A Pantry With Purpose

Does your pantry frighten you when you swing open the door? Do toiletries tumble out of the vanity cabinet? Whether it is the fridge, pantry, linen closet, game closet, or under sink cabinets, purging, prioritizing, and containing can make your chaotic spaces feel more in control. 

Purging is an important step—toss all those expired medicine bottles, old cake mixes, and stale crackers. It’s freeing to let go of things that no longer serve you. Even if it once cost you money, it is now taking up valuable space and costing you time to care for it and store it. Let it go! 

Prioritizing the important items is necessary so that you can identify what to keep, but also choose the right storage place for everything. Perhaps you do not use that heating pad as often as you use your hair brush; the heating pad can be stored in a bin for occasional use items. Keeping daily use items in one bin and less seldomly used items in another allows you to easily reach for those items you often need in a hurry, but also to remember where those important, but lesser used items went. When’s the last time someone called down the hall to you, “Honey, where’s the burn cream?” Having a specific bin for each type of item, like first aid items, makes it easy to find in an emergency and easy for people to put back. That’s half the battle: if things are easy to store, family members are more likely to store them where they belong. 

Containing is the last step. Decide on a basket or bin for each type of item. The size of the container dictates how much you can store. So, if you have a bin in your pantry for s’mores ingredients, you know exactly how many boxes of graham crackers should be in there. You also know when that box is gone, and the space in the bin indicates it’s time to shop for the firepit fixin’s! Using containers in the pantry for boxed food, canned goods, school lunch snacks, or even in the fridge for yogurts, sour cream, cream cheese, and similar shaped items, can make your shopping list a breeze to write. This method also allows anyone in the family to assist with grocery unpacking—and who doesn’t want more help on grocery day?