A few years ago, we went all in on a total kitchen remodel and it was completely life changing. I even renovated the area that serves as our pantry and mudroom and made it the kitchen storage space of my dreams. The one thing I forgot was how hard it is to actually organize everything so this incredible pantry I designed works as efficiently as I imagined.
Not only does organizing take loads of time, it takes so much skill, and I finally decided that there are some times you simply need to call in an expert. When it comes to all things organizing, I use my “phone a friend” on the amazing Jinger Denison of Jinger Interiors. Her style is phenomenal, but even better, her organizing skills will help you sleep better at night.
We had space for everything in the pantry before, but it wasn’t quite functional the way I had imagined. You know, where everything is right where it’s supposed to be when you need it? That’s always the dream, and Jinger made it a reality.
Listen — we’re all friends here, right? I’m going to show you the truth I was living every day, and I’m going to ask you not to judge me for it. (Jinger never judges, which should definitely be her motto.) Here’s the before “situation.”
Jinger came over for a consultation, and I showed her the kinds of containers and the styles I liked. The next part is the best: when it came time for the hard work, we were required to be out of the house. She got down to the dirty work, and I took the boys on a daytime adventure, knowing when I got home, my whole pantry mess would be solved. I’m pretty sure when people say “self care” this is what they’re talking about, for the record.
My favorite thing about Jinger’s pantry overhaul is that she organized everything in a way that works for my family’s day-to-day lifestyle. She gave me a thorough tour of where everything went and why this new layout makes the most sense. Now, not only does the whole room look so much better, but it might actually stay that way!
I asked Jinger what her tips would be for anyone who wanted to follow along at home, and she gave me 3 tips you could DIY at home if you’re all too familiar with my jumbled pantry mess. For the record, I say skip the DIY and hire Jinger, but if you’re inspired to get started right this minute, here’s what you should do.
3 Organization Tips from Designer Jinger Denison
1. Work With A Blank Canvas
When organizing an existing space, take everything out first. Empty all cabinets, drawers, shelves, etc. Once you can see what you’re working with, you can decide what can be thrown out and what can be consolidated.
Group like items, such as coffee/teas, condiments, sauces, canned goods, pastas, spices, etc. Then you can decide where to place them and which items you want to be the most accessible.
2. What You See Is What You Get
Speaking of accessibility, when it comes to little ones, only keep accessible what you’re ok with them getting on their own. By keeping healthy snacks at their eye (and grabbing) level, you can give them a sense of independence without the stress of worrying about what food choices they’re making. Once they’re a little older, keeping breads and condiments accessible will also allow them to help with prepping food for lunches and snacks.
On the flip side, make sure cleaning supplies or anything that would be toxic for kids or pets are out of reach, as well as any sugary snacks, chips, crackers or cookies. Dry goods fall in the middle, because who wants to snack on uncooked pasta and rice?
3. Be Transparent
Visibility is key. If you have deep cabinets, keep things to a minimum since the items in the back can be easily forgotten. If you’re short on space, invest in clear bins that can be stacked, and consolidate as much as possible. If you have smaller packages of items, store in clear or white bins, so they can be easily accessed. Adding labels helps identify items in these bins, but also adds a personal touch.
I’m so serious — if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the thought of getting a space organized, you would benefit from a professional. They can do everything from organizing your essentials when moving into a new home, to redefining and improving an existing space. Every day when we all use the pantry for our independent needs, I’m so glad I worked with someone to help me get it all together. Our house can finally function as well as it was designed!