Becoming NEAT! My Pantry Transformation
Before the Transformation
I am a person who finds joy and relaxation in the process of organizing. Don’t get me wrong – I love the results too, but the process of it is so enjoyable. I think it really appeals to my methodical nature – organizing seems to be mindful and mindless all at the same time. And in that way, organizing has become a preferred form of self-care for me. Hard day? I’d like to go home and clean out/organize a cabinet. Feeling overwhelmed with life? Strong urge to slow down and focus on organizing a drawer. There is always another thing that needs to be organized because let’s face it…it can be difficult to maintain the organization over time.
At this point, you’re probably either thinking, “Yessss girl! Me too!” or “What the heck is she talking about?? There’s nothing joyful or relaxing about organizing!”
And either way – the NEAT Method is for you!
I had the awesome opportunity to work with Katie Gorman from NEAT Method Cedar Rapids. Despite my affinity for organizing, I often find myself confused and overwhelmed when trying to decide the flow and function of the space, choose containers, and maintain the organizational system over time. In other words… figuring out the system of organization is hard. And THIS is where Katie really shines!
Katie came into my home for a NEAT Method consultation, and we decided that she would “transform” (Katie language!) my pantry! The pantry is a major hub of my home – it’s the starting place for all meal prep, the kids and their friends find all of the snacks there, and it also functions as our device charging hub and the place where hubs keeps his keys/wallet/change. It’s well-used, and it looks well used. Despite my fears, Katie came in and was completely neutral and non-judgmental (does anyone else feel like opening up messy parts of their home to a professional is a super vulnerable position to be in?!?) and began asking me a lot of questions about the function of the pantry itself, questions about the items in the pantry, and questions about my preferred aesthetic.
Katie had so many great ideas as we were talking, and I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t thought of them (turntables in a pantry??)! But of course, I didn’t think of them and I likely would never have thought of them because creativity in organizing is not a strength I possess. After Katie created a diagram of the space and measured the existing shelves, she left with the promise to be in touch soon with options for containers (squeeee!!!) for the space.
One of my favorite things about this process was the level of collaboration. Katie made sure that I was able to provide a great deal of input on the type and the look of the containers and she was extremely transparent about pricing, making it clear that she could work within multiple budget tiers. For my pantry, she used products from The NEAT Method, The Container Store, and Amazon and sent options for each type of container she wanted to use, but not so many options that it was overwhelming.
The Transformation: Organizing Day!
Katie did everything! I didn’t even need to be present – she transformed the space while I was at work. Katie ordered the containers and brought them over on organizing day. She had previously gotten my permission to throw away expired food she found, and she messaged me with any questions that came up. Easy peasy! It was so much fun to see it all come together, and gosh…it was PRETTY!
After the Transformation
My pantry will not be organized 100% of the time. Let’s be honest with each other. The kids will toss stuff around, I’ll randomly put things in there until I figure out what to do with them, etc. However, Katie has left me with a system that is functional and I can go back to the system time and time again.
Some of my favorite things about my experience with Katie and The NEAT Method:
- I didn’t have to do any measuring.
- It wasn’t required for me to search the internet far and wide to decide the aesthetic, type of containers, the number that I needed, etc. These are the types of decisions that typically feel overwhelming for me and stop me in my tracks and Katie just took all of that out of my hands!
- With the exception of snacks, which I tend to buy in bulk, I typically buy only what is needed for the upcoming week. Having an organizational system in place where I can visually see things better will definitely save me money over time because I won’t be buying things I already have because they are buried and I didn’t see them.
- Containers for cereal. Game changer. My kids love to use them and have spilled so much less. Also, in the past, I have tossed out countless boxes of partially used cereal due to them being poorly closed and becoming stale.
- The ideas that she brought into the pantry are ideas that I can take into other areas of my home when organizing.
- Turntables. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
A Few Organizing tips from Katie:
- To minimize the anxiety of starting an organizing space, take a look at the overall space (closet, pantry, etc.). Take away any items that don’t belong in the space, items that are broken, expired, or no longer needed. This step is big and provides a sense of accomplishment to get you started.
- Create discard and donate piles. Plan to take those items out of your home and car the same day. It’s easy to leave it and weeks later they are still there!
- Make organizing fun for the kids. Set a timer for 5 minutes, maybe 10 minutes, depending on the age of the kids. Have kids place items in bins, on shelves, in a cabinet, or wherever the item has a “home” in that space. Provide a small reward or benefit for helping the house stay nice.
I can’t wait to bring Katie and The NEAT Method back into my home to help with my walk-in closet. Just thinking about how to even start organizing it brings up that familiar overwhelm, but I know with Katie’s help I can get a functional and aesthetically pleasing system in place that will last for years to come.
Which space in your home would you like to have transformed by a professional organizer?