This week we are Clearing the Clutter in the pantry. Some of you may have perfectly neat pantries with nothing out of date and no spills and to you I say “Tell me how?” No but seriously, if you’ve got kids or even roommates, there’s a good chance your pantry is a mess.
Mine gets a tidy up every week when I do the shopping, but honestly, within a day or two, the kids have destroyed it. It doesn’t seem to matter what strategies I put in place, the kids will inevitably put things away in the wrong spot, knock over the honey that they didn’t put the lid on properly and open yet another jar of peanut butter, despite already having 3 open.
How you sort is going to depend on what type of pantry you have and how much space you have to sort. We have a large 4 door (2 top, 2 bottom) pantry but I’m limited to the dining table and a bit of floor space, so I’m going to work shelf by shelf.
- First off you’re going to want to remove everything from the shelf, you can give it all a wipe over as you go, or you can wipe it all down before you put it back. This will get rid of any spills or fingerprints and keep your pantry looking nice and clean.
- Next up give the shelves and doors a really good wipe over. You want to get into all the corners and have it looking sparkling.
- Now that it’s clean, it’s time to have a think about what is and isn’t working as far as organising and storage. Is your cereal container to small, does the lid on your sugar keep falling off. Are the cans and jars too hard to get to. In the past we’ve added racks to one of the doors to corral the sauces and other regularly used items and this has worked well. We’ve also added a wire shelf inside to create an extra layer of storage and a set of wire drawers for storing the teas. These along with plastic baskets have made a huge difference in keeping things neat and tidy, but there are still a couple of areas that need work.
- Now that you’ve swapped out containers and thought about storage needs etc, it’s time to start putting things back. As you do, remember to check used by dates and keep track of excess items. If you have 30 cans of tomatoes, it may be worth donating some or menu planning around them to use them up.
- Once everything is back in the pantry neatly, it’s time to get labelling. This will help the other members of your household know where to put things back (hopefully) and will make it easier for those who help put away the groceries (if you are lucky enough to have that luxury).
One thing I did notice when cleaning out our pantry, is that I need to replace all of the labels on my containers. It’s been about 6 years since I did them last and they are looking really worn and some are completely missing. This time I’ve opted for chalkboard labels. They’ll be easier to see and I can change them quickly if I decide to swap out containers.
I was actually surprised by how much out of date stuff we had and how many empty or half empty containers of food there were, as I try to really stay on top of it. But with them gone, there is now more room and the pantry looks much nicer.
What was the weirdest thing you found in your pantry or what had the oldest use by date?
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