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Pantry Refresh

Pantry Refresh

How to Organize Your Pantry


How to Organize Your Pantry

Professional organizer Stephanie Jenkins started her U.S.-based business in 2019.
Professional organizer Stephanie Jenkins started her U.S.-based business in 2019.

No matter how hard you try, the pantry seems to get out of control. You stock up on pasta sauce to later discover you have several jars hidden in the back shelf, and every time you open the door, an item falls in your face. Getting your food storage under control can benefit not only your wallet, but also your daily efficiency (and mood). We called on Sandy Springs-based professional organizer and London native Stephanie Jenkins of Simplify with Stephanie to get the pantry in tip-top shape.

Step 1: Measure, measure, measure. Calculate the width and the height of each shelf and pull-out drawer. This will help you select proper storage bins.

Step 2: Choose storage solutions. Buy bins at retailers such as The Container Store, Walmart or on Amazon. Also consider lazy Susans for hard-to-reach corners and tiered shelving for cans. “I don’t recommend deep bins because they are cumbersome and heavy. Instead, get a 12-inch bin and put your overstock in the back.” Jenkins also suggests purchasing clear containers to decant cereal, rice, flour and sugar. “These keep everything fresher, and you can see when you’re getting low on something.”

Step 3: Inventory. Empty everything (and Jenkins means everything) out of the pantry. Check sell-by dates and throw out any expired foods.

Step 4: Organize by zone. Compartmentalize items based on how you use them. “If you’re a cook, your herbs and oils should be in one spot and easily accessible.” For example, Jenkins has a client who drinks protein shakes each morning, so all the ingredients for the shakes go in one bin that can easily be pulled out and put back.

Step 5: Be Strategic “When you put things back, it’s a little bit like Tetris,” Jenkins says. She stresses tailoring the accessibility of pantry items to your lifestyle: Daily-use items should be easyto- reach, and overstock or goods you don’t use every day should be put higher up. “Anything you want [kids] to eat should be eye level. Anything you don’t want them to eat should be higher.”

Step 6: Label. “Label everything,” Jenkins says. If you don’t have a label-maker, don’t fret. Jenkins says chalkboard labels are just as effective and can be reused. Labeling is important because it helps everyone in the household, from kids to housekeepers, understand the pantry’s organizational system and where food items belong.


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