An organized pantry and fridge requires re-packaging your groceries. Seriously? Not in MY world! It seems to me the payoff for being organized is having more time to do other things. And, let’s face it. Not all of us will enjoy having more time to play with our cat, dog, or those pesky attention seeking children. (‘Just kidding here, folks!) But, if you’re like me, having an organized home means having more time to cook a ‘real’ meal, have guests over with less than 15 minutes notice, and not freaking out when I come through the door at the end of the day because the place is cluttered and it seems ‘the work just never ends’.
Do we love the pictures of the neatly arranged, bright colored, well-labeled containers, bins and shelves? Absolutely! The pictures can be stunning! We get kitchen-envy. We can even consciously or subconsciously conjure up partner and/or parent guilt because our storage spaces don’t sparkle with space between the cans and the bins. Or, we didn’t notice our boxed chicken broth has finally expired. Right when we were going to make something with it, right?
Personally, I draw the line at spending two hours driving to/from the store, shopping, loading the car, unloading the car, then unloading the bags just to fish out containers and re-package all that stuff! The only thing I’m willing to sort out at this point is the meat bought in bulk (due to better pricing) into freezer bags. Of course, I could order my food online and hope for the best when my ‘personal shopper’ picks out the meat and produce as well as substitutions for what is not in stock from the already limited selection list. (This creates yet another list of ‘things not received’ or ‘in need of replacement‘– AAAAA!!)
Don’t get me wrong. I REALLY like containers! Among the many, many reasons: I like them to be transparent; to facilitate re-stocking or family members’ searching needs. I like them with lids to keep things from getting dusty and free of insects. And, I really like how vertical space can be utilized when they’re stacked! Yet, they can also take up way too much space when not fully utilized.
Example: If you de-package your cereal into 4 two quart-sized containers, your family uses up all but 1 in two of them, who is going to eat those last morsels? We all know the air from inside the container has already rendered the cereal stale. And, if you were really feeling energetic at some point, you’ve labeled those containers (and narrowing your future cereal choices unless you re-label). Yet, the not always stackable containers are still taking up two quarts’ worth of space, each. The option: Park the original boxes and when there’s a dab left remove the plastic liner, roll and clip the end. Now, you can use that Sharpie on the bag if need be! The cereal will take longer to go stale, you can choose another brand without relabeling, and your shelf has reusable space. But, the real payoff for me – I didn’t have to spend the extra time making my shelf look awesome, not necessarily more organized.
It’s not just about saving this extra 5-10 minutes of re-packaging your groceries. The lack of extra effort to look organized can be the psychological boost you need to put the rest of the groceries in their rightful places. (Remember – the key to home organization is everything in your home must have a home!) There are no extra steps to putting your groceries on the right shelves, grouped together by category, and rotated by expiration date. By cutting out the re-packaging steps, and the resentment of ‘having’ to do it, you’ll be much more likely to place your food and ancillary items in their pre-designated homes as you’ll feel less stressed about time and effort. And, voila! You’ve stayed organized! Now, you can play with the kiddos, read a book, watch tv, make dinner, clean the bathroom…
Kathryn Hisert's experience includes 30+ years of sales and marketing. This includes having been a Realtor for over a decade, a Marketing association president, and an Accredited Staging Professional. She is currently a member of NAPO (National Association of Productivity and Organizing), National and Arizona Realtor associations and various home staging groups.