These Five Easy Tips Will Help You Keep Your Pantry Clean and Organized All Year Long
If you have a hard time staying organized all year long, many people think spring is the perfect time to hit the reset button. But spring cleaning, as exciting as it is, isn't the be-all, end-all when it comes to getting—and keeping—your home in order. If you can tackle small spaces all year long, you'll never have to worry about embarking on a major cleanup, which can be overwhelming, all at once. Our favorite spot to start with is the pantry since it's a daily hotspot for every home. From organizing your favorite foods to adhering to expiration dates, ahead we're breaking down how to organize your pantry.
Clear and Clean
The first order of business is to take everything off of your shelves. Whether you have a small cabinet or a walk-in pantry, it's important to spread the contents before you, which ensures you'll get a full look at what you're working with. If you have an extra-large pantry, unload it in sections so that you don't end-up surrounded by too many piles that can easily become overwhelming. Then, once everything is out of your pantry, clean it. A quick wipe down and vacuum every season will help you keep crumbs, spills, and any drips from your honey jar in check—if you have the time, we recommend you clean it more frequently, though.
Editing is the most important part of the organizing process. It helps you weed out the items you no longer want or use, and creates more space for the things you love. Before you start purging, take a minute to group all of your items into categories. Once you've paired all the like-items you'll be able to clearly see duplicates, nearly-empty bags, and stale snacks. Make a point to use the excess items, and remove the ones that are no longer worth keeping. Whatever you do, don't throw out non-perishables that are still good. Be sure to donate canned or boxed goods to your local food bank or religious center.
While you're editing the contents of your pantry, be on the look-out for any seasonal food. Christmas cookies, Halloween candy, Valentine's Day chocolate—if the holiday has come and gone, toss it! This will clear out clutter and keep your food current.
Consider Your Baking Ingredients
Dry baking ingredients should generally be replaced once a year—so make this a pantry priority each spring. Baking staples like flour and flax can not only be prone to pests, but many contain oils that can turn. Always remember that items with wheat, grains, and nuts have oil, and oil spoils!
Be Mindful Expiration Dates
Checking expiration dates will shock you. You may be holding onto canned goods that expired months or even years ago. Take the time to spot check your canned goods, jars, condiments, and spices. You'll end-up realizing what you actually use, what you have duplicates of, and what you over-buy at the grocery store. We all buy food with good intentions, but expiration dates politely tell you when it's time to let it go.
Now that you've done all the categorizing, cleaning, and checking—you can place everything neatly back on the shelves. We recommend using bins, baskets, or containers of your preference to ensure each item has a home; this also allows you to see food. Doing this once a year will not only help you stay organized, but it will train you to use the food you buy and buy only what you use. By using that approach, you'll be able to maintain your pantry until the next deep clean.