#138 Clean Out Your Pantry

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.


Clean out your pantry.

You may or may not have an official ‘pantry’ yet it is likely that you have a cupboard in your kitchen that is a ‘catch all’ – a place to stash those arbitrary ingredients that you rarely use. When was the last time you dug through there and got rid of the old stuff? I’m occasionally embarrassed by how long I’ve kept a can of water chestnuts or a packet of gravy mix that I picked up for a recipe or overbought.

First Things First

It’s a good idea to pull everything out to clearly see what’s what. Experts suggest we attempt this task at least once a year. It makes sense to do it now – before the holidays when we are apt to buy more groceries and may need the extra room.

Check Expiration Dates

Take stock in the items you have that may be on the verge of expiring. Expiration dates on food are conservative as required by the FDA and my family is hard evidence for the fact that people can eat food after it’s expiration date and live to tell about it (some foods are a hard no to this). Anything that has a close expiration date  can be incorporated into your meal planning over the next couple of weeks. Pasta stays good for a couple of years when it’s stored in a cool dry space, for example.

Organize It

This is a good time to see if you’ve run out of anything that you like to keep in stock. I generally have an extra bottle of ketchup or chili makings for a quick and easy way to feed a few if the kids pop in for dinner. Make a grocery list for those items that you need to stock or replace.

Next, group things in a way that makes sense to your lifestyle. I tend to organize my pantry the way my favorite grocery store is lined up; baking items on one shelf, cereal and grains on another.

Put it Back

Before you return things, make sure to wipe down the shelves and vacuum up crumbs and dust. Some people tout the use of shelf liner, making clean up really easy from  year to year.

As you return food back to the pantry, be sure to check that is securely packaged. You don’t want an open bag of rice to suddenly spill and spoil your efforts. For those items that are better in airtight containers, consider Ziplock bags or containers that lock in freshness.

There are thousands of ideas on Pinterest for pantry storage with many of the suggestions using free or low cost items to keep things neat and tidy. It’s easy to get inspired.

This is one of those tasks that often sounds more time consuming than it really is and your feelings of satisfaction will flood your senses each time you open the pantry door once you make the time to…

Clean out your pantry.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

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