“Mom??? Where’s the mac & cheese?” “Wait, are we out of flour? But I need some!” Kitchens around the nation are plagued by cluttered pantries. Floor to ceiling we stuff them with things we need and even more that we don’t. We stick our new purchases on the shelf, blocking the existing pantry items. We have kids and spouses moving things around, knocking items from shelf to shelf and causing a cascade of pantry items anytime they reach for anything above eye level. You can’t find anything, you’re a breeding grounds for germs and weevils, and it’s causing you to waste time and money. We get it. We’ve been there. Today we’re sharing 5 steps to declutter your pantry – once and for all.
- One of the biggest issues with pantries is that you rarely empty or inventory what you have before buying and adding to the mess. The first place to start is to COMPLETELY empty your pantry. Clean off your kitchen counters and dining table and start emptying by shelf. Immediately throw away anything that is expired, leaking, broken, or unidentified.
- Give your empty pantry a good clean with soap and sponges. You may also need to clean off the sticky bottoms of bottles or containers. If you want to make future cleaning easier you can also line your pantry shelves with liners or paper.
- Before putting everything back into your pantry, break everything into categories. Try to forget the way it was organized before. Gather baking items, spices, dry foods, appliances, utensils, paper products, and anything else into like categories.
- Take a minute to assess each pile. Do you REALLY use that bottle of spice you bought for one special recipe last year? When have you ever used that panini press? Getting the unused stuff out is important to permanently tackling your cluttered pantry. Get rid of absolutely everything you can. Once you’re left with everything you want and need, it’s a good idea to make an inventory list that can remind you of meals to make so you use what you have without waste.
- Storage Solutions. Now is a great time to invest in a can organizer if you don’t have one. If your pantry shelves are tall, you can buy intermediate shelves or stacking shelves to give more room. Rectangular buckets or baskets from the dollar store can be the perfect way to group like items – bonus points if you use a label maker to accurately label each box. Re-stock your pantry with functionality in mind, rather than your former organization which may not be ideal.
Now sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor and the perfectly organized pantry before you. Setting up a regular weekly or monthly time to touch up your pantry organization is the way to keep it looking this perfect forever. It’s the perfect weekend project to make your whole life better.