Spot the difference – lessons from organising a grocery cupboard
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I helped a client to organise her grocery cupboard this week.  When I first looked at the picture she sent me before I went to her house, it didn’t look particularly bad. And even if you compare the before and after pictures there does not seem to be much of a difference.

Grocery cupboard before and after

However, pictures can be deceiving.  And the way that the cupboard was organised was obviously bothering my client enough for her to have asked for help.

So when I started to work through the shelves it became apparent that there wasn’t much of an order to how the items had been stored, which made finding things difficult.  Some of the key problems were:

  • A mix of different types of items stored together on all of the shelves e.g. baked beans stored with coffee, tea on another shelf with baking items, baking items on several of the shelves interspersed with tinned goods, spices and sauces for cooking, and oil with cooldrinks.
  • Items used regularly were mixed with items that were less frequently used.
  • Dried goods in Tupperware containers were all stored together even though the type of contents varied.  While this might look good, it did not help to find items.

So how did I go about organising the cupboard with my client?

1. The first step was to remove everything and to group the items into zones/types.  We ended up with the following main groups: cereals, hot beverages (tea, coffee, hot chocolate etc.), biscuits and snacks, spreads, tinned goods, oils and sauces,  herbs and spices, rice and grains, cooldrinks and spare milk, desserts, and baking goods.

2. While we removed the items from the cupboard, we got rid of any expired items or those no longer wanted/used, and wiped down the shelves.

3. We reshelved the items in the cupboard according to zones.  Those items used most frequently were in the middle, easy to access shelves and at the front of the shelves, e.g. tea/coffee, oils and spices, cereals.  Those used less frequently were at the back of shelves or on the higher shelves, e.g. baking goods.  Spare/replacement items were generally placed at the back of the shelves or were placed higher up if too large.

This image shows the main zones that we created in my client’s cupboard.

Grocery cupboard after zones

4. We used small plastic baskets to group together small items, e.g. baking essences and spice bottles.

5. Lastly we labelled some of the Tupperware containers to make it easier to locate their contents quickly.

These same steps and principles can be used for any type of cupboard in your house, especially for cupboards that hold a lot of different types of items.

If you would like help to organise any of your cupboard space in this way, please contact me at vicky@sim-plicity.co.za to arrange an appointment.  I would love to help!

* Note: These images have been shared on my blog with the client’s permission.


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