Hello There and Happy Saturday!
It feels like ages since my last post. I hoped to update the blog sooner, but with coordinating three all-day sales meetings and making arrangements for international guests, there wasn’t any extra time to get anything done this week.
Step 3 in the “Spring Clean Your Life” series is the pantry (or the “black hole” as I sometimes refer to it)!
In general, I think it’s a good idea to stay on top of your pantry; but you should plan to give it a total overhaul at least once a year.
Below are some tips for giving your pantry a thorough spring cleaning.
Spring Clean Your Pantry
Start with a blank slate
The best way to ensure a thorough cleaning is to take stock of everything you have in your pantry. That means you should remove every item from the shelves. I would recommend placing all items in one highly visible area like your dining table so that you can easily assess and organize everything you have.
Inspect your Pantry Inventory & Be RUTHLESS!
If there’s one thing you don’t want to take a risk with it’s what you ingest. If anything is past its expiration date, it clearly needs to be tossed. What if there’s no expiration date? Check out this fantastic guide on the shelf life of pantry foods from About.com Frugal Living.
Inspect dried goods (rice, pasta, etc) for any pest infestations–gross, I know, but if you store dried bulk goods in glass or plastic containers, it’s a smart precaution to take.
Place Like with Like
Take inventory of your pantry items and place similar items together in a row. Label rows with post-its (e.g. canned goods, baking ingredients, grains, etc).
Clean your pantry
Take advantage of your now-empty pantry shelves and wipe them down with a damp cloth.
Outfit Your Pantry to Suit Your Needs
We all have our own organization methods that best suit our individual needs and habits. Envision your ideal method of organization (A lazy Susan for spices? Baskets for teas? Glass Mason jars for dried goods? Wire baskets for fruits?) and make it happen! I would advise against storing bulk items in plastic containers in favor of glass, but if you’re set on plastic make sure it’s BPA-free.
You’d be surprised at how cute you can make your pantry look on the cheap. Check out the following for stylish, yet cost-effective, storage items: Ikea, Target, Home Goods, TJ Maxx, your local dollar store.
Label Your Wares
Website aggregating tools like Pinterest make it so easy to find free pantry printables. Take a look at my Pinterest page for some cute pantry labels. They’ll not only help you to visually organize your pantry, but they add a little brightness to an otherwise unexciting space. You can download a few of my favorites here, here, and here.
Use Eye-Level Shelving for “Most Used” Items
Make life as easy on yourself as possible. Place the items that you use most often on the middle to eye-level shelves. Rarely used items should go on the top and bottom shelves.
Use the Oldest to Newest Technique
The newest items should always be stored behind the older items in your pantry in an effort to consume items within their sell-by dates.
Don’t Overburden Shelves
Be cautious not to overcrowd your shelves (it increases the likelihood of accidental spillage) or to overburden them with heavy items. Anything heavy should be placed on the floor.
Make Use of Unused Space
It’s a shame not to take advantage of available space beneath your shelving if you have some. You might use this space to store larger bulk products like paper towels in large wicker baskets. Or, if you have enough height to work with, you could add a few plastic drawers to that space to corral less-used items (paper plates & utensils, etc).
What you should not store in your pantry area, however, is cleaning supplies. Store these in an area where there’s no possibility for contamination, like under your kitchen sink.
Take Stock of What’s Missing
As you reorganize your pantry you will no doubt find that there are items that you need to replenish. Keep a pen and paper handy and scribble down items to purchase on your shopping list.
I hope I’ve inspired you to revamp your pantry space! Got any additional tips? Leave me some feedback!
MasterPantryList: a helpful guide to a stocked pantry
Short on time? Check out this speed-clean your pantry checklist from Real Simple.
Check out some adorable container storage options from The Container Store here.