Celebrities & Influencers Are Making "Pantry Porn" For Instagram Now

Busy Philipps has the most beautiful pantry I’ve ever seen. And I'm not the only one who finds it so. It has been breathlessly described by the likes of People, the Daily Mail, and Today.com. How many other pantries can say that? With its Sephora-bright lighting and obsessive colour coordination, right down to the individual wrapping on granola bars and the caps on bottles of condiments.
Philipps' pantry rose to fame via social media, naturally. Tiffani Thiessen, Mandy Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow, Whitney Port, Lauren Conrad, and Vanessa Lachey have all likewise shared the insides of their fridges, pantries, and other kitchen storage units. Each of these next-level home storage transformations is the work of the same two women, Joanna Teplin and Clea Shearer of The Home Edit.
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Whitney Port, who now runs an eponymous lifestyle website and is gearing up for the premiere of The Hills reboot, says she first heard about The Home Edit via Mandy Moore’s Instagram account. “I messaged them and told them I needed them, and I was so lucky to have them come help us do our kitchen and the garage,” the reality star tells Refinery29. “It's like a big puzzle for them.”
Port’s pantry in her Studio City, CA home, which was featured in a recent People round-up of hyper-organized celebrity homes, has glowing white shelves and is stocked with items like rose gold, pineapple-shaped goblets, big gold serving bowls, and a shiny silver KitchenAid mixer. Moore’s features a white Smeg toaster neatly nestled atop a shelf, a corner filled with artfully stacked paper towel rolls, and what seems like a lifetime supply of Perrier. I really can’t overstate how much Perrier she appears to have in there.
“To be completely honest, we had no clue it would take off like this,” The Home Edit’s Teplin and Shearer tell Refinery29. “Once we started sharing our work on Instagram, the floodgates (or in this case, Gwyneth Paltrow’s front door) opened.”
While Gwyneth may have been one of the first celebs to evangelize The Home Edit method of kitchen and home organization (she’s even featured them on Goop), she has a couple of pretty pantry predecessors. The Kardashians have been showing off their meticulous cupboards since late 2015 — that’s when Khloe posted a video of her kitchen online; she later showed off her picturesque tea drawer, and Kourtney shared her own pantry video, during which she revealed she doesn’t like her food to touch anything plastic. At least one Kardashian sister does appear to have come around to The Home Edit way of life — last week Khloe posted to Instagram praising the job they had done on, you guessed it, her pantry.
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But the trend of sharing obscure corners of one’s home actually goes back even further. Inspired by the influencer-focused beauty site Into The Gloss, women have been posting so-called #TopShelfies for years. Founded in 2010, by 2013 or so, ITG had turned the once-embarrassing insides of bathroom cabinets in to a source of intense fascination and posturing. The Coveteur did the same thing for closets. Now, socialites, celebrities, and fashionistas all vie for the chance to show off on these sites the place where they store their deodorant and anti-wrinkle cream.
What the #TopShelfie and burgeoning #PantryGoals (yes, that’s what we’re calling it) phenomena have in common is that — in addition to taking an often chaotic place in the home and turning them into something both aesthetically pleasing and easily navigable — they’re a true expression of having one’s shit together. If even your pantry or the inside of your fridge is a sight to behold, well, it’s safe to say the rest of your life must be going pretty well too. Right?
“The truth is, there’s a method to our madness — colour-coding and labelling is just a part of it,” Teplin and Shearer explain. “By purging items and creating a system that works for our client’s lifestyle and space, it’s innately easier to maintain. We also find that when people view a space as aesthetically-pleasing, they put in more effort to keep it that way.”
While The Home Edit’s distinctive aesthetic and celebrities’ predilection for singing their praises online are the things most likely to inspire imitators, it’s not just about looks (or likes). There are real psychological benefits to maintaining this kind of visual order in a household. Dr. Sally Augustin, PhD, is an environmental psychologist whose company Design with Science uses scientific insights to develop recommendations for the design of places, objects, and interiors. Dr. Augustin says that, for the human brain, there’s a Goldilocks-esque sweet spot when it comes to visual stimuli. We don’t like things that are too clean and whitewashed — that feels alien to us -- and we also don’t like things that are too cluttered, because, as she puts it, “When we were a young species, we needed to continually survey the world around us to make sure that something that thought we were tasty wasn’t approaching us.”
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“The research shows that we like spaces with moderate visual complexity,” she explains. “An example of a space with moderate visual complexity would be, maybe, a residential environment developed by Frank Lloyd Wright. That’s the sort of space in which we find the sorts of visual complexities that make us feel good.”
She says it’s possible that an organized and visually stimulating pantry or fridge can make its owner feel calmer and less stressed — and it goes beyond just knowing where the extra paper towels are. It’s in our brain chemistry. “Bring the complexity in your refrigerator down to a moderate level, and when you open the door, you would have a positive response.”
Perhaps this is why there are currently over 20,100 posts tagged #PantryGoals on Instagram. They show spices and grains neatly divided into cursive-labeled holding cells, cereals removed from their unsightly cardboard containers and placed inside transparent ones, and china arranged on shelves ombre-style. They are the product of bloggers, influencers, and even regular, non-internet-famous individuals. It’s unclear whether all of them know aboutThe Home Edit, but what’s very apparent is that Teplin and Shearer’s signature style has struck a chord.
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