Hot Take: The Best Time to Organize Is Actually After a Grocery Shop (Not Before)

updated Apr 12, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Joe Lingeman

The more time I spend in my kitchen, the more I see just how important it is to keep my groceries organized. A tidy pantry or fridge isn’t just better to look at: Keeping all those spices, canned goods, and even my produce tidy also saves space in my very limited kitchen storage and makes it super simple to grab exactly what I need when I’m cooking. (Nobody loves rummaging around in a dark pantry or disorganized drawer while the water boils over.) It also helps me save money; if I can see what I have, I’m less likely to accidentally buy duplicates or let things go to waste.

Most experts will tell you to organize your pantry and fridge before a grocery trip. The logic seems to make sense: Tidying up will theoretically give you a better idea of what you actually need to buy, and when you get home, all your new groceries will have a place to go. But according to Ashley Murphy, co-founder of the luxury organizing brand NEAT Method, there’s a smarter way to do things.

It might sound counterproductive, but organizing your kitchen after a grocery trip is actually a better move versus tackling it before you go. Here’s the reasoning, as Murphy explains it: When you have all your food inventory in front of you, you’ll be able to categorize it much more efficiently. Plus, you’ll know exactly how much space you need to store each category you decide on (which might even give you some creative storage ideas).

If, on the other hand, you declutter and rearrange your kitchen storage space before a grocery haul, you might not actually have room for the stuff you end up bringing home — especially when you end up buying more or different items than what was on your initial list. (That happens to me almost every time I shop hungry or during a sale, which would make organizing beforehand a waste of time.) Just because you’ve always done it one way doesn’t mean it’s the best way!

Do you usually organize before or after a grocery shop? Tell us in the comments below!