Home & Living

How To Turn Your Messy Kitchen Into Pantry Porn

Can a regular messy person achieve pantry perfection? I tried it myself.

#Pantryporn is much tamer than it sounds: A search on Instagram reveals intricately organized kitchen pantries, often proudly displayed by a celebrity.

As a messy person, I stare at these photos with envy. The color-coordinated, glass container-filled images starkly contrast with my own trash-filled kitchen pantry. Is pantry porn even attainable for ordinary, messy people like me?

I reached out to a professional organizer for help. Laura Cattano, owner of Organizational Design , explained that organized kitchens can lower anxiety around cooking. When you know what items you have and can easily find them, preparing meals becomes less of a burden and more of an enjoyable pastime.

Pantry porn is about control. And with my pantry the mess that it was, I wasn’t in control: My things were in control.

Sarah's messy pantry before the professional organizer arrived.

“Being organized is just about knowing what you have and where to find it,” Cattano said.

When I explained that my husband was most affected by the mess, Cattano said that was typically the case with couples. My higher tolerance for clutter was driving my husband crazy.

“In most couples, there is one person that cares more, or sees [the mess] more than the other.”

For Cattano, the home is a sacred space when you can finally be in control. The organization of the home can often reflect where you are in your life.

To help you achieve decluttered perfection, Cattano shared the following tips:

Edit anything that you’re not going to eat or that is expired.

“Generally speaking, when you’re touching a bunch of items and then you stop on one and go, ‘Do you think I should get rid of this?’ — you should get rid of it,” Cattano said.

Group things by categories.

When you bake, you are usually pulling out the same items, over and over again. Those ingredients should be grouped together. According to Cattano, “it’s really hard for anyone to remember more than one category at a time if you are looking at a bin.”

Use clear glass to display food.

“It’s nicer to look at and it’s easier to see in a glass how much you have,” Cattano explained.

Remember to clean as you go.

“Because why bother taking it all out and putting it all back dirty?” she asked. That might sound obvious, but for messy people like me, it’s a question you have to keep asking yourself.

In the end, we used bins for categories of food that we didn’t want to look at, like canned goods. Grains and pasta went into clear jars. And we put tea, which my husband and I drink a lot, down at the bottom. You should have the easiest access to the things you use the most.

Homemade pantry porn.

“This is living better with less. Now that you see less, but you still have plenty,” Cattano said.

The best part? My husband absolutely loved it. For the first time in months, we cooked a meal together. I didn’t even have to ask him to go on a scavenger hunt for the pasta. For him, that’s the biggest turn-on there is.

How To Organize A Small Closet
Drawer organizers for socks, undies and bras(01 of 15)
This set of four drawer organizers includes pockets for all of your messiest drawer items. Get it on Amazon. (credit: Amazon)
A whole bunch of foldable storage bins(02 of 15)
You can never have too many of these practical storage bins. Use them to sort undergarments, workout clothes, toys, extra electrical cables and pretty much anything else you have lying around your house. Get a set of six on Amazon. (credit: Amazon)
A way or use all of that unused space(03 of 15)
When you hang blouses on an eye-level closet rack, you end up with a lot of free space down below. This four-section fabric closet organizer has a built-in garment rod at the bottom so you can store folded items like sweaters and jeans above, then hang your blouses below. Get it on Amazon. (credit: Amazon)
An over-the-door valet rack(04 of 15)
Use this adjustable over-the-door hanging rack to plan outfits for the week, dry towels or hang outerwear. Get it on Amazon. (credit: Amazon)
These practical closet shelf dividers(05 of 15)
This set of eight dividers gives you the ability to divide up your shelves to neatly stack essentials like sweaters, towels and blankets. You can also use them to keep your bags or shoes from touching your clothes. Get them on Amazon. (credit: Amazon)
These closet organizers for pants(06 of 15)
These S-type organizers are designed to store pants, jeans and scarfs, freeing up your shelf and drawer space for other items. Get them on Amazon. (credit: Amazon)
Hooks for your fancy bags(07 of 15)
These acrylic hooks are designed to hang your favorite purses and handbags while preserving their good looks. The wide-lipped design supports the straps so that even your leather bags maintain their look without creasing. Get them at The Container Store. If you don't need high-end hooks, S-hooks will also work just fine (and are much cheaper). (credit: The Container Store)
This mesh storage stack(08 of 15)
This is one of The Container Store's most popular storage sets for this brand, and it's easy to see why. This Start-A-Stack set is so versatile it can be used for pretty much any room in your home, but it's also a smart and quick way to whip your closet into shape. Get it at The Container Store. (credit: The Container Store)
A standard hanging closet organizer(09 of 15)
If your goal is to create more space, you can't go wrong with a hanging closet shelf. This one has side pockets so you can store lightweight sandals, small bags and accessories like hats and scarves. Get it on Amazon. (credit: Amazon)
These clear shelf dividers(10 of 15)
If you're looking for shelf dividers that aren't wire, these see-through ones are just the thing. They can be used to organize sweaters, towels, blankets, bags and even to separate closet essentials from other items you might be storing. Plus, you also get some extra storage space from them because they have a tiny valet hook. Get it at The Container Store. (credit: The Container Store)
This honeycomb drawer organizer(11 of 15)
If you just need to get a few loose items organized, this expandable honeycomb drawer organizer is the solution. Use it for socks, tights, undies, ties, handkerchiefs, scarves and more. Get it on Amazon. (credit: Amazon)
This utility closet door and rack organizer(12 of 15)
Storage needs vary, but this over-the-door rack organizer has pretty much everything you might need in one modular design. It includes baskets for storing bags and accessories, plus a board with hooks for things like jewelry, scarves and hats -- and it can be adjusted to fit your exact needs. Get it at The Container Store. (credit: The Container Store)
A shoe rack, if you have the space(13 of 15)
If you have the space in you closet, you might consider a shoe rack to free up your floor space. This model conveniently stores up to 18 pairs of shoes, and can also be used in as an entryway shoe rack. Get it on Amazon. (credit: Amazon)
This space-saving shoe organizer(14 of 15)
Most over-the-door shoe organizers have pockets for storing your shoes, but this version is arguably better if you want to protect out-of-season shoes from dirt and dust. Get it at The Container Store. (credit: The Container Store)
A hanging shoe organizer(15 of 15)
If you have too many shoes and nowhere to store them, a simple hanging shoe organizer might be all you need to declutter. This version holds up to eight pairs of shoes and frees up your floor space. Get it on Amazon. (credit: Amazon)

MORE IN Home & Living

MORE IN LIFE