

As a professional organiser these are the number one product I use when I’m doing a pantry declutter session. They come in lots of different shapes and sizes, and automatically give you an extra shelf and boost visible space. Tiered step shelf organisers are a great solution that create layers of storage.

Try a Lazy Susan

This can be used to maximise tricky space within your pantry and make accessing things easier.

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