>When it comes to pantry organizing, many people opt for the “organize by rearrangement method.” (i.e.: moving things around within the space, or as some like to call it, sh** shifting”). Sadly, and with great regret, we must inform you that this is not an organizing solution that will work for any sustainable method of time. Nope.
Instead, it’s all got to come outta there. You heard me. Take every single item out of the pantry – so be sure to have clear countertops and free floor space before you begin. Then it’s time to 5S that sucker! For those of you who have not heard of 5S, it is an organizing strategy/solution that had been utilized across the globe in large companies such as Toyota, Coca-Cola and Leatherman Tools with great success.
The 5S system is an organizing solution used by professional organizers and, when applied to the pantry, would look a little looks like this:
Sort: Once you have taken out every item in the pantry, sort them into “like” piles according to how you think / cook (or the person who is most frequently in the kitchen). If, for example, you cook according to recipes and food cultures (Italian on Tuesday, Mexican on Wednesday, etc), group foods by theme. If you cook with food groups in mind (pairing a grain with a meat and a veggie), organize foods by group.
Set in Order: Throw away any expired food and any foods that you don’t see yourself using in the near future. Remove excess cardboard and plastic from food packaging if necessary.
Shine: While all of the food is out of the pantry, sweep the floor and wipe down the shelves. Don’t forget to Swiffer the ceiling for cobwebs first.
Standardize: Once you are ready to put everything back into the pantry, clearly label each shelf or container so that other members of your family will also know where to place items. Hold a family meeting to show off your newly (and professionally!) organized pantry and to explain clearly where everything goes – staying organized should be a family effort!
Sustain: Once a week, check the shelves and floor, making sure everything is in place.
And Ta-Da! Your new pantry is in place.
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