5 Tips to a Tidy Pantry
One question Marie — and our certified KonMari Consultants — are frequently asked is “How do I tidy my pantry?” Understandably, a pantry can become a cluttered storage zone for ingredients forgotten or rarely used.
The KonMari Method™ goes well beyond folding in thirds or celebrating sentimental items – tidying has limitless applications. High-traffic locations that you interact with daily – like your kitchen pantry – are some of the most important areas to tackle.
Tidying a pantry using the KonMari Method is easy and rewarding: it transforms the space in a way that inspires more frequent cooking and sparks joy every time you open the door! Here are five tips to achieve a tidier pantry.
Discard expired foods
Any item that is past its expiration date and cannot be consumed should be discarded. Stick to your personal rules and comfort level. For instance, some people keep canned goods an extra month or so.
Whether virtually or physically, take note of expiration dates in one place. This way, you can easily keep track of which items are nearing or have already passed their expiration date – and use or discard them accordingly!
Ask yourself whether cooking with it will bring you joy
When imagining your ideal lifestyle as it relates to cooking, ask yourself if each item will bring joy. Think of any cherished recipes you can recreate or picture yourself chowing down on stockpiled snacks when deciding which items to keep. If your vision sparks joy, hold on to the items and prepare to store them. If not, let them go with gratitude.
This is a perfect time to reflect on any supplements, protein powders, health subscriptions or anything else you may have bought on a whim but never consumed. Consider their effectiveness – are they having the effect you want or would you be happier without them? If you choose to keep them, store them in a way where they can reward you with maximum benefit.
If you come across a batch of items that are on the edge, have what Marie lovingly calls a “borderline stock clearance campaign,” and see if you can create a meal using the ingredients that are about to expire.
Store food upright and by category
Whether opening a drawer or gazing upon your pantry shelf, you should be able to tell at a glance where everything is. It should only take a moment to assess all you have once your pantry is in order.
Store things in an upright position if the packaging allows and group them by subcategory. Basic pantry subcategories include seasonings, dried foods, dry carbohydrates (pasta, rice, couscous and so on), canned goods, sweets, bread and supplements.
Tidy Tip: Increase the joy factor by transferring dried goods to matching canisters.
Once you have everything stored and begin to use your newly arranged pantry, you will get a better feel for where categories and products truly belong.
Tackle the fridge, too
The refrigerator is the one place where you don’t have to take everything out to tidy it. You can if you also want to clean the shelves, but the KonMari Method™ doesn’t require it. Discard any extra sauces or seasoning packets and store the ones you frequently use in a small container to maintain an organized fridge
Keep your fridge about 30% empty – this way, you will have space for leftovers. The same rule applies here as for pantries: store foods upright by category so you know where they are at a glance. Put items back in the same place each time and it will become a habit.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle or Donate
If you have surplus food that you cannot possibly consume, take it to your local food bank or give it to a neighbor or friend.
Keep in mind that some food items can be easily repurposed! Look at your discard pile and see if you can find a possible non-edible use for any of it. Green tea bags can be used in incense lamps, on grilling chips or as delightful dresser drawer potpourri. Old pasta or baking sprinkles can be used for arts and crafts. For any food items that cannot be repurposed, recycle, compost or discard them mindfully.