7 ways to declutter common problem areas at home
If you set aside the time to declutter and reorganise your pantry once and do it well, you can put systems in place to help ensure it stays organised.
First, clear the shelves and take everything out, says Amy Revell, co-founder of The Art of Decluttering. “As you place items on the bench or kitchen table, try to group like with like so you can see what you have. Group tinned veg, pastas, baking supplies, and as you go throw out anything out of date.
Once cleared, give surfaces a good clean and consider how the space can be improved. What do you have trouble finding? What do you use the most? This will help you plan your storage.
“Where possible I recommend adjusting your shelf height and incorporating additional shelving,” says professional organiser Robyn Amott of Bless This Mess. “This provides the flexibility to break up each category of item rather than stacking.”
Internal wireware baskets, which can be retrofitted, can really enhance capacity, says Briony Mikrou of Kaboodle Kitchen: “Soft close pull-out baskets in a range of widths and slender tiered baskets, which draw the contents towards you, will stop items becoming lost and forgotten at the back of the cupboard.”
Flexi Storage “Clever Cube” baskets in natural sea grass or water hyacinth add a nice textural feel and are a great way to corral overstocked items and bulk packets. Also try including a few tiered shelf raisers and lazy Susan turntables.
Pantry doors and butler walls can also be used to boost storage. Try products like the Flexi Storage ”Pantry”, which creates up to one metre of storage spread across five shelves.
A consistent style of labelling will give your pantry an ordered look and ensures you don't grab plain flour when you're after self-raising. To keep track of “best before” dates, Robyn suggests writing the details on a label and sticking it to the bottom of the container. “Another good tip is to cut out the cooking instructions from packaging and affix it to the container as well,” she adds.
“Get into the habit of running down your pantry food supplies by meal planning, and shopping from home first,” advises Robyn.
Decanting bulk dry goods like pasta, flour and cereal looks appealing, extends shelf life and enables you to stocktake your pantry at a glance, says Robyn. Stackable clear acrylic or plastic containers are a good choice. Try the ClickClack “Pantry Cube” range in 900ml to 4.3L sizes.
Pantry storage between waist and eye height is prime real estate and ideal for everyday items. “Group like items together and consider who will access them,” says Amy. “If your children get their own breakfast, place cereals and spreads together on a shelf they can reach.”
Where possible, Amy suggests keeping heavy items like bulk rice and oil on the ground or bottom shelves so they don't accidentally topple down.
Install your own pull-out pantry baskets with our step-by-step guide.
Photo credit: Armelle Habib, Kaboodle Kitchen, Anna Robinson and Cath Muscat