Just like any other closet, the pantry is prone to clutter, forgotten items and outdated junk. With these organizing tips from the KonMari method, however, you’ll be on your way to a clean and efficient pantry in no time:
1. Get rid of expired foods. The grocery items we tend to accumulate in our pantry are not immortal. Jarred and canned goods come with an expiration date, so make getting rid of anything that has expired your first step. If you come across items that are getting close to expiring, get out your recipe book and whip up a few dishes that call for those ingredients.
2. Reevaluate ingredients. Your pantry may be cluttered with sauces you bought on a whim, protein powders and supplements you stocked up on during a health kick, and other ingredients that are just not getting used. Take a hard look at what’s in your pantry and donate anything you’re not using to a neighbor or soup kitchen.
3. Store things so you can see them. The key to an efficient pantry is being able to quickly see what you have. Categorize your items—i.e., grains, vegetables, condiments, etc.—and make sure everything is standing upright for maximum visibility. Invest in shelf risers so that items don’t end up hidden behind another. Consider using canisters to help further organize your dried goods, such as pasta, cereal and coffee.
4. Reduce, reuse and recycle. As with any organizing project, creating the least amount of trash possible is the best way to go. If you have a surplus of food that you won’t be able to use in time or that you just don’t like, give items to a neighbor or food bank. Empty jars and cans of expired food then recycle the containers. Finally, see if you can use unwanted items in creative ways—such as craft projects that call for pasta and baking decorations.