In this first post in our “Eat” category, we are going to help you clean out that pantry and prep it up real good for 2017! Now, feel free to put an extra spin on this is guide, especially if you are motivated with a healthy living resolution this year. Our guide doesn’t really focus specifically on that, so take this for what it is (just a guide) and make it your own!
Here’s a brief overview of getting that fresh pantry. First, we unpack the pantry. Get it all out, and spread it out on the countertops, kitchen table, etc. Then we make our groups: Definitely keeping, definitely tossing, and still deciding. Then, we pack it back up! Afterwards, go out and get what you need or replenish the old stuff that’s no longer good!
Unpack the Pantry
This is the messiest part, so feel free to spread the mess. Get everything to of your pantry. Reach into the far depths of the tallest shelf and the little nooks behind beams. Pull all of the old pasta and half eaten boxes of cereal out. When you’re finished, your pantry should be totally empty of all items. Take this moment to CLEAN & SANITIZE. Sweep it out, Spray and wipe, get all the crumbs and gross jelly smears (maybe that’s just in mine, oops!). Anyways, unpack and deep clean that pantry so that it’s ready for 2017.
As you were pulling items, maybe you started to group them, if not, no worries! Do that now. Make 3 groups: Stuff you are keeping, stuff you are tossing, and stuff you are still deciding on. (That stuff you are tossing group can go ahead and land in the trash, unless you have plans for it.) Next, go through the stuff you are keeping group, and check all the dates, removing anything that has expired. Do the same for the still deciding group. Now, go through you still deciding group and make the hard decision of “To keep, or not to keep”. If you’re still not sure and really don’t want to toss, then just keep it. No harm no foul.
Pack it Back Up
Next, we are going to pack it back up, but this year, it’s going to be easy to access. I love organization boxes and tools. In pantries, I find that clear plastic boxes or bowls work best so that you can see what’s there. Also, invest in a label maker!! Or use a sharpie 😉 If you’re blessed with a big pantry that has lots of shelving, use them to your advantage. Make a “Baking Shelf”, a “Snack Shelf”, a “Breakfast Shelf”, etc. If you don’t have many shelves, then make little sections in similar categories. I use lots of spices, so I have a shelf dedicated just for that, but maybe you just want a section for that. Either way, make it yours, and keep things grouped for easy access. This is going to come in handy when April comes around and you’ve asked kid #2 to grab the lime jello from the “Baking shelf”… Or in August, when you’ve asked Husband to grab the grill spices from the “Spice section”… It helps to organize it, then let everyone else see where things “belong” and so on.
This is kind of the fun part, well if you like grocery shopping any ways! Make a list of what your pantry is lacking. WARNING: It will be easy to write down everything that you threw out. But stop right there! You threw it out for a reason. Don’t buy what you don’t need. And only buy what you need “but don’t need right now” if you know it won’t expire before you do need it. That’s a mouth full, but it’s better to wait until you can use it if it’s just going to expire anyways. Make the list, do the shopping, restock the shelves, and you’re all set!
Here are some links to fun (affordable) pantry organization that I find helpful.
- Stacking Baskets
- Clear Canister Set – I’m obsessed with these!!!
- Pretty Shelf Liners
- 3 Drawer Organizer – Great for the small stuff.
- Fliptop Storage
- Snapware Storage – Keeps it fresh!
- Dry Herb Jars – Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!!
Feel free to share more of your favorites in the comments. I’d love to see what everyone else is using and to try it out myself. Hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Happy 2017, everyone!
– the Wife