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?
No after pic??
Christina Brown says
Ack! A friend of mine said the same thing on Twitter and I thought she was making fun of me…. When I scheduled this post, BOTH photos were there, but for some reason it didn’t publish! Yikes! Thanks for pointing it out to me, Robin! You should be able to see it now!
Thanks for the inspiration…cleaned out my pantry yesterday…even made banana mango bread afterwards. I would have forgotten about the dried mango if I hadn’t cleaned and reorganized.
Christina Brown says
YAY! I’m glad you were able to tackle the project and got to make something fun and delicious, too!
Alison at NOVA Frugal Family says
I like to stay on top of my pantry but I don’t have everything in the same place so it takes me a little more reorganizing all the time because there are three main areas in the kitchen and the area over the stove and fridge for extra storage. I started to pull all of the stuff out and reorganize but I wasn’t really sure where to start and so everything went back in…only good news is that I fit a few more flours in the cupboard. I wish I had such a big nice pantry!! Great reorganization :)