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ADHD ORGANIZING TIPS

15 ADHD Pantry Organization Tips For Easy Maintenance

15 ADHD Pantry Organization Tips For Easy Maintenance

Put these ADHD pantry organization tips in place to create a well-organized, low-maintenance pantry that works for your brain.  

Is it a constant struggle to keep your pantry organized enough to find things when you need them? Given that everyone has their hands in there grabbing things regularly, it might feel like a never-ending battle. These ADHD pantry organization tips will help you keep your pantry organized longer:

Note: Many of these tips are ADHD-specific, but some universal rules overlap when it comes to organizing your pantry. Therefore many of these tips are helpful to everyone.

1. Avoid Overwhelming Yourself.

What you don’t want to do is take everything out of a large pantry all at once. Instead, break the project into small, easy to manage chunks. This will help you side-step getting overwhelmed.  It will also allow you to clearly see your progress.

At the end of the day, if you can open your pantry and see the fruit of your labor even if you are not finished with the entire pantry. This will motivate you to keep going.

As you work on one shelf or section at a time, remove everything from that space and sort food into related categories. Discard items that are expired, stale, or no longer needed. By pulling everything out, you will create more space than if you simply scan each shelf for items to get rid of.

2. Containerize Related Items to Keep Them Together.

Use containers to keep related food categories together.  This makes it easier to quickly locate and grab what you are looking for. 

Label the bins so that you and your family members are discouraged from tossing things in the wrong bins. Some examples of sorted food categories that can go into containers are energy bars, pasta, snacks, side dishes, candy, and crackers. 

3. If You Have ADHD, Pantry Organization Should Be Kept as Simple as Possible.

The best way to organize your pantry is so that everything is super easy to see, find, and retrieve. You want everything to be stored so simply that a 5-year-old could go in there and find exactly what he needs immediately. 

The simpler you keep your pantry, the more control you will have over your inventory. And knowing exactly what you have in there, and where it’s located is key. 

Once you lose control of this, everyone will stop knowing where to find or store things. At this point, everyone gives up and food starts getting tossed in there randomly, wherever space can be found…and this is where the chaos begins. I think you know exactly what I’m talkin’ about.

Organized Pantry

4Don’t Let Your Pantry Exceed it’s Clutter Threshold.

Once your pantry has exceeded its clutter threshold, it becomes less functional and user-friendly. Things become more difficult to find and put away because space is limited and things are crammed too closely together. 

If you can’t retrieve anything without struggling or knocking things over, your pantry has likely exceeded its clutter thresholdThis is where many families get snagged. The more stuff you have, the harder it is to stay on top of knowing what you have in there and where things are. 

5. Avoid Stocking Up

It is tempting to overstock your pantry because the tendency is to assume that the more you buy, the greater the likelihood that you will always have what you need when you need it. But believe it or not, the opposite is actually true. 

Nearly every cluttered pantry I encounter exhibits the same repeated issuetoo much stuff crammed in too small of a place. If you can control this one thing and be hyper-vigilant about not over shopping, and overstuffing, you’ll be one step ahead of the pantry organizing game. 

This rule rings true regardless of whether or not you have ADHD, but since those with ADHD get overwhelmed with visual clutter faster than those who don’t, it is even more important for us.

6. Make Everything Super Accessible.

Take things out of their outer packagesEspecially individual snack bags like granola and energy bars and any items bought in bulk packages. This way, little hands can get to them quickly with minimal disheveling.

Leave tops off bins and baskets so that everything is easy to see and access. Store often-used items at eye level so they’re easily reachable, seldom-used items on the bottom or top shelves. 

Note: Use caution not to store heavy items on high shelves as this poses a safety risk.

7. Use Helpful Pantry Organization Tools to Make Things Easier to See.

I like to use simple clear plastic pantry bins, and larger baskets for bottom shelves but there are numerous choices out there when it comes to finding pantry containers and baskets that appeal to you. Use an expandable tiered shelf to store spices and canned food so you can see everything you have at a glanceDon’t forget to label the containers.

Expandable Tiered Shelf for Pantry.

8. Establish Zones. 

If your pantry is large, create designated zones for different categories of items. For instance, have a breakfast zone with cereals, syrup, pancake mix, and oatmeal, and a baking zone, with flour, sugar, and other baking-related products. Establish an easy-to-reach snack zone with energy bars, nuts, chips, etc. 

This will make things easy to find and help your brain remember to keep related items together.  Naming those zones can also be helpful, not only for you but for your family as well.

9. Implement a Rotation System. 

To prevent food waste, use a first-in, first-out (FIFO) system. Place newer items behind older ones to use up the oldest items first. 

Remind your family not to open up new containers until the one already opened, is gone. Use caution not to buy more duplicate items than what you have room for.

10. Put a Regular Maintenance Schedule on your calendar.

Schedule regular pantry maintenance sessions to keep your pantry organizedThis could be a monthly task where you check for expired items, tidy up shelves, and make a shopping list. Be sure to get it on your calendar or you likely won’t remember to do it.

