KonMari Master warns against this pantry organization mistake – and suggests this clever zoning solution

The organization guru urges you to replace scattered storage with a KonMari zoning tip – for a pantry that will stay tidier for longer

Open pantry with organized shelves
(Image credit: Carolyn Barber)

Frustrated by the chaos of your pantry? Or kitchen cabinets? Or any space that's dedicated to storage, for that matter? You could do far worse than following this Marie Kondo-approved teaching. 

The KonMari philosophy, created by world-famous organizer Marie Kondo, covers all parts of the home – including the pantry – a space that is notorious for quickly becoming disorganized. Luckily, we have plenty of pantry organization ideas; amongst these is a zoning tip that will help keep the area tidy, and everything easily accessible, for good.

In order to practice this zoning tip, Master KonMari Consultant Sue Spencer says that we need to overcome a common pantry organization mistake: scattered storage. Here’s what this KonMari pantry idea involves. 

Pantry organization mistake to avoid – according to a KonMari Consultant 

pantry with grey tongue and groove panelling with exposed stone wall and beams

(Image credit: Dan Duchars)

It is easy to allow different storage containers to live in various areas of your pantry and kitchen. However, Sue warns that, according to Japanese organizing techniques, this is the key to disorganization. Instead, we should group similar items in one area – to find things easier – and keep track of how much space our items are taking up in our kitchen. 

'Busy kitchens often have scattered storage where similar items are stored in different spaces around the kitchen. I once found 15 travel cups in a client's kitchen, they had no idea they had that many taking up space in the cupboards until they were all emptied out at the same time,' Sue says. 

So what should you do instead? The Consultant recommends 'zoning your pantry' – so you will always know exactly what you own.

KonMari pantry zoning tip

White pantry with open shelves

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

This zoning secret is among the most effective of Marie Kondo's pantry tidying tips, but what does it involve? Sue explains that we should organize deep pantry shelves in terms of different meals and occasions, so you know exactly where to look at certain times of the day.

'Consider where you store things in the pantry and use different shelves for different ingredients and meal occasions – for example, a breakfast area, and main meal shelf. Also, store baking goods together,' she says. 

The expert also recommends using sticky notes as pantry organizers to plan where to store things. 'It’s much easier to move these rather than pack and unpack cupboards whilst you see what works best for you.'

Additionally, it is best to store items you don’t use regularly in harder-to-reach places – such as on higher shelves or in the back of corner cabinets. 

Under stairs pantry ideas

(Image credit: Future)

And this zoning tip works beyond the pantry too. If you're looking for problem-solving kitchen storage ideas, the rules remain the same. 

'This KonMari pantry zoning tip works brilliantly in kitchens, but also beyond, in bathrooms, living rooms, bedrooms, and even the shed,' says H&G's Editor in Chief, Lucy Searle. 'Avoiding scattered storage is the expert-approved place to start when you are looking for home organizing ideas.'

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.