My pantry spent four years of its life as a black hole for anything that didn’t have a real home. I’d oogle those pin-worthy pantry’s on Pinterest and never thought it was realistic to do mine. But after finding a wallpaper that called my name, and a friend with a new organizing business here in Los Angeles, I decided to take the plunge.
Did I need a professional organizer? You bet I did. There was no way in H-E-double-hockey-sticks that I was going to take on this project on my own. With 280 square feet of floor-to-ceiling stuff, I enlisted the help of my friend, Amy Friedman, from Clutter Away LA.
Not only is my pantry exactly what I always wanted, but taking the time to seriously organize it with someone who knew what they were doing has saved me time in my day-to-day life. Everything has it’s place now and it’s so simple for my kids and their friends (and, ahem, my husband) to find their snacks. I don’t want my people to be hangry, ya know?
Let’s not count this as a step, but I totally threw out four giant bags full of stuff before Amy came. I didn’t want her to pass out.
1) Take everything out and start with a clean slate. Good G-D this was daunting. But once it was out and the paint and wallpaper were underway, it was so inspiring to keep going and put it all back together.
2) Sort. Throw out anything that is expired. Donate what you don’t use so that someone else might be able to. Take wrapped products out of their boxes. Fruit snacks, protein bars and tea bags each have their own space in plastic containers that my kids can easily see. No more reaching into empty boxes!
3) Once your pantry is empty, measure the shelves and take stock of what you’ve kept that will go back in. Then decide what kind of baskets and containers fit your space and what you really need. Amy did all of the shopping for me and it was such a treat! I wanted gold accents and had a vision of a golden pineapple bookend…and she somehow found it!
4) Organize cookbooks by color. This had never occurred to me, and in fact after Amy left one day, I rearranged my cookbooks back to height order. But once I realized what she was doing with color (and after a discussion with my friend Gili, a Wardrobe Stylist — oh yes, that’s coming next) I realized that visually, things look much more put together when grouped by color.
5) Find a new home for things that don’t belong in the space. The baby’s toys are where they belong now and a 10-year-old, never opened Make Your Own Beer Kit has been passed on to someone who will actually use it.
And I have a beautiful space that inspires me every time I walk by it. Which is constantly. #momlife #iliveinmykitchen #andloveit
OXO Storage Containers
Anthropologie Pineapple Photo Holder
Chalboard Clothespins for Baskets
Water based erasable chalk pen
Amy Friedman, Clutter Away LA
Polite AF: What inspired you to start a home organizing business? Have you always been an organized person yourself?
Amy: I have always been an organized person but having a family really put my organizational skills to the test. I realized I needed to step up my game to stay on top of everything being thrown at me. Through a lot of trial and error I came up with systems that work well for me and my home. I have managed to stay on top of everything, which has felt great. I have always had friends who ask me how I stay so organized and people started asking for my help. It just made sense to start a business because I really love doing it and have really experienced the benefits of taking your organizational systems to the next level.
Polite AF: What do you find most challenging about starting a project like my pantry/someone else’s home.
I think the most challenging aspect about starting a project is accomplishing the client’s goals and not simply doing what I would do for my home. What works for me may not work for others. I really have to listen to what it is they want to achieve and try to implement that in the most effective way possible.
Polite AF: How do you like doing the shopping for people? Where do you gather your ideas from?
I love shopping for people! There are some items I know right away that will be needed but sometimes I will get inspired just from walking down the aisles at the Container Store or Target! I find inspiration in so many places; typically Instagram or Pinterest but also in other friends’ homes.
Polite AF: What’s the most important thing to keep in mind when trying to keep an organized home?
A lot of people think that it’s a one time thing. They will spend a day, a week, a month, etc. organizing their home and then they will be done. It’s never really done. It takes upkeep. But if you take the time to purge the things you don’t need and set up efficient systems in your home, the upkeep should be minimal. It can be as simple as tackling one space a day, even if that space is one drawer or one shelf.
Polite AF: What space in your home do you find most challenging?
For me, I think it’s the home office that gives me the most trouble. I feel like there is a constant influx of papers and emails. I’ve learned I need to tackle things right away, otherwise, they can get overlooked.
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