Makeover: Packed Pantry
Today's makeover is a pantry that I really enjoyed working with. My client had been ill for quite some time. With major dietary changes, she was able to get well again. However, the rough road to wellness showed in her pantry. No sadness or gloominess here! We found some of the most entertaining cookbooks as well as an entire rice cooker that my client had ZERO recollection of ever owning! Much laughter was had while we cleaned out and organized this pantry. That's one of the great things about being really cluttered. When you clear out the clutter, it's like all the holidays wrapped up together as you find all these things you forgot you ever owned!
We started by clearing out the floor so we could get in. I pulled things out and my client decided if they would stay or go. The go things went into a go pile while the things that were staying went into categorized piles on the floor outside of this pantry to be dealt with later in the process.
Next step, I gave my client a massive stack of cookbooks to look through and make decisions on while I started in on the food. This pantry is the perfect example of how the system I use in super-cluttered areas. Remove first, then work through the more standard "sort, purge, put back" process. ALWAYS create space first. I decided to start at the bottom and work my way up. So, starting on the right hand side of the bottom shelf, I touched every single item. If it were expired or something my client was no longer able to eat due to her dietary changed then it went into either the trash or a box to take to the food bank. I repeated this process on each shelf.
Next, my client and I went through all of the non-food items together and removed anything she no longer needed, used, and loved. These items all went either into the trash or donation.
Once that was finished the pantry looked like this:
As you can see, MUCH more space. And with this space it's significantly easier to get on with the actual organizing part of the organizing process. Because most of the non-food items ended up fairly organized, we left them as they were.
With the food, I started back down at the bottom shelf of the food side of the pantry and sorted all of the foods into categories according to use: condiments, beverages, carbs, etc. Once all like items were grouped together, it was easy to set up. I placed the beverages and condiment-y (yes, that's a technical term) type things at eye level since that's what was used most often. The next shelf down was canned goods and more meal staples. Bottom shelf was sweets and items for baking. I did it this way because my client was cutting back on sweets and the lowest shelf was a little harder for her to get down to.
Pro tip: if you have any dietary concerns or are just cutting back on certain food items, make it a little harder to get to and/or see. After all, "out of sight, out of mind."
Et voila! After:
Hands-on time - 12 hours.