At the end of last year the world discovered the glory that was the “Khloe Kardashian kitchen” and fell in love with it. As part of her Khlo-C-D series, the reality star showcased her self-confessed “crazy and organised-obsessed” ways – an insanely organised pantry, a carefully thought-out fridge and even perfectly arranged cookie jars. Since then we’ve been kitchen-consumed (and this Helen Green design did nothing to cure that).
Unfortunately, such organised ways don’t come without a little work (and, in Khloe’s case a professional or two). When she moved into her Calabasas home in 2014, she enlisted the help of Details Organizing a.k.a. Mary Astadourian and Jennifer Dynof – the force behind the home organisation of the Hollywood elite, including her sister Kim and Kanye’s closet.
Here Mary imparts her wisdom on kitchen organisation, including where to start and how to stay on top of things.
Q: Why is organisation so important to a home?
I really believe [in], and the philosophy of our company, [is creating] an environment that functions, that is calming and reflects your personality so that you are living in a space that is yours. You should be able to come home to an environment that is welcoming and soothing and is your escape. Home should be your escape from all the other things outside – you should be able to shut that noise out and when you’re organised, you can create that environment for yourself.
Q: Where’s the best place to start when organising your pantry and kitchen?
When you’re organising anything, start with a blank canvas because I believe it helps you to, not only, look at what you have to organise but it also helps you to look at the space. So have everything you’re gonna put in the kitchen but then look at all the space you have to fill so that you can then say, “Ok, this is the space I have – how am I going to use it? When I’m standing here, where am I going to be cooking? Where am I going to want to have my spices? What’s the logical flow of this space?” You want to look at that blank canvas and then you can slowly start to put things away.
[And] I always like to empty everything because I think that sometimes when people just try to move things around, it doesn’t work as well. I like to empty it all out because when you empty things out you find all those hidden gems.
Image Credit: Khloé With A K
Q: Would you recommend sectioning your kitchen storage?
I love doing that – that’s something we always do – because we’ve discovered that people love to see what they have. If you don’t see it, you don’t know it exists. We like to use open boxes or baskets depending on the clients’ preference. We did this in Khloe’s pantry as well – you can see where we’ll keep all the chip bags or all the cracker boxes so that it’s all contained within a category. It instantly organises those awkward-shaped boxes and bags and, yet, when you go in there and you’re looking for something, it draws your attention immediately.
Q: What are the main areas?
If you can, section your kitchen with cooking and eating. So what would be your forks, your knives, your plates, your glasses, your linens – [that’s one] section. And then there’s the cooking side where you’d have your pots, pans, cooking utensils, oils, spices… All that stuff would be on [the other] side.
Next to the stove, we always like to keep the cooking utensils and if you don’t have a nice-sized drawer right next to the stove you can always put them in some kind of attractive crock or vessel. I like to keep them in one drawer if possible. I like to put the things for baking in a separate drawer because we tend to try to put everything in one drawer and it really overwhelms things. I like to partition the drawers, if you can. It makes it very easy when you’re in the rush of cooking, you can see what you’re looking for. And it also makes things easy to put away. We like to put the pots and pans in separate drawers or cabinet shelves – the frying pans together and then all the pots together, all the different bowls together…
It’s all about keeping things separate and grouped – “like with like” as we call it. Usually when I go to someone’s house and they’re bringing us there to reorganise, nine times out of ten what’s wrong with it is that it hasn’t been organised in that way. As with all organising, if you take time to be specific it saves you so much time on the backend.
Q: What’s one thing a well-organised kitchen isn’t complete without?
Containers. For a kitchen to be well-organised we believe in putting your flour, the sugar, the basic staples in containers and labelling them and I think, without that, your kitchen tends to not ever look organised.
And it also gives you an instant visual of what you’re out of. A lot of the times if you just have a box, you’re shaking it to see if you’re out of something. And then you have flour in bags, which always gets everywhere. Containers present a really nice look.
Image Credit: Helen Green Design
Q: How can storage be made more attractive?
Because we design kitchen spaces as well, we’ve build in cool wood drawers that people can hide things in. We’ve built special spaces for fruits and vegetables. You don’t have to put everything in a plastic container and store it on a shelf – you can customise your spaces and do more unique things. You can get interesting containers to put things in and you can mix them up if you don’t want a uniform look. One of my favourite kitchens that we did [included] a series of beautiful glass jars with different kinds of wood lids and we filled the jars with all the snacks that that family loved to eat. They had all different kinds of nuts and healthy things on the counter and we set up a beautiful coffee station on a silver tray. A pantry can very much be like a closet – it’s reflective of the person’s personality. Khloe’s pantry was full of candy!
Q: And lastly, how often should you spring-clean your pantry?
I would say you should be checking that everything is still valid and not expired every six months. And you should clean it out and refresh it around that.