How To … Declutter your Pantry

With the pantry moths about to arrive for their season in autumn, it might be a good time to have a look into and de-clutter your pantry.
As with everything organising, pick a timeframe, maybe even diarise that you need to do this. Be realistic in how much time this will take. But don’t be afraid of splitting a large pantry project into a few smaller ones. There is no rule that you have to do the whole cupboard/room in one go. What about doing one shelf every day?
Take everything out: onto a horizontal surface, and that might be the floor (use a clean towel to cover)
Make a decision about every item.

do I need it, is it useful, do I love it?

If something doesn’t tick any – away it goes.
Pantries are reasonably easy because we get pointers: used by date are a good one to realise something hasn’t been used for a long time. There is very few or nothing sentimental items lurking in a pantry, so you don’t have to make any emotionally hard decisions.

“Clutter is delayed decisions”

Everything coming out of your pantry can be placed in one of four categories – the same I use all over the house (except for paperwork)

Keep – in this area
Keep – somewhere else in the house

If you are a current customer or have been to one of my workshops, you will be familiar with these categories – and will know about my love for the last one: Keep – somewhere else in the house.
This is to keep you focused, in your mind and in the location.
Instead of trying to find a spot for all the odds and bobs that might be coming out of your pantry: the leftover candles, the pens, the soccer trophies all placed here without thinking too much – shoving is the word I like to use- you place them in a container and keep going. Instead of leaving the room and maybe starting to think about organising other areas in your home – everything gets placed in that last category and you can keep working on the pantry, the task you set out to do!
That should be the de-cluttering done!
When organising everything back into the pantry, be very realistic with your approach. Do you love Tupperware, but always have it in your Tupperware drawer rather than used in fridge, freezer and pantry? Do you search Pinterest for food storage ideas but secretly know this is just procrastination on doing the task?
The amount of times I find more empty containers than groceries in pantries is astounding.

See the difference between ‘wanting’ and ‘doing’

If you didn’t decanter your flours into matching, labelled containers in the past – chances are, you are not going to do it in the future.
Settle for an easier solution. Maybe having al carbs on one shelf is good enough. Maybe just labelling the shelf will give you and your family enough structure to keep it up. Or you will put all packs/tins/sachets in an open container, grouping like with like and make it easier to keep on top of your organisation mixing again after a few days.
You are the judge of this – it’s better to have things done now than done perfectly later.
Here are a couple of ideas on how you could label in your pantry. (they are from a recent garage/office project, but showcase the different options nicely I think)

label on container

label spot on a shelf

label under container

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