Do you ever go in your pantry and find something that has been expired for over a year? Yuck! Have you ever spent 10 minutes looking in your pantry for an item you thought you had, but turns out you used the last one? Avoid these frustrations and take a few minutes to clean out your pantry.
Take Everything Out of Your Pantry
The first step to clean out your pantry is to take every single thing out. If you have bins or baskets in your pantry take those out as well. Get everything out. I like to put everything on my kitchen counters and table so I can fully see everything that was in there.
Wipe down and Clean Out Your Pantry
Once you have taken everything out, give your pantry a good clean. It is much easier to clean a space when there is nothing in it. Wipe down shelves and racks. Dust in corners and high areas. Sweep and mop the floors. Maybe even touch up paint if it is needed. Get the place that houses your food and kitchen items looking and smelling fresh.
Go Through And Check Each Item
While the pantry is drying from the clean, go through each item you pulled out. First check the expiration date. Toss anything that is majorly expired. If it has only expired by a few days I would still use it depending on what it is.
As you go through make a pile of items to use that week if something is expired or about to expire. If an item is going to expire within the next couple weeks I set it in the front – leaving space so I know to use it soon.
In addition, I will make a small pile of items about to expire for a specific person in my house if they are the only one who eats that. Then I let them know about it and remind them to make sure it gets eaten.
Prioritize Your Pantry
Do you struggle to find room in your pantry? What are you all keeping in there? I keep all our non perishable food items in our pantry and none in any kitchen cabinets. This way all our food is in one place and I can see everything we have. Also in the pantry I keep disposable plates, napkins, silverware and spare ziplock storage bags. Next, in my pantry I keep some larger serving dishes, large bowls I only use for parties, and bigger kitchen items like my nesco, mixer, and beverage dispenser.
Non perishable food is the main priority in my pantry. If I ever run low on space for food, I move something else like extra plates, napkins, or utensils to the basement. I need room for all my food so I always know exactly what I have.
Create a System for Your Pantry
Create a system and organize items as you put them back in the pantry. This will help you always know your inventory. Your pantry should be sorted by like items and expiration dates having things you use most at eye level with labels facing outward. Items should be easily accessible, kept in the same spot, and keep kids in mind for the lower shelves. For more ideas on how to organize your pantry click here.
Since I did my first big clean, I now do a full deep clean of the pantry following these steps every 2 years. Besides that, twice a year I do a brief clean and check expiration dates. Then I put any expiring soon in front to be used. While I am doing the brief clean out of the pantry I have my grocery list and write down things that I am out of or getting low on to watch for.
Final Thoughts on Cleaning Out Your Pantry
Cleaning out your pantry may seem like a daunting task. Initially it may take a little bit of time. Although, afterwards you will be so glad you did because of all the time and energy you will save by knowing what you have and where it is located. Limit the amount of food wasted and money spent by cleaning out your pantry every year or two. The first time is the hardest, each time after it gets easier. Now let’s get to work!