What Your Pantry Says About You

Do you have an organized pantry? Of course, organization in your pantry, like your refrigerator and other appliances , is key to a kitchen that is organized and easy to use.  This week, guest poster Tim Eyre examines what your pantry organization skills say about you.
Pantry OrganizationYou should never judge a book by its cover. But is it possible to judge a person by his pantry? Well, I’m not normally one to judge anybody. But I’ve found that when I walk into someone’s home and look at his or her pantry, a mental image of the owner instantly takes shape in my mind—and I am amazed at how accurate that mental image usually turns out to be!

No, I’m not just talking about the difference between a neatnik and a slob—that can be pretty obvious to anyone. I’m talking about more fundamental character traits—what the person is like, how he/she approaches life, and even sometimes what he/she does for a living.

You can tell a lot about people by how they organize things. And very often you need to look no further than their pantry to get all the clues you need. Here are some common personality types and the kinds of pantries you most likely will find in their homes:

  • The leaders (generals, CEOs): This pantry has all the little guys in front and big guys in the back. In fact, it almost looks as if all the cans, bottles, jars, and boxes were told by a photographer how to pose for a group picture. At first glance, the arrangement seems super-organized—until you notice that boxes of the exact same cereal are scattered everywhere, on different shelves and in different parts of the pantry, only because the boxes happen to vary in size. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that the owner can enter the pantry at will and instantly survey the battlefield in front of him. Everything is visible, all the requisite data is at hand, and therefore vital decisions can quickly be made.


  • The clerics/scholars: This type of pantry needs to be looked at closely. At first it can seem totally disorganized. Then you begin to notice that the apricots are way to the far left and the beans are right next to them. Next in line is the canned corn, and so forth. You soon realize that this pantry is a glorified file cabinet, where everything is arranged alphabetically. If you are the right type of person, you will find what you want in here in a jiffy!


  • The craftsmen (chefs, cooks): I can always tell when someone is a serious pantry user. The spices are with the other spices, the oils are with the oils, and the juices are with the juices. Not only that, but there is a wide variety of brands, styles, and types within each category. And the next time I visit, I always see new items—but everything is still organized the same way. These are the folks who make optimal use of their pantries.


  • The logical thinkers (engineers, scientists): OK, let’s look at the dates! Everything in the back is brand new. Everything in the front is relatively old. Looks a little like a high school yearbook, right? But logically, it makes all the sense in the world. First use the stuff that will expire soon. And save the newer stuff for later. As time goes on, the items in the back slowly inch forward. And the cycle of pantry life continues…


  • The survivalists: Eighty-four cans of SPAM, you say? OK, I think we all know what type of cat we are dealing with here. At least you know who to call if you ever run out of something.


  • The “look at me” types: This is the kind of pantry where as soon as you walk in, the first thing that hits your eyes is a jar of expensive caviar and a container of rare Matsutake mushrooms. The stuff that people actually eat is stashed out of sight, way in the back. The owners of this pantry harbor no qualms about guests poking their heads in and looking around. In fact, they welcome it.


  • The penny-pinchers: Instead of noticing the containers themselves, look at what is inside them. The boxes are half full. So are the jars—and the bags. Most of the containers have been re-used…and very often will be re-used again. Frugality is the order of the day! In this household, you can rest assured that sure that no scraps will ever be thrown away.


  • The free-spirits: This pantry tends to look very similar to the penny-pincher pantry, but with one notable exception: the half-full containers have no completely full containers to back them up. In fact, the owner of this pantry won’t realize he is low on supplies until the last flake of cereal finally disappears from that well-worn box.


Pantries don’t talk but they don’t have to. Without saying a word, they speak volumes about the people who own them and organize them. You should never judge people—but if you want to learn a little about them, just peek inside their pantry.

Tim Eyre works in the self storage industry, regularly traveling to see locations like a self storage facility in Peoria. In many locations, like the Brooklyn self storage units yard, Tim helps his customers store seasonal equipment when it is not being used for outdoor activities or home improvement projects.

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