How to organize the pantry of your dreams in just one day

Ashley Murphy's tips will make your space more functional in no time.

March 19, 2019, 7:33 AM

"Good Morning America" is celebrating the arrival of spring with the "Spring Cleanup" series, which will help get your closet, your pantry and your plate organized for the season.

You've finally worked up the courage to tame your kitchen pantry. It may seem like a daunting task -- and it can be -- so we tapped Ashley Murphy, one of the co-founders of NEAT Method, a luxury home organization company, to help. Here, she shares tips for how to organize your pantry in less than a day so that you can better see what you have, use older products first and have an overall sense of comfort in your own kitchen.

Morning (2-4 hours)

PHOTO: Neat Method organization tips
Remove all items from your pantry to prep for the reorganization process.
NEAT Method

To get started, pull everything out of your pantry and other food storage areas.

While everything is empty, give all the surfaces a quick wipe down and sort all of your items into categories.

Sort items into categories that work for you (i.e. "breakfast," "kids’ snacks," "lunch prep," "dinner prep," "baking," "sweet treats," etc.). Tip: Don’t over-categorize, as doing so can make it more difficult to maintain your system.

Once you have your categories set up, check all of the expiration dates, tossing any products that are expired, duplicates or items you bought to try but no one liked, etc.

Then, determine where your "prime real estate" is located and place your categories appropriately based on your lifestyle. For example, we typically suggest making your breakfast station an easy-to-reach drawer or shelf because mornings can be hectic. But place your "sweet treats" on a higher shelf to discourage frequent snacking. If you love smoothies, create a smoothie station so it’s easier for you to make them every day.

Midday (3-4 hours)

PHOTO: NEAT Method measuring
Measure spaces and find organizational products that will properly fit them.
NEAT Method

As you go online and scan Instagram to gather ideas for organizational products you like -- such as drawer dividers, turntables, risers, baskets, plastic or glass jars and labels -- take into consideration where you think they will live within your space and how they will be used.

Before buying any of these organizational products, measure drawers, shelves and other spaces where these products will be used.

And take pictures of your space to the store with you to help choose the products that will best work for your space.

Now, don’t just purchase something because you think it looks helpful -- stick with those you’ll actually use and that make your pantry functional and beautiful.

End of day (1-2 hours)

PHOTO: NEAT method labeling
Labeling products and "zones" can help your reorganization process.
NEAT Method

And finally, implement your new products and labels -- and then stand back and congratulate yourself on the beautifully organized space you’ve just created.

But periodically reassess your space and your system. Your lifestyle may change and when it does, you should take a look at your space and your processes to make sure they're still optimal for how you’re living.

3 food and pantry organizations hacks that will change your life

PHOTO: NEAT Method implementing system
Implement a system that's easy to follow and makes your pantry more convenient to use.
NEAT Method

1. Make the switch to transparent food containers, especially for leftovers. This way you will know exactly what you have at all times. This will also help you when you need to create a grocery list so you don’t over buy.

2. Touch-up your refrigerator with your weekly grocery run. It will only take a minute or two. Take a quick glance to ensure items are in their correct zone and place new produce behind older produce so it doesn’t get wasted.

3. For cabinets and shelving above your head, consider placing items in a basket. It will be easier to access without a step ladder and lessens the risk of things getting lost in the back and forgotten.

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