11. Ditch Complicated Pantry Organization Systems.

They will require too much time and effort to maintain. For example, it may sound like a great idea to store cereal in labeled plastic containers or your spices in little labeled glass jars. But be realistic with yourself, will you really take the time to refill it all regularly?  

Yes, pantry staples stored in multiple matching glass jars, will look fabulous. But this system will actually make you feel less organized if you can’t keep up with maintaining it. Low maintenance is your aim if you have ADHD even if you have to sacrifice beauty. 

It is more important that your systems are simple and super user-friendly than beautifulThis is where scrolling through Pinterest pins can put a snag in your organizing efforts. Most people with ADHD do not have the patience to mess with micro-organizing or maintaining high-maintenance systems.

ADHD Pantry Organization Baskets

12Don’t Store Food Anywhere Other Than Your Kitchen or Pantry.

Avoid having so much food surplus that you have to store it in more than one place. Avoid spaces like garages, or basements, they are generally dirtier spaces and are also too far away to be convenient.

Before you know it, you will forget what you haveyou might think you won’t but trust me, you willI have thrown out a boatload of expired food from these places over the years.  

Not only is this a waste of your time and money, but it is a waste of material goods. It is best to keep all of your food in your pantry if possible. The one exception is spices, cooking oils, and vinegar which should be stored in a cabinet near your stove. 

13. What to do if you have a small or no pantry.

If your pantry is small and you need to store food in other parts of your kitchen, it’s ok to dedicate a set of cabinets for that purpose. Just make sure to stick with one or two categories of food. For example, canned foods or baking-related products. 

This will help your ADHD brain to remember what is stored there so that you are not running back and forth between your cabinet and pantry looking for things.

14. Get Everyone on Board With Maintenance.

Once you get your pantry organized, it is important to call a quick meeting with your whole family to set some rulesEstablish the rule that everything now has a permanent home, and it is everyone’s responsibility to keep it that way.

Explain that keeping the pantry organized needs to be accomplished through team effort not just the person who organized the pantry. Show family members where everything goes because this may not be obvious to everyone. 

15. Never Shop Without a Grocery List.

One last very important tipespecially if you have ADHD, a grocery list is an essential tool for helping you stay on top of your pantry inventory. 

Ever play the guessing game at the store and purchase something you think you need just to discover that you already had more than enough at home? Avoid this by sticking to a list. 

Get yourself in the habit of adding items to your grocery list immediately when you realize you need somethingDon’t wait until later because you will forgetThis may be challenging at first if you’re not in the habit of doing it. But stick with it, and you will soon realize that this new habit is helping you stay organized.

A grocery list will ensure that you will stop bringing home things you don’t need and remember to buy the things you do. I have created a handy printable Pantry Inventory Checklist, for you to utilize. Take this list with you to ensure that nothing is forgotten on your next trip to the store.  

Conclusion:

By implementing these practical tips and strategies, you can transform your pantry into a well-organized space that supports your needs and helps you stay on top of meal planning and grocery shopping. 

By reducing your pantry inventory and simplifying your organizing systems, you will be well on your way to an organized ADHD-friendly pantry. You should be able to walk into your pantry and quickly locate and grab exactly what you need when you need it.  

Find more tips for ADHD Kitchen Organization:

Now, are you ready to tackle the rest of your kitchen? Click HERE to get lots of tips for creating an ADHD-friendly kitchen!  

Remember that organization is a skill that can be developed over time, so be patient with yourself as you work towards creating an ADHD-friendly home that works for you.

This post may contain affiliate links. I may receive a commission, at no cost to you, when you choose to use the links provided. See my privacy policy for more information.

Laura Coufal

About Laura

Who I am is a Southern California turned small-town, Midwest Mom. I am wife to Bruce and mom to my three girls. I am also dog mom to Ollie and Gracie, our quirky pups.

With a B.A. degree in Psychology, I have several years experience working with families and seniors. I believe in a holistic view to organizing. Clearing our minds of the clutter and chaos in our lives is just as important as clearing our physical clutter. By taking a holistic approach to organizing, we can make lasting change.

Back when I first started my professional organizing journey in 2013, I had what I thought of as a dirty little secret. I have ADHD and although I am organized, and enjoy the process of sorting, and tidying. I knew that there were many others with ADHD who really struggled with staying organized. I had a case of imposter syndrome and mostly kept the fact that I had ADHD to myself. That is until I learned that there are other successful professional organizers who have also learned to compensate for their ADHD the same way that I have.

I eventually realized that my need for order and simplicity actually stems from having ADHD as a way to compensate for my short attention span. So my gifts and my challenges are all ironically tied together to create who I am,  and I am able to relate to and help others as a result of this coping method that I have developed for myself.

I also help those without ADHD, who struggle with too much clutter.  Because simplicity and less clutter are always at the heart of staying organized, there is much overlap when it comes to finding solutions to clutter and disorganization.

I am dedicated to keeping my life as simple as possible and to helping others do the same by teaching them how to declutter their homes, simplify their lives, and manage their busy families better.

I have been helping others stay organized since 2013.

It is my deepest hope that you will find resources here that will bring you closer to living a simpler, more intentional, and more peaceful life.

The Simple Daisy Organizing
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