Did Our Pantry Organizing Last? A Client Weighs in
Yes, we can organize for you and it looks great when we're done. But does it last?
After almost six years as a professional home organizer here in greater Houston, I get asked that question a lot! We have many repeat customers, so we've had opportunities to see the long-term effects of our organizing systems. Recently, we got to return to the home of a dear client to organize some new spaces. She suggested it would be fun to show her pantry not just "After" but "After-After"...six months after we organized it originally for her busy family of six. We couldn't wait to see how the pantry organizing systems held up in her home!
When I first met the client during our initial consultation in her home in The Woodlands, we spent time upfront talking about systems to guide the direction of our organizing plan. With four kids, two working parents and a dog, they needed a versatile space that accommodated lots of items coming in and out.
After moving into their home two years before, they hadn't yet found a way to make the home's two pantry areas functional and efficient for everyone. Mom wanted minimal visual clutter, but the kids needed to be able to see where things are located. The girls wanted easy access to all their baking ingredients and supplies. Everything needed a permanent home that everyone could identify, but they also needed space for back stock as well as disposable and to-go items that frequently came in and out of the house.
We measured every inch and shopped for the right products to maximize the space. The main pantry would store everyday family staples along with disposables and on-the-go items. The smaller pantry would be designated for baking.
First, we took everything out of both pantries and sorted it into categories. We tossed the expired food and consolidated items that were the same. Next, we established zones within each pantry for things specific to the family's needs. This included a breakfast station, contained snack zones, a dinner prep zone, a nut bar and a first for us...a designated back stock area to house the family's favorite foods from trips back to their native Canada. The smaller pantry was centered around baking so the girls knew exactly where to look when they wanted to whip up breads and desserts.
Armed with the family's wish list and an eye for styling to make it both attractive and functional, we began setting up the systems. We placed the new products and reused any of the existing products that worked well. We decanted items that were frequently depleted so it's easy to see when stock is running low. All the family's food and prep necessities went back in with a focus on the things they reached for most often being within easy reach. We printed custom labels for everything so there's no guesswork on where groceries should be placed and returned. Finally we styled the pantries so they felt curated, bright and calm.
We chose to incorporate a mix of white and clear baskets and bins for a fresh, clean look. The clear bins worked great for areas that were cleared out quickly (i.e., smaller snacks) so everyone could see what's available. We added an "Eat First" bin so opened bags and products near expiration didn't go to waste. The top shelf was made super-functional with turntables so nothing gets lost.
The door rack was repurposed with smaller items like mixes, sprinkles and packets. Small appliances are stored where they can be easily lifted and used. Lesser-used appliances are stored up high. Paper plates and disposables are contained neatly in clear floor bins so all ages can reach and see what they need.
Finally, we chose black labels throughout for high contrast, making it easy for everyone to read.
After-After, Six Months Later
How did it work? Here's what the client had to say:
"The team from Basket & Bin overhauled our kitchen and both pantries in August 2022, and much to my surprise those areas have *stayed* tidy and organized, even with 2 adults and 4 kids using and abusing the spaces daily. We've made attempts to organize before, but this was different. Everything was sorted and multiple configurations tried before settling on where each category should reside and what container/space limitation was most appropriate FIRST for function, then for form. It's bright and beautiful, yes... but more importantly, it works. No matter who puts away groceries or tidies the kitchen, the labels and categories mean they can maintain the system."
What's on your pantry wish list? Do you have spaces that don't function the way you need them to? If you liked this, we'd love to help you too! You can reserve your complementary consultation at www.basketandbin.com in our Contact tab. We can't wait to get organized with you!