Keeping a well-maintained storage space can be quite challenging. Because most of these spaces (closets, pantries, cabinets) tend to be concealed, it’s easy to neglect them, turning what was once a mildly messy area into a barely contained disaster zone. One area in the home that is particularly prone to this type of disarray is the pantry. With all of the provisions, utensils, canned goods, appliances, and other miscellaneous items that occupy this space, we recommend an occasional pantry purge to keep things under control. But even after it’s all shiny and free of expired foods and other things you should’ve thrown away a long time ago (no judgment here), it’s still important to implement some sort of organization system so you don’t find yourself facing the same clutter conundrum.
RELATED: The New Rules of Pantry Organization
For advice on how to tackle this task, we tapped interior design expert and “home therapist” (she’s also a licensed therapist!) Anita Yokota, whose signature approach to organization ensures that her pantry is easy to navigate and picture-perfect. The Anita Yokota Method involves arranging pantry items by function or recipe. She gave us a peek inside the organized pantry in her newly redesigned kitchen (above) and shared her top tips.
“Instead of grouping pantry items by overall categories, like spices, dry goods, canned goods, etc., I like to group items by function. Creating recipe prep trays for busy partners and families is key,” Yokota explains. “For example, in my pantry I organize by two to three go-to meals we always make during the week. I take a tray and I put all the dry ingredients and canned ingredients I need for my go-to chicken stir fry, pasta, taco nights, you name it. Even including a recipe card helps!”
To avoid a frantic search for the right ingredient, Yokota uses a specific system to locate the right spice with ease. “Another organizational tip I like to use is organizing all of my spices by savory or sweet and then, again, by my go-to dishes I make weekly,” she says, adding that baking, traditional, and artisanal spices and global spices all have their own placements. “This way, when I’m in a hurry, the recipe spices are already conveniently grouped together. I don’t have to deal with a long search through spices for specific recipes.”
Wish your own pantry was this functional? The home pro shared some top tips and her favorite organizers, below.
Group Items in Baskets
Add this modern basket to your pantry-prep shopping list. These chic metal containers are perfect for storing fruits, snacks, and dry goods, plus the wooden handles make it easy for you to pull them off the shelves.