Professional Organizer and owner of Simply Organized Co. Chantell Dennis and her team have organized many-a-home. So she's an expert at organizing any space in your house. In an interview, Dennis reveals how to start organizing, this year's trends, and the best way to organize a fridge and pantry. This year, Dennis predicts people are looking to de-clutter and live more minimalistic.
“After the pandemic, people were just over their stuff and had been making efforts to only have what they need and love,” said Dennis. “I’m guessing we’ll see people desiring to have less clutter in their homes and being more willing to part with what they have been holding onto.“
Organizing 101: Don’t Get Overwhelmed
Organizing can feel so ominous. Especially if the space you’re looking to tackle is larger and may need multiple steps, such as a kitchen or kitchen pantry. In her professional expertise, Dennis suggests the best way to get started organizing is to start with one drawer or one cabinet.
“I always recommend starting with your “junk drawer” or as we prefer to call it, your “essentials drawer.” Set a timer, pull everything out. Then, sort into three categories: keep, donate, and trash,” she instructs. “Out of the keep, categorize with like items, and place back in your drawer in an organized way. If containers are needed (and I highly recommend putting them in).”
Versatile, air-tight containers such as the ProKeeper+ Mini are great for keeping smaller items organized.
Kitchen Pantry & Refrigerator Refresh
High-traffic, highly-used areas like the pantry and the refrigerator can be hard spots to get organized and harder to maintain. Dennis has cleaned out and organized her fair share of refrigerators and pantries and developed a system anyone can implement that is both efficient and affordable. She suggests three easy steps:
For the pantry and refrigerator, find the right bins. Many bins are beautiful but aren’t keeping the integrity of the food in mind so they may either be airtight when the food needs to breathe or completely open when the food needs to be sealed to stay fresh. I love the Prokeeper Fresh Set because it allows for both!
For pantry items, labels and decanting are key. When other people walk into your pantry, they should know where to look for an item or know exactly where to put it back. Labeling creates order. Either the 5-Piece or 8-Piece ProKeeper+ Baker’s Storage Sets are a great option for storing baking ingredients.
For the refrigerator, she suggests lazy Susan’s on the top shelf for loose items. It is so much easier to spin a turntable to find your item than reach behind other items to find what you’re looking for!
Store your “eat first” food in the front so it doesn’t go bad!
For Smaller Spaces
Most apartments or condos don’t have the luxury of space for a walk-in pantry, but smaller kitchen spaces and cabinets can be just as advantageous. Dennis recommends using height where you can. She opts for space-savers like risers or stacking items to make more room in a drawer.
“The most important thing I try to talk to the client about is living for the space you are in. It’s important to not overstuff your current home with things because you “may” need them in the future. If you are in a small space, only keep the essentials.”
The entire ProKeeper+ storage container collection is stackable, airtight, and the ideal solution for smaller kitchens with limited shelving options.
Where Do You Start?
If 2023 is the year you kick your hoarding habit and you feel like tackling organization head-on, Dennis says she starts her project by asking her clients 3 initial questions.
What are your goals?
What is your budget?
Are you willing to part with some items?
“Approach the space by emptying it all out so you can see everything in front of you. You’ll have duplicates, things that are expired or broken, and items you just don’t use,” she said. “Seeing it all laid out also helps the client realize how much stuff they have and enables them to realize they need to let go of some things.”
Dennis said her favorite part about organizing is the end result, and seeing the client’s faces and reactions once they see their newly organized space.
“It’s relief, excitement, and appreciation for what they have. Sometimes people think that it’s their space that is the problem, but we can help people see that their space is great, it's just a professional organizer’s eye and touch.”
Simply Organized Co. X ProKeeper Product Set Collaborations
With Dennis’ organizing experience, she partnered Progressive (us) to create custom ProKeeper sets, for the fridge and pantry that she recommends for anyone looking to implement some organization in those areas. The Simply Organized Co. X Baker’s Storage Set and the Simply Organized Co. X ProKeeper Fridge Set are ingredient specific, airtight, and fit well into any kitchen.
If you’re still feeling a bit overwhelmed, lacking motivation, or any of the above, perhaps enlist in Dennis’ services, which–outside of the greater Los Angeles or Nashville areas, are available virtually. Her work is simple, refined, and accessible. You can view her work on her Instagram Page. This way you can enjoy the organization with none of the work, mostly.