5 Tips to a Tidy Pantry

One question Marie — and our KonMari Consultants — are frequently asked is, “How do I tidy my pantry?” Understandably, a pantry can become a storage zone for ingredients forgotten or rarely used.

The KonMari Method™ spans continents and cultures and goes well beyond folding in thirds or celebrating sentimental items. Tidying a pantry using the KonMari Method transforms it in a way that inspires more frequent cooking and sparks joy every time you open the door!

01

Discard expired foods

Any item that is past its expiration date and will not be consumed should be discarded. Stick to your personal rule and comfort level. For instance, some people keep canned goods an extra month or so.

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.

02

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.

This is a perfect time to reflect on any supplements, protein powders, health subscriptions, or anything else that you may have bought on a whim but never consumed. Consider whether they’re having the effect you want, or if you might be happier without them. If you choose to keep them, store them in a way where they can reward you with maximum effectiveness.

03

Store food upright and by category

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When you open a drawer or gaze upon your pantry shelf, you should be able to tell at a glance where everything is. It just takes only a moment once your pantry is in order.

Store things in an upright position if the packaging allows and group them by category as usual. Basic pantry categories include seasonings, dried foods, dry carbohydrates (pasta, rice, couscous, etc.), 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’ll get a feel for where categories and products truly belong for you.

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“When choosing what to keep, ask your heart. When choosing where to store something, ask your house.”

04

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. Store the ones you use frequently in a small box or container to keep your fridge tidy.

You’ll want to keep your fridge about 30% empty, so you have space for things like leftovers. The same rule applies here as for pantries: store foods 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.

05

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, or Donate

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If you have surplus food that you won’t possibly consume, take it to your local food bank or give it to a neighbor/friend.

Look at your discard pile and see if there’s a possible non-edible use for any of it. Expired beverage products such as green tea bags can be used in incense lamps or on grilling chips and make great dresser drawer potpourri. Old pasta or baking sprinkles can be used for arts and crafts.

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