6 Simple Steps to a More Organized Pantry and Fridge

Conquer clutter in your pantry, fridge and beyond with these tips from professional organizer Lauren Combs, owner of The Neat Method

By Lauren Combs 

Photos courtesy of The Neat Method

 I think we all strive to be more productive….I certainly do!  There are many benefits to being organized, like helping to manage stress and responding to life and work more efficiently and effectively.  Being organized means being able to find what you need when you need it, and when our minds aren’t focused on clutter (either physical or mental), important things don’t fall through the cracks.

People may think about organization differently these days, given that we’re confined to our homes. If you are looking to structure your day more effectively, start prioritizing your objectives and make to-do lists. Organize your day whether it’s picking up the house, doing laundry, baking with your kids, tackling your junk drawer, etc.

In any case, keep your goals realistic. (So don’t give yourself a 20 item to-do list every day.) Depending on how much time you actually have, schedule anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour each day to go through “stuff” — whether it’s paperwork, a single drawer or your closet. 

I  use the same process for any space: 

Step 1: Remove Everything

Step 2: Categorize

Step 3:  Edit – separate by Keep, Donate, Toss

Step 4: Find Items a Home

Step 5: Purchase & Implement the Proper Materials (bins, dividers, labels, etc.)

During this time of uncertainty and feeling stuck, one of the biggest areas we are focused on and might want to manage better is food prep. No matter how big or small your pantry area and refrigerator are, they are likely spilling over with food as we continue to prepare every meal at home. Along with the process above, here are some organization tips for both your fridge and pantry:

1. Purge

Toss all expired food like old condiments, spices, forgotten frozen items, cans and boxed mixes, etc.  Start fresh and make more room for frequently used items.

2. Categorize

Group food items into categories so that you can always find what you need and you will see what you have and use it before it goes bad.  Use categories (i.e., “salty snacks” for chips, pretzels and crackers).

3. Customize

Adjust fridge and pantry shelving if that’s an option — it will make space for things like tall wine bottles and big bags of chips.

4. Condense

Remove excess packaging (like the outer bag from the string cheese or the box around the canned drinks).

5. Contain

Use clear, airtight containers to decant anything from smoothie powders to pasta; use clear bins for categories in the fridge and pantry (consider visually appealing, woven bins in the pantry, too); think about using lazy-susans, risers for cans and spices, soda organizers and drawer dividers that can help contain categories and customize each space.

6. Label

Label categories with a uniform look, like chalk or craft paper that can clip, tie or stick right on bins and canisters. Labeling helps you see what you have and helps every member of the family find what they are looking for.

The biggest piece of organizing advice I can give: Find a home for everything and make an effort to maintain it.

 Neat Method is a national professional organizing company with locations throughout the U.S. and Canada.  We plan and implement an organized system for any space in a home, from garages to closets and pantries, and every area in between. Our team of training organizers works to customize each space, finding a home for every item.  We have a method to our madness, working towards function, efficiency and organization that is sustainable for our clients to maintain.

For more inspiration check us out on Instagram at @neatmethod and @detroitneat, or at neatmethod.com. For questions or inquiries, contact Lauren Combs, owner of Neat Method Detroit.  laurenc@neatmethod.com, 313-910-6343.