Simple Living With Jeannette Thompson | The Kitchen Pantry

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March 1, 2017 9:00 am Simple-Living-Jeannette-Thompson

In part two of our Simple Living Series, Jen Ross introduced us to the KonMari method of tidying up – a process that enabled her to purge 20 bags of unnecessary items from her home. In part three, Upper End Agent Jeannette Thompson helps us tackle a part of the home that can never quite seem to stay organized – the kitchen pantry.

We’ve all been there; returning home from a trip to the store with bags full of groceries, only to discover that we’ve bought a bunch of stuff we already have. Fast forward a few months and our pantries are overrun with stacks of dusty cans, piles of expired snacks and a whole lot of clutter.

To help combat the food dysfunction, Jeannette abides by a seven-step system originally published on the Simple Made Pretty blog. The best part? It’s totally do-able in a short time frame! All you’ll need are printable labels and your organizational tool of choice (baskets, jars, drawers… or all of the above!).

“I found this step-by-step article to organizing the pantry extremely helpful,” Jeannette says. “I recommend doing this whole process once a quarter, or at least 2 times a year, especially as the seasons change, because that’s when your eating habits change.”

So how does it work? The key to Jeannette’s method lies in pairing items by their use, rather than their shape/size/category. For example, keep everything needed for a pasta dinner in one basket (the pasta, the canned tomatoes, the tomato paste, etc.) rather than keeping all your pastas in one basket and all of your cans in another. Not only will you be able to meal plan like a boss, you’ll know exactly what items you need before you head out to the grocery store – sounds pretty great, right?

Interested in learning more? Let’s break down the seven steps:

  1. Start From Scratch – Set aside a few hours of your afternoon and completely empty out your pantry. Once everything’s out, take a few minutes to wipe down and dust the shelves.
  2. Begin Sorting – As you sort through the contents of your pantry, begin placing items into groups (canned goods in one pile, snacks in another, etc.)
  3. Donate, Donate, Donate- “If it has been awhile and you haven’t used it (and the food isn’t expired), either make a plan to use it or donate it,” Jeannette says. “Pinterest is super helpful to find ideas to use food items – just search by that ingredient. If nothing comes up that interests you, donate the item and make room for something else.”
  4. Toss The Non-Essentials– If you can’t donate it and you know you won’t use it, don’t let it hang around. Recycle the packaging and enjoy the added space in your pantry!
  5. Make Room For Fido– If you have a pet(s), consider making the bottom of the pantry their dedicated space. Get a large clear container for food and a drawer for treats, toys, etc.
  6. Designate Spaces– Don’t let non-food items creep into your designated food space. Buy an organizational shelf or drawer for items like napkins and paper plates.
  7. The Final Touches– While the original method calls for loading items back into the pantry based on category, Jeannette’s spin of grouping by meal type allows for added organization and ease of mind. Groupings in her own pantry include baskets for taco night, kids snacks, soup makings and a drink drawer with teas and coffees.

Gone are the days of returning home with a jar of pasta sauce only to discover there were already three jars hidden behind a box of cereal (admit it, we’ve all been there).

For more home organization advice, visit Jeannette’s Pinterest board and if you’re really stuck, don’t hesitate to give her a call! With 11 years of real estate experience under her belt, she has seen A LOT of pantries.

Be sure to catch more of our agents’ great tips for a clutter free life in the Simple Living Series!