I KonMari-ed My Tiny Apartment Pantry and Here’s How It Went

updated May 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Jill Chen/Stocksy)

I live in a New York City apartment with two roommates (hi, team!), and along with that comes a narrow (but super-functional) galley kitchen. We share everything — the fridge, the toaster, the blender, the milk frother (*heart eyes emoji*), the French press, and, of course, the shelf space — with one exception. We each buy our own groceries and precariously arrange them, with some semblance of order, in the shared fridge and pantry.

The current setup works pretty well. The only issue? We end up having a lot of duplicates. You see, we all like a lot of the same things: Justin’s Maple Almond Butter, quinoa, dark chocolate, wild rice, chickpea pasta, granola, dried fruit, and more. And things get confusing. Whose Justin’s is whose? Is this my quinoa or yours? Can I borrow some raisins? As you might imagine, this leads to a fairly chaotic pantry.

After watching Marie Kondo’s Netflix series, Tidying Up, I knew I had the tools to, well, tidy it up! Here’s what it looked like before (with the exception of the bottom shelf, which I had started purging after finishing my first episode of Marie Kondo magic).

BEFORE (Image credit: Lauren Masur)

The biggest problem with our cluttered pantry was the fact that none of us knew what was even in there anymore. We desperately needed to take inventory, throw out what was borderline fossilized, and condense, condense, condense.

To start, I grabbed a big garbage bag and started chucking errant empty containers. I stacked vertically when possible and arranged like with like (nuts on nuts on nuts, dried fruit with dried fruit, and got all of our Justin’s in a row). Then I made use of the organizers and clear buckets that we already had, but weren’t using to their full potential.

AFTER (Image credit: Lauren Masur)

When I found three bags of Trader Joe’s quinoa, each a third of the way full, I consolidated and put them in the grains bucket. I used the same strategy to organize the pasta bucket, and the rice bucket. Now we have three starchy buckets, all of whose contents I had long forgotten about.

The best part about our new and improved pantry is that we know where everything is. We can quickly grab whatever it is we need, without blindly searching for packages and toppling the whole operation. Something tells me this whole sharing thing is going to go a lot smoother now — and that there are a lot of grain bowls in our futures!