Exclusive: Marie Kondo's 5 secrets to 'tidying up' a pantry

In an interview with H&G, the tidying up guru reveals how to make most of every inch of your pantry – whatever the size

Marie Kondoorganizing a cupboard
(Image credit: Denise Crew / Netflix)

If you're anything like us, you've probably spent the last few days bingeing Marie Kondo's new Netflix series Sparking Joy – and have consequently caught a craving for organization. 

However, while you may not be a stranger to the pillars of the KonMari Method, there remains some less conventional rooms that could benefit from Ms. Kondo's expertise. 

Therefore, when H&G caught up with Marie, we were inevitably keen to pick up her lesser-known tidying secrets. This includes her pantry organization ideas that will keep your kitchen running smoothly – without sacrificing style. 

Marie Kondo's small pantry tips 

How can you maximize storage in a minute space, and how will it benefit your wider kitchen? Here, the master of pantry ideas shares her advice. 

1. Take stock of the items that bring you joy 

A pantry with teal interior and doors, and a sink and breakfast area

(Image credit: Liz Caan/Eric Roth)

The idea of only keeping items that 'spark joy' is perhaps the most famous of Marie Kondo's teachings, but how can you bring this into the pantry? According to Marie, the same teaching applies when it comes to food, as well as utensils and other kitchen accessories. 

'Think about your favorite recipes or the foods and snacks that make you happy. This will help you decide which items to keep and which items to discard,' she says. 

2. Store items upright

How to organize a pantry

(Image credit: Future)

Knowing which item to keep is one thing – but knowing how to store them is another. 'You should be able to see where everything is in a single glance when opening a drawer or looking at your pantry shelf,' Marie shares whilst discussing her kitchen storage ideas.

'By storing things in an upright position (as packaging allows), it creates more space and makes it easier to find items,' she adds. 

3. Group items by category 

larder cupboard with pocket door

(Image credit: Future/ Paul Massey)

Another celebrated element of the KonMari method involves the ability to organize similar items together, especially when decluttering. 

This teaching remains the same in a small kitchen pantry. Marie recommends breaking things into food groups, 'for example, dry carbohydrates like pasta, rice, grains should be stored together.'

'Canned foods should have their own place in the pantry. You can also use small boxes or bins as dividers on the shelf for easier organization,' Marie adds. 

4. Use clear storage containers 

Glass kitchen pantry, organized jars

(Image credit: Future)

'Feeling organized can also help bring joy to a space,' Marie shares. But what is her secret solution to a sense of order? 'Transferring dried foods like pasta, grains, and cereals into clear, matching storage containers will help make the space feel more organized,' she says.

You won't need to look at different labels on containers, which can make a space feel messy. Plus, you'll be able to see the contents much more easily.

5. Only keep what you need 


(Image credit: Devol)

'It can be tempting to stock up on items so you can save yourself a trip to the grocery store. However, having a surplus of items can add unnecessary clutter to your pantry,' Marie warns. However, Marie's pantry idea teaches you to rethink what you bring into your kitchen.

'Be mindful of the things you buy and what you store in your kitchen. Think about how much you consume in between grocery runs. If they won't serve an immediate use, refrain from buying,' Marie adds. 

We're following Marie's kitchen ideas from this moment forward – just as soon as we've finished the new series, of course. 

Marc Lupo
Contributing Editor

Marc Lupo is an entertainment writer, producer, and host. In addition to contributing celebrity content to Homes & Gardens, Marc serves as a weekly co-host for iHeart Radio's 'Naughty but Nice' podcast. Throughout his career, Marc has conducted hundreds of interviews with celebrities including Helen Mirren and Hugh Jackman. A native New Yorker, Marc has covered some of entertainment's biggest events, including The Grammys, Met Gala, MTV’s Video Music Awards, VH1’s Trail Blazer Honors and Variety’s Women of Power luncheon.