Here’s one surefire way to kill the vibe of an exciting cooking project or late-night snacking session: crap falling all over the place out of your pantry. Cereal boxes akimbo, dried strawberries at your feet, cracker box corners crushed beneath hulking protein shake mix containers. Expired couscous, hard-as-a-rock turbinado sugar. Just, no. Organizing your pantry and cupboards may seem like a daunting task, but with a systematic approach via some simple steps, neatness, efficiency, and pure pantry pleasure can be yours.

Step 1: Assess and Purge

Start by emptying your pantry and cupboard shelves completely. Pull EVERYTHING out. You know the Kondi rules. Assess each item and discard anything that is expired, damaged, or no longer needed. This will create space and ensure that you only keep items that are usable.

Step 2: Categorize

Group similar items together based on their categories. Place canned goods together, separate baking supplies, granola bars and kid snacks, dried fruits and nuts, plus section for grains and pasta. This will help you start to visualize the organization process and make it easier to locate items later on.

Step 3: Choose Storage Containers

Invest in the right, good looking clear and stackable storage containers, baskets, bins or boxes. Use them to store loose items such as snacks, rice, pasta, or baking ingredients. Go ahead and get your label on if you want to take it that far. There’s no extra credit to earn, but if you’re handwriting everything in a flourishing script or a cool graf handstyle, you’re getting an A+.

Step 4: Utilize Shelf Dividers and Organizers

Maximize vertical space by using shelf dividers and organizers. These can help separate different categories of items, prevent them from toppling over, and provide additional storage capacity. Consider using risers to create multiple levels for canned goods or spices. There’s nothing worse than a tower of random cans. Who bought condensed milk?

Step 5: Optimize Shelf Space

Arrange items in a way that makes the best use of your shelf space. Place frequently used items at eye level for easy access. Reserve the lower shelves for heavier items or bulk storage, and the upper shelves for lighter and less frequently used items. Utilize the door space by attaching small organizers for spices and teas, or everyday meds like Tylenol and Pepto, or all those supplements and adaptogens you keep buying.

Step 6: Maintain Order

Regularly assess your pantry and cupboard to ensure items remain organized. Take note of any expired or soon-to-expire items and discard them promptly. Return items to their designated places after use (yes, we know this one’s near impossible for you ADD types, just try. Every day is a new day and a chance to try again!) to maintain the organization and prevent clutter from building up.

Step 7: Create a Shopping List

As you organize your pantry, make note of any items that need replenishing. Keep a running shopping list to help you stay organized and ensure you always have essential ingredients and supplies on hand. Tuck this away in the kitchen junk drawer or keep it front and center on a little whiteboard, keep it in the Notes section of your phone, whatever works.

BEST OF LUCK! And (Julia voice) bon appétit!