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6 Steps to Pantry Organization

The Highlands | Denver, CO

Pantries can get real crazy, real quick if you don't have a good organizational system in place. But, with The KO Method, you can turn your pantry around in no time!

Check out the below video, followed by written steps, to see how I helped this client transform their pantry into a functional (and pretty) space!

Organizing a Pantry Using The KO Method

STEP 1: Consult

Before every project, I meet with the client to see the space, assess the situation, and understand what they're hoping to achieve. We discuss challenges, family habits, what's working (if anything), and other specifics related to the project. From there, I take photos and measurements, and then follow-up with an estimate. If approved, we pick dates and the planning begins!

STEP 2: Distill

On the day of the project, the first thing we do is pull everything out of the space. Literally, every last thing. We set aside anything that is broken, expired, and/or no longer used. For everything else, we group items into piles by like-item (e.g. spices, cereal, snacks, etc.).

Then it's time to shop for organizing products (i.e. baskets). I usually shop for product in advance of a project because I have a pretty good sense of what a client will need after our walk-through (this is why photos and measurements are important!).

However, if you're organizing a space for the first time, I recommend waiting to purchase product until you've pulled everything out of the pantry and have it categorized, as it will help you determine exactly what kind of products you need to purchase, how much of it you need, sizes, colors, etc.. You can see a full list of the products I used for this space at the bottom of this post.

STEP 3: Clean

Once everything is out, I always clean the space of dust, crumbs, and other debris by sweeping, vacuuming, and sanitizing. It's always nice to move everything back into a fresh, clean space!

STEP 4: Organize

Then it's time for the best part, organizing! I always plan out a space with Post-It notes before I move everything in, as it's a lot easier to move a Post-It Note around vs. 30 cans of soup. The goal is to create zones by like-item within your pantry. So, for example, put all your snacks in one spot, put all your cereal in one spot, etc., and then contain each category (or zone) into bins and other organizing solutions.

For this client, they had a lot of large entertaining platters and small appliances that needed to be stored in this space, so I moved those items in first. Most of these items were too big to contain, so I left them loose, but nested where it made sense, and labeled the edge of the shelf to make it easy for them to remember where to return items.

After the larger items were in their spot, then I started planning where all of the smaller food items would go and how they would be contained. It's a bit of trial and error until you get it right (even for us pros), so don't be afraid to move things around until it feels right. This is where the Post-it Notes can be very helpful!

STEP 5: Remove

Be sure to get rid of your trash, recycling, and donations right away, otherwise they will become clutter in your home. I always take care of this piece for my clients, making the day as easy as possible!

A great way to save space in your pantry is to decant and remove original packaging wherever possible. As you can see in the photo below, we removed a ton of bulk by getting rid of cardboard boxes and other packaging.

STEP 6: Reveal

Once a project is complete, I always ensure that the client is oriented in their new space. If you are organizing a space for your family, be sure your family is educated on the new system once it has been implemented. This will ensure that everyone knows where to find things, and more importantly, where to put things away!

For this client, I used turntables for all the liquids, a three-tiered expanding shelf for cans, and plastic bins for all the remaining categories.

Tip: When choosing bins and other organizing solutions, choose colors that will match the aesthetic of your home, and be consistent. Also, choose organizing solutions that will maximize your space as much as possible, ie - find bins that will fill the space edge to edge.

Last but not least, be sure to plan enough time to tackle your pantry. If you have a large walk-in pantry, plan a day where you don't have anything else on your calendar. If you have a smaller reach-in pantry, you may not need as much time.

Either way, be ready to feel great when it's done! It will not only look awesome and create efficiencies in your life, but you'll also get your steps in. Little known fact - organizing is a workout!

Products Used:

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