Do you have a pantry? It’s easy for our pantry areas to get messy because we are in and out of them so often for food and ingredients. Recently I deep cleaned my pantry and re-organized it. Here’s my 5 steps for cleaning out your pantry, and I’m sharing the baskets and containers I used for my pantry items.
1-Empty the entire space and group like items together
It’s time to empty everything off your pantry shelves. This is one of those occasions where things will look worse before they look better! Don’t be surprised if you find a few things you forgot you had when you get everything off the shelves. It’s easy to overlook items you don’t use often when you are restocking your pantry each week. I know I found a few things I had forgotten about!
Once you have everything off the shelves, throw out whatever is expired. Make sure you have a trash bag handy for this step! That old can of tuna you forgot you bought 5 years ago? Yeah, it’s time to let it go. If you’re like me and have kids you’ll probably find a few packages of half-eaten crackers and chips, too.
Sort whatever food you have left into categories and keep like items together. This will help you in the next step as you determine what containers you need to help your pantry stay organized. Put all of your snacks in one group, any baking ingredients you use together, etc.
2-Decide what items need to be contained and what size containers you need
Now that you can see what you have and what categories your items fall into, you are ready to determine what containers you need. I love to look at stores like Target and The Container Store for bins, baskets, and storage containers. They have a great selection of things that are perfect for corralling bags and boxes. I also love putting things like rice, crackers, and pasta into clear containers so I can see how much I have. This helps me to not purchase too much of any one item. It also helps to keep bugs out of my dry goods.
I can't find the exact baskets and bins I got for my pantry, but here are some that are similar. They are all really affordable from Target. I love all of the choices that are out there right now when it comes to storage containers.
1.Tall food storage container, 2. Food storage container with snap lid, 3. 4x4x4" Food storage container, 