Spring cleaning is upon us, and I’m walking through various areas of my home and getting things decluttered, cleaned out, and organized. The pantry seems to be one of those magical places where, no matter how hard I try, it becomes a twilight zone of random (usually expired) forgotten about granola bars, baking mixes, old holiday candy, and a can or two that was purchased ages ago. While I’m trying to get better about regularly checking the pantry to make sure I use up what I have, it’s easier said than done. I decided that a clean slate was necessary. Here’s how I went through my pantry and got it all cleaned out.
Step 1: Remove Everything
The easiest way to clean out any drawer or cabinet area is to empty it completely first, so I removed every last item from the shelves. I find a blank slate is always best for optimal organization.
Step 2: Sort and Toss
Now that you conveniently have everything in your sight, go through every single item and determine A: if it’s still good (if not, straight into the trash) and B: if you’re actually going to use it (if not, create a “giveaway” bag for family, friends, or donations). Touch every single item (kind of like the KonMari decluttering method) and decide which bin it goes in.
Step 3: The Wipe Down
Before you put everything back, go over every shelf with a rag and your favorite cleaning solution and wipe it down so it’s all clean. I find that I sometimes have to take the vacuum hose to the shelves for all of the random crumbs that magically appear over time. It feels tedious, but that’s what spring cleaning is sometimes 😉
Step 4: Putting Things Away
Now it’s time to take those 3 piles of all the pantry items and do something with them. Take the ones labeled trash outside and get them out of your kitchen. Put the giveaway items in 2 bags: One for food pantry donations (which should only have unopened nonperishable items) and the other for friends and family (things that family would take even if they’re opened, etc) and put the bags by the door to be taken to the car when you plan on getting rid of them (which should be soon!).
As for all of the items you’re keeping, put them back in the pantry in some sort of organized fashion. Baking items, canned goods, spices, snacks, etc, keeping similar items grouped together so the pantry is easy to navigate, and it’s easy to see when you run out of something. For loose items consider getting a basket or two to keep in the pantry rather than letting the items lay alone on the shelf, and don’t forget a spice rack to keep all of your seasonings organized.
Step 5: Restock
The final step to my panty clean out is to restock it with better things. It’s really easy to stock the pantry with plenty of convenient, but not-so-great-for-you items, so with my spring cleaning I also want to make sure my end result is a pantry full of good for me things. While I do have all of the baking essentials for which there really isn’t a substitute (sometimes you just need to use regular sugar and good old basic flour), I decided that when it comes to snacks that stay in my home, it’s time to clean it up. I now have a grand supply of snacks like Kind Bars, healthy jerky, and of course, an over abundance of Quest Nutrition products stocking my shelves. When you’re trying to live a healthy lifestyle, it is essential to keep healthy options within easy reach incase a snack attack comes suddenly, and with my freshly cleaned pantry, I don’t have to worry about what I choose to grab out of it.
Those are my 5 simple steps for an organized pantry. Do you have any tips for kitchen or pantry organization?