6 Expert Tips For Getting Your Pantry Perfectly Organized

New Jersey-based professional organizer Christina Giaquinto has seen it all. For years, she's organized clients' homes, and, in so doing, helped bring order and happiness to their lives. In our new series "Take It From a Professional," Christina brings us inside the world of expert organizers. Today, she reflects on one big pantry project and shares tips on how to maximize your kitchen storage.

  1. Invest in Organizing: Think about your organization project as if it were a remodel. You want this to last, so an investment is necessary, whether you're on an Ikea or a Container Store budget. If you invest in shelving and boxes, you're much more likely to keep a space tidy and organized.
  2. Keep Only What Belongs: Kitchen storage, and pantries in particular, are repositories for all manner of household goods. When tackling a big organization project, keep only what's meant to be there: food, drinks, and kitchen goods. Store other goods where they belong, too.
  3. Categorize: Christina advocates taking everything off the shelves and categorizing on the floor. Sort kitchen items into food, drinks, and other. Then, subcategorize. Keep like with like. In the case of this project, that meant soup goes in one area, soap on another shelf, and soda elsewhere.
  4. Re-Box: For goods you always have, like salt, sugar, and nuts, consider pouring new purchases in with the old in a plastic container. You'll minimize the amount of unsightly boxes in your pantry and achieve a more cohesive look.
  5. Keep Within Arm's Reach: Give a priority place to the items that see frequent use. For this project, Christina worked with a couple who really loves their soda. So what went front and center? That's right, their Coca-Cola and their ginger ale. Items which see less regular use, like appliances and party serve-wear, went on the hard-to-reach top shelf.
  6. Label: Labeling gets a bad rap, but it's actually really helpful for ensuring that things stay in their proper place. The whole point of organizing is to create a system which can be kept longterm. It's worth investing in a label-maker if that means you'll always put things back right where they belong. In the case of this project, Christina and her team took it one step further — the soda is even color coded.