Decanting: What, Why, and When?
If you've been on the décor, design, and organizing side of social media you'll know that everyone is talking about "decanting". If you're a little lost or confused, this blog will help you out! I know a lot of my followers don't always see the benefits but maybe after reading what I have to say, you'll agree with me that decanting can change your relationship with organization.
What is Decanting?
When I use the word "decanting" I mean: taking items out of their original packaging and putting them into something new. That can mean taking granola bars out of a box and putting them into a new container. Or, in most cases, it means taking something like cereal out of the box and plastic bag and putting it into a plastic cereal container.
When decanting, we always use airtight seal containers. Whether it's glass container or plastic there are plenty of great products out there. OXO's are the containers that we tend to use the most, although The Home Edit and Rubbermaid both have great food storage products.
All the reasons why & when decanting makes the most sense:
We all know decanting is beautiful, every Pinterest perfect pantry picture out there probably has some items that are decanted. Those pictures make my heart happy. I love that it's beautiful, it's what I live for! However, it's not just for looks, trust me. Besides the fact that we all know decanting looks beautiful and makes pantries swoon-worthy, it's also super practical and functional. Here are the top reasons why:
1. Decanting Saves Space
The number one reason why I like to decant items is to save space. When you get rid of the bulky packaging, you're going to have room for more. Not only that, but you'll also have more room because the containers you're using are going to be consistent sizes. Sometimes I go to Costco and other times I go to smaller stores so the box or bag sizes are bound to be different. If you always have a consistent container for a certain item, you can put excess items from bulk packages somewhere else (up high, down low, just not in your prime real estate shelving spots). Getting rid of packaging eliminates clutter, and saves space because you're sticking with consistent containers.
2. You Can See What You Have
Reason number two why decanting is super helpful is it's easier to see what you have and when you're running low. In my pantry, I can quickly and easily see when I'm running low on nuts, cereals, grains, etc. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I've reached for my favorite box of cereal only to find that there's 2 cheerios left in the bag that someone shoved bag to the bottom of the box. No one had any idea that it was empty. Sometimes it's worse and it's an ingredient that you need for dinner and no one let you know that there was just a tiny little morsel left. Having clear containers allows you to see when you're running low, which means you can shop smarter. This works the other way too! It means no more running to the store to buy more of something you already have and eating what you have before it goes bad. Keeping an assigned place for each item and having it easy to see makes a huge difference.
3. Decanting Can Be Environmentally Helpful
I don't talk about this a lot, and I know we use plastic products in our organizing. I am making efforts to be more environmentally cautious myself especially when it comes to buying items in bulk, which saves money and helps the environment by avoiding lots of small plastic packaging. I love being able to buy a huge 30 lbs bag of rice at Costco instead of lots of little plastic bags of rice. And I love being able to get my oatmeal, cracked wheat, nuts and whatever I can from Sprouts. I just go and put them straight in my container. Already having designated containers for items I regularly use and can buy in bulk avoids unnecessary plastic.
4. Food Stays Fresh Longer
Storing food in airtight containers will help it stay fresh for longer. However, just you keep food in an airtight seal container doesn't mean it's going to last forever. I would still track the expiration dates from the original packaging. If you've ever bought a giant bags of Costco tortilla chips, you'll know how fast they go stale. I know my family as never made it through a full bag without them going soft by the end (like cardboard), although I don't decant my tortilla chips. It's always been hard to ensure kids (who are eating the snacks the most) roll and clip the bags properly when putting them away. When snacks don't get repackaged and sealed the way they should you'll end up throwing away more stale food. With something simple like an OXO or a container that's made to have an airtight seal, it makes it a lot easier for things to be put away and stay fresh longer.
5. Only Decant What You Regularly Use
This is just a recommendation and personal preference. I don't decant everything and I'm really mindful of what I decant. When I'm in clients' homes, I talk them through the items that they're using the most. I recommend decanting the items that you're using regularly. For example, the grains, breakfast items, and snacks that I've decanted are items that I either always have or something I can rotate through. I have one OXO that's filled with snacks but sometimes it's veggie straws, sometimes it's gold fish, sometimes it's pretzels. I know I'm always going to buy some grab-and-go snack to refill it. That's what works for me and my family. Containers are an investment and I make sure that they're high quality, will last a really long time, and are going to work in my space. While they are aesthetic, they're practical first.
You can decant other items too, not just foods! If you don't know the reason behind decanting, it can seem kind of silly or excessive or all in the name of having a look and not being practical. But for me and the homes I've been in, I really do think that it serves a practical function just as much as an aesthetic. The aesthetic, the fact that it actually looks beautiful, is the cherry on top because function and practicality is our number one priority at Reset Your Nest.
Decanting changes the way you organize, use, and buy food... for the better! The next challenge is maintaining your newly organized home. Plus, I know that it can be challenging to get husbands and kids on board. Remember that everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. I have had to get creative in my relationship to set up unique systems that help me get my husband on board so I know you can make it happen for your family too!
Jen is the founder of Reset Your Nest, a Professional Home Organizing business in Utah (Salt Lake City, Park City, Ogden, Logan, Utah County, and St. George), California (Bay Area, Los Gatos, Hillsborough, Atherton, San Jose), Denver, CO, and Phoenix, AZ. She loves creating order and systems out of chaos. Her specialty is finding a way to continue the aesthetic of any home to every cupboard and drawer. She shares her tips and tricks on Instagram @reset_your_nest.