Is It Time To Clean and Sort the Pantry?

It is quite possible that the most neglected part of my whole house is my kitchen pantry.  This area is one of the most frequented spaces in our house and yet it is one of the very last spaces I clean.

An organized pantry makes life soooo much easier.  That dinner time hour can be stressful enough without adding in an avalanche of cereal falling on you or your not being able to find the box of pasta you know you just purchased.

Not only does a clean pantry make meal prep easier, but it is often proven that keeping this area organized can help lower your grocery bills.  Twice a year, summer and winter, set a date with your pantry to give it a thorough top to bottom cleaning and organizing.

(Even if you don’t have a pantry, these tips still work for wherever you store your food goods.)

Step 1:  Clear It Out

You won’t be able to see what you’ve got or clean any surfaces, for those pesky syrup spills that are sure to be lurking, until you pull it all out.  By emptying it all out, you might be surprised at the hidden gems you are able to uncover, the ones that have fallen or have been pushed to the back.

Step 2: Sort and Toss

To make this step easier, as you are pulling things out of the closet, place them in piles of like things with like things.  Think about how a grocery store groups their products together.  Now it is time to sort through and evaluate what has been hiding on those shelves.

Toss any dented cans or out of date items.  Anything bought with the best of intentions of using, but haven’t been used yet, should either be donated or tossed.  (If you didn’t like the fiber bars, but you got 4 boxes on sale, don’t place them back in the pantry, place them in a box to donate to your local food pantry.)

At this stage, I also like to keep a running list of the items that I need to restock.  If your peanut butter and jelly supplies are on their last legs, add them to your shopping list.

Step 3: Clean

Before you place anything back into the pantry, take a few minutes and scrub down the shelves, walls, and floor with warm soapy water.  Don’t forget to wipe down the dusty tops of your canned goods and condiment containers.  For the love of all that is holy, don’t forget the syrup container.  Why???  Why does this always get all over everything???  (Sorry about harping on this, but really if you could explain why it is always all over the place, I would love to know!)

Step 4:  Put It All Away

When you have sorted, purged, and cleaned the area; you are all ready to put it all away.  This is a great time to purchase some bins, airtight containers, and shelf risers.  These tools will help you maximize that space that you have vertically, as well as in many cases, it is so much easier to organize containers that are all the same size and shape, then the assorted packaging that your food good come in.

Some of my favorites containers are the OXO Good Grips Airtight.  LOVE THESE THINGS!!!!

These containers make life so much easier.  I love that I can see through them to find exactly what I need while I am cooking.  No fussing or guessing.  However, these containers earned my love and allegiance when I realized that they would keep the household snacks fresher longer (cause apparently replacing bag clips on chip bags and animal crackers is a HUGE deal and an impossible for the teens in my house to do!!)

If you have a small space to work with, some stackable can rack organizers may be just the thing you need.  These handy space savers are amazing!  Any time you can use vertical space when organizing, do it.  Often there is a lot of vertical space that is wasted in our pantries and closets.

Don’t forget to think about the little people in your house.  If you have little ones, place a basket or under the shelf organizer with their snacks, to make it easier for them to grab and go their snacks with ease.

Twice a year, set aside a morning to pull it all out, sort and toss unused or unwanted food, clean the space, and reset your pantry organization.  Dinner time is hard enough, use these tips to make life a little easier and more efficient!  Ok, go forth and clean the syrup!!