In order for your home to work for you, everything you use, and love needs to be accessible. You need to know what you have and where to grab it from at a moment’s notice. Some things will be easier to grab than others of course, but my point is, you don’t want to be searching through 5 different cupboards for one thing every time you need it.
That is of course when decluttering and organising your home efficiently comes in.
So, what happens when you have a lot of something, but it is used frequently? The best examples of this would be pantry food, cleaning products, toiletries, and even spare bedding for guests.
Let’s run with the pantry food as our main example here for now.
Your family LOVES cereal, you go through tons of the stuff and so you buy in bulk to remain cost effective. No problems there.
The problem arises when you are trying to fit everything else you need to into your food cupboards, but you have piles of cereal boxes taking up all the space. What’s more, as you tend to buy it most weeks in the food shop, it is always at the front, and you are always having to dig out the other things being pushed to the back. Not ideal.
One of my favourite solutions to this is to create a back-stock area in your home. A client recently described hers as “her shop” and I loved this as essentially that is what it is. Let’s stick with the cereal example.
Instead of having ALL the cereal in one place, you would designate an area, perhaps 4 cereal cannisters on a shelf. If that space is full, no more can be added here until there is space by either using the cereal up or decluttering it. You repeat this rule throughout the pantry food cupboard and instantly you know where everything is, it is easily accessible, less stressful and saves you time.
What do you do about the rest? You just told me that bulk buying what I use frequently is ok?
Absolutely it is. Now, you need to create an area in your home. Is it the cupboard under the stairs? Is it the garage? Is it the wardrobe in the spare room that is currently just full of junk, but could probably all be decluttered? Wherever it is. This is where you put the excess of everything. You keep the clear sections, perhaps even label it up but this is your first stop before buying more. You can even create a little inventory if you would like it to be a real shop.
That way, the areas you are using every single day are being kept clear and clutter free to help the areas work for you and keep tidy and clutter free, but you don’t have to compromise.
Of course, you do have to make sure you keep to the rule of once the back-stock area is full, you cannot make any more bulk purchases for any category until some has been used up.
Remember, the back stock area will be for all areas of the home, so categorising is important to the success. Perhaps having a shelf or basket for each – food, nappies, cleaning products and water all mixed up on the same shelf is going to give you the same headache as if it were all in the main cupboards so avoid this if possible.
I have added some images of some great examples I have found online for some inspiration.
A great all rounder solution here for a cupboard. Dividing into containers is a great solution to making sure you don’t buy too much.
Long and deep containers help make the most of the whole cupboard but also make it easy to pull out and see what is in the whole of the category at ease
If you have a cupboard under the stairs or similar, adding some shelves creates the perfect spot for a back-stock area
Another great use of containers. Tall bottles etc are kept together to stop any falling over as you search for the right item and smaller containers keep smaller items neat and tidy and in the right categories.
Showing how to categorise without containers. It can be done, you just have to be strict to keep it neat. You could add some shelf dividers vertically here between the tins to divide up the space if you worry you would mix them up.
Other useful tips when creating your back-stock area
- Do not use this as an excuse to bulk buy everything, just what you really love and is cost effective to do so. Do not end up bulk buying everything on sale just because you have the space
- If storing food in this area, you need to remember to keep them in expiration date order, just like a stocked supermarket, place any newly bought items to the back so that the oldest food gets used first. Otherwise, you will end up just binning food and the whole process is a waste.
- Use labels and division. This will be key to keeping on top of it all.
- Why not add an events section to your back-stock area. Many people start shopping for Christmas or special occasions for weeks in advance to not have to feel like one big hit in their food shop the week before. This keeps the items away from the general areas preventing clutter and of course, eliminates the risk of being used before the big day.
Do you currently have a back-stock area? Has this given you some food for thought?