It doesn’t seem to take all that long for our pantry to be what my husband lovingly refers to as a “Swiss Watch of Doom,” and since I’d already defrosted the freezer, I figured it was high time for me to tackle the rest of our grocery stockpile by decluttering our messy pantry.
It may sound strange that a pantry purge would be a beneficial thing, but it really does fit with my mantra of “Less is More.” Less clutter in the pantry means that I can make more meals at home because I can find what’s in there. Less clutter in the pantry means more time with my family because I’m not wasting time digging through cans from 4 years ago or trying to find space for a stack of cereal boxes that has toppled over.
Decluttering a Messy Pantry
Step 1: Clearing out the old stuff. I started by tackling the pantry shelf by shelf and getting rid of everything that was expired or just too stale for consumption. I recycled the containers, composted what I could, and tossed the rest. I also had my husband clear out the week’s recycling. We also recycled the 10 million plastic bags we had accumulated. (I simply must get better about reusable bags!)
Step 2: Cleaning the pantry shelves. I gave the shelves a good wipe-down and lightly dusted off the tops of my remaining pantry inventory.
Step 3: Organizing the pantry. I put all of the like items together in a way that makes sense for me. Lesser-used items go up on the highest shelves. Things the kids need easy access to (like cereal and snacks), go on the lower shelves. I put everything on the shelves organized by expiration date (from first to expire to last). I found I had opened duplicate boxes of pasta, so I combined those into one airtight container to save space. I also followed a few tips from my previous pantry reorganization.
I spent about an hour decluttering and organizing our messy pantry and it was well worth the effort. You can actually walk into my walk-in pantry, which is a pretty nice feeling. I know that it looks like I got rid of a ton of food, but I didn’t really have to get rid of much. It’s simply organized better.
But as a cheapskate, it does bother me to toss out any food – even if it is expired. I’ve gotten a bit sloppy with making sure I use up what I have (in part because I couldn’t find it in my pit of a pantry!). I know I need to do a better job of menu planning so that there’s less food waste in our home.
A pantry decluttering is also a great time to make a list of things you need to replenish in your grocery stockpile. I’ve got a list of items I’ll be sure to stock up on the next time there’s a good sale.
Most importantly, less pantry clutter means more peace of mind for me and my family.
Your turn: Have you cleaned out your pantry lately? What did you find?