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20 May

pantry closet organization: before and after

I’ll be the first to admit it: I’m not a tidy person. when I get dressed, I throw my clothes all over the floor and bed (and it says there for a few days.) when I cook, I shove everything back into the cupboard and drawers like a crazy person and things pileup. I leave the toothpaste out without putting the cap back on and it slowly leaks out on the bathroom sink. I can never see my closet floor because my shoes and purses are shoved in there. I leave my armoire drawers wide open. I never made my bed in the morning until I married Lu.

I’ve always been disorganized. it was always kind of a joke in my family that Ali’s messy. I liked to think of my tidy style as “organized chaos.” and it never really bothered me until Luca was born. now, we have triple the amount of “stuff” in our home, from toys to stroller gloves. and I kept throwing it in our entryway “pantry” closet. it’s a large, amazing closet that was stuffed to the point that I couldn’t wheel the stroller inside any longer, because the floor was cluttered with steamer attachments and canned beans. needless to say, it was getting out of hand and even I was starting to feel it.

recently, I discovered that I was spending all my morning time “organizing” instead of laying in bed with Lu and the baby. I was getting frustrated with myself – why did I have to clean up and “get organized” before each day started? everything was cluttered and nothing was put away. my mornings felt rushed and chaotic. I wrote more about this here.

the disorganization and clutter was starting to affect my mental state and I wasn’t feeling productive during the day, because I felt like I was spending a good portion of my time trying to fish things out of the closet. I was spending money on canned goods that I didn’t even know I had, because it would take too much time to find them.

what I realized is this: I needed a system.

I needed a system set in place that would encourage me to be organized. that’s when I decided to seek professional help (seriously!) and found Horderly, a professional organization company run by the lovely Jamie Hord. I was excited to support another female entrepreneur, but even more excited to get my sh*t together, literally.

I asked Jamie to organize my pantry closet. every time I walked by the closet, I winced a little bit, and I knew that if I could organize this space, that would make me feel much lighter and less stressed. and let me tell you: it sure did.

so what was in this pantry closet?

  • coats/jackets
  • winter gear for us and the baby – stroller muffs, hats, gloves, etc.
  • entertaining stuff – linens, tablecloths, serving platters and bowls, cheese boards, holiday placemats, etc.
  • cleaning supplies
  • food – canned goods, flours, backup spices, broths, etc.
  • electric cookware – pressure cooker (loving the Mealthy!), toaster, etc
  • random cook and bakeware – immersion blender, dutch oven, grill pan, waffle iron, etc.
  • tote bags

there was just SO much and I had no system – it was all just randomly shoved in there.

the process

Jamie came in and in a little under 7 hours, my life changed. it’s a dream to walk into my pantry closet now – everything has a home (that’s one of her mantras) and I can easily retrieve things. I used to dread walking into that closet and would just buy things so that I didn’t have to climb up and find them – now, I know exactly what I have at all times – it’s clearly labeled, displayed, and easy to access. SUCH A BREATH OF FRESH AIR!

how did it work? Jamie (and her associate) came in and basically took everything out of the closet and started dividing it into groups. once all the food that was expired was tossed and everything was in a category pile (for example, flours/grains and then canned goods, then jackets/coats and then cleaning supplies), we went through what she calls “the edit.” here, Jamie asks me if I want to keep it or donate it and then if I want to keep it, how often do I use it (so that she can decide where it needs to be placed in the closet for frequent or infrequent access.) it was LIBERATING.

I had a lot of expired foods, foods that I wasn’t going to use, and lots of personal items that no longer had a place in our lives. and all of this was donated at the end of the day by Jamie and her team. easy on me and happy to see these items go to people in need!

then, Jamie started placing it all away and finding a home for everything – I tried not to look in the closet that much, because I wanted to be shocked at the final result and let me tell you: it was shocking.

before and after

so let’s get to the good part: the before and after photos!



a closer look at the shelves:

the cleaning corner



the jacket corner



a closer look at the top of the closet:



organizational tips from horderly

I wanted to finish this post off with some professional advice for those who are looking to get more organized!

How did you get started with professional organizing and when/how did you start Horderly?

I have been organizing my entire life, however, I started Horderly 2.5 years ago. Formerly, I worked in the restaurant business as a restaurant manager for Bobby Flay and one day realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life so I asked myself what I was passionate about. After coming across the fact that a “Professional Organizer” is actually a real thing I got to it right away. I worked Horderly on the side of my full time job for the first 6 months and before I knew it I became too busy spending nights and weekends organizing, I was able to go full time. Horderly now has a team of 4 🙂

What are your top 3 tips for staying organized?

1. Declutter
This is what’s called the editing process which can really make a difference in anyones organization. Going through your stuff and deciding “keep, toss, donate”. Less stuff, more time. Less stuff, more life. Less stuff, less frustration. I could go on! I recommend to clients to keep an ongoing “purge bin” so that you always have a constant edit going. One in one out is a phrase I always leave my clients with as well.

2. Label
Labeling will give everything an exact home and help you and your family know exactly where to put things back which makes for easy maintenance.

3. Prioritize
If you feel like you constantly have a to-do list piling up, take a minute to prioritize. You can’t do it all at once. When you prioritize you can identify the most important tasks and give those tasks more of your attention, energy, and time. Prioritizing will help you to plan and ensure that deadlines are met and keeps your stress to a minimum! stay more focused and get that project done more efficiently.

For someone who wants to organize a part of their home such as a pantry or linen closet, how do you suggest they get started?

Start small. Choose one area to start with and finish it before you start another. (i.e. the junk drawer) Know that organizing doesn’t happen overnight, it is a process. Consider hiring a professional to avoid any overwhelm, get the job done faster and put proper systems in place to make your home functional.

What are your favorite go-to products for organizing?

Go-to products we used for your space:

A few of our favorite go-to products:

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did! and wish me luck in staying organized!

  • Debbi herman

    I like things organized and usually haVe but the laSt few weeks I HavE beEn lazy just throwing thinGs On a bench in my BEDROOM Closet. You inspired me this weekend ali to Clean up and Purge clothing items i no longer wear-great feEling

    Sun May 20 at 5:08 pm Reply
  • Lee cockrum

    Thank you for sharing! IT is nice to see your human SIde:) Of course photos only show a small “slice” of life, but everything always looks great in your photos.

    Mon May 21 at 1:30 am Reply
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