Organization pro Emily Ley shares her top advice.


Best. Favorite. Necessary. Organization maven Emily Ley keeps those three words in mind when it comes to decluttering. She's an author and founder of Simplified, a brand of planners and organization tools for busy women. Ley finds calm in the chaos of everyday life with easy advice for planning and organizing.

What's one of the messiest and often overlooked spaces in a house? The pantry. It's also one of the hardest-working, high-traffic areas. Organizing a messy pantry can be a daunting task. Ley followed three pieces of her own advice for organizing the pantry of her home in Pensacola, Florida, and shared them with us.

Emily Ley Headshot
pOrganization pro Emily Ley shares her top advice./p
| Credit: Gina Zeidler

Gina Zeidler

Gina Zeidler

1. Declutter, keeping only the best, your favorite, and what's absolutely necessary.

"The kitchen is the heart of the home. Our four-year-old twins and eight-year-old little boy gather at our breakfast bar for snacks and meals. Having a clean space, with essentials easily accessible, makes our days run just a little smoother. When one of my kids wants a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, I need to be able to get what I need in a hurry. That's why it's so important to edit your belongings down to what you actually use. Have three ice cream scoops? You only need one. All those gadgets you purchased and don't actually use? Donate them to someone who may put them to great use. Embrace margin in your kitchen and eliminate the number of decisions you have to make while cooking and enjoying your space."

2. Store like items together in one place.

"Be practical in your space. Keep all utensils in one drawer, all plates on one shelf, and all cups and glasses together. Once you've edited your belongings to the best, favorite, and necessary, you'll find it that much easier to make your space work for you. House utensils near the table. Keep mugs near the coffee pot. Store plates near the stove. Not only will this simplify your storage, it'll make tasks completed in your kitchen more efficient."

3. Categorize food items.

"Color code if you're feeling fancy. I organize my pantry by packaging to keep track of what I have or need. All the cans are stored together, bottles together, and staples (used often) are decanted. Many people lose control of their food storage because they continue to purchase items they already have, adding to clutter and waste. Try decanting staple items to make everything visible by category. This makes it much easier to take inventory of what's in stock. Of course color coding isn't necessary; however, a Happy Stripe pantry only makes the grab for ingredients more fun! A pantry doesn't have to be fancy or over-organized; keep it clean and organized to simplify cooking and allow more time to be spent with your family."

Want more? Check out Ley's brand-new line of Simplified planners. Get set for a stress-free year with a colorful agenda.