Its ridiculous how excited I am to show you one of my favorite kitchen activities – cleaning my pantry. Seriously. Every year I get some time off from work between Christmas and New Year’s and I always make sure to go through our pantry and reorganize everything in there. It sounds super lame, but its really important for our family for several reasons:
- You will be able to get rid of food that has expired (don’t gamble and eat it).
- You will see what already own so you can meal plan more effectively.
- You will discover things that you forgot you had.
- Your pantry will get put back together in a way that makes the most sense to you.
It seems super simple, but I start by unloading everything. As I’m taking things out, I’ll check the expiration dates and if its past due, I throw it out. Also, keep a shopping bag close by. If there are things you KNOW your family won’t eat, just put them right in that shopping bag. This is a great way to collect food for your local food bank. We had a bunch of free products that I’d been sent that we never opened (cake mixes, condiments, dinner kits) and I wasn’t particularly interested in trying so they went to our local pantry.
Also, as I’m pulling things out, I separate into different piles. These piles are going to be different for everyone. I sorted into baking stuff, dry goods (pastas and rices), jarred ingredients (tomato sauces), lunch stuff for the kids (all the Annie’s products we keep on hand), canned goods (beans, veggies, tomatoes), snacks and other things.
After everything is out, I wipe down the shelves and start to put things back in in a way that makes sense to my family. I like to have snacks all together so I know what we need to restock and what the kids can pack for lunches. I keep a small section for hot lunch options so that our babysitter knows what’s up for grabs for making Bryn’s lunches.
I also did this same organization for our spice cabinet, which kind of made me feel bad. I HATE to waste and there were a bunch of spices that were unopened and expired by a few years. I’ve decided to utilize the bulk bins at Healthy Living or Whole Foods more and just buy what we need when it comes to recipes that call for just a teaspoon of something.
So moving forward, I’m formulating recipes to use up some of the random, partial things we have in our pantry or things that I just have a ton of. So what’s up first? I have a bunch of wheat/white whole wheat/spelt flours so look for some bread recipes coming soon. I’m interested what I can do with spelt (if you have a recipe, leave it below!!!). There’s also a few random things I need to use up.
You can also invest in containers and bins to hold smaller things. I use containers for flour, sugar, confectioner’s sugar and a few other things, but its not necessary!
The finished product:
Share in the comments below:
What is your favorite pantry organization tip? How do you keep your food organized?
One year ago: Meal Plan Monday