Cleaning a Pantry and General Principles

We are visiting my daughter and she asked my help in organizing her pantry. My daughter is intelligent, highly organized at work but has a challenge in transferring those organizational skills to home. Many women have this challenge.

Home care is a skill and can be an art form. Home care is a creative work when exercised with love, care, and skill.

When you need to get things out of sight quickly and you sweep them into any empty space in your drawers every drawer can become a miscellaneous drawer.

Basic organizational skills apply:

  • Designate each storage area for a particular purpose
    • In the kitchen you will be storing food and the items needed to prepare and serve food
    • In the bathroom you will be storing personal care items
    • In the bedroom you will be storing clothes and shoes
    • In an office area you will be storing paperwork and the items you need to deal with those papers
    • You can see how this principle follows for other storage areas—craft areas, laundry.
  • Store items close to their place of use
  • Store like items with like
    • In your closet keep each person’s shirts, pants, dresses, together by type.
    • Do not become over obsessive and have too many categories—NOT short sleeved, blue, striped tops, short sleeved blue patterned tops, short sleeved solid blue tops but simply short sleeved tops. If you want to keep colors together, all right, but let’s not get goofy.
  • Create centers in your storage areas—
    • in the kitchen
      • a beverage center with all you need to prepare and serve beverages—coffee, tea
      • a baking center with all you need to bake
      • a cooking center with all you need to prepare and cook food
      • a serving center with all you need to serve food
    • in the bathroom
      • towels and washcloths stored together
      • a place for your husband’s shaving items
      • a place for your personal care items and cosmetics
      • a place for medications
      • a place for toilet paper
  • Designating a place for each item and type of item simplifies locating things
    • A place for keys
    • A place for mail
    • A place for purses, backpacks and computer cases
  • Within areas containerize items so they remain separate and easy to locate. Containerize: use drawer dividers, baskets and bins to hold and keep items separate by use and type.

Yesterday I went through my daughter’s pantry and grouped like with like. I recommended that she get several bins for:

  • Children’s snacks
  • Chips and cracker
  • Rice and pasta
  • Teas and coffees
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Light bulbs

I am recommending getting a Dynamo labeler to label both the bins and the areas on the shelves where the bins go.

The canned good on the shelves are arranged by category—tomato products, canned beans, entrees/meats, canned fruit, canned vegetables, soups—the shelves labeled for each category.

Back at home: I use the drawer in my end table to put any papers I am working on away and out of sight but I go through those papers regularly.




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