Declutter, categorize and contain

These tips will turn your pantry into a functional space for the whole family.
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In order to maintain your newly organized pantry, Hannah Hansen advises involving the whole family in the organizing process. Photo by iStock

Hannah Hansen launched Hannah’s Home Organizing in 2019. Prior to opening her business, she was an early childhood educator — she also is a mother of two. “I have been an organizer at heart my entire life. I have also helped many people organize their homes in the past, even before I had my business license,” Hansen said.

Hannah Hansen Courtesy Hannah’s Home Organizing

Hansen assists clients in a variety of different home organization projects.

“I have taken on many different types of clients including downsizing for moves/home sales, packing, unpacking, staging, general decluttering, aesthetic organizing, large-scale hoarding jobs and more. I haven’t found an organizing job so far that I have said
no to or haven’t enjoyed.” Hansen said.

Hansen offers these tips on how to organize your pantry using the methods of decluttering, categorizing and the importance of containing.

“For pantry organization, it is best to start by taking everything out of the space when possible,” she said, adding that decluttering involves throwing away expired foods and removing any items that belong elsewhere in the home.

Categorizing can be done in multiple ways. “The idea is to create groups of similar items and a way you would look for and find that item,” Hansen said.

Containing each category means everything should have its own marked space in some way. “There are many different kinds of organizers you can purchase that are designed for specific types of food. Can organizers work well in small spaces if you have a lot of canned goods to store. Tiered shelving can be helpful for seeing what is at the back of a shelf. Pantry bins are good because they come in varying sizes but are better for lightweight items if you plan to lift or pull out the entire bin to access its contents.”

“For pantry organization, it is best to start by taking everything out of the space when possible.”
Hannah Hansen

Creating a functional space for the whole family is key. In order to maintain your newly organized pantry, Hansen advises involving the whole family in the organizing process.

Hansen also stresses the importance of labels. “If you find a system that works for you, keep it by labeling both the container on the shelf and the shelf itself,” she said. “Think of your shelves as a parking garage with designated parking. If every item has its own space, you don’t have to wonder where to put it back or what is missing.”

Hansen’s last word of advice is to allow for growth and change. As families grow, change happens, and your pantry should reflect this. “Don’t be hard on yourself if you have to completely start over every couple of years with your pantry layout,” she said.

Visit Hannah’s Home Organizing on Facebook, where she offers tips, photos and ideas for organizing your home.

This story can be found in the March 2021 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine. To get more stories like this delivered to your mailbox each month, subscribe here

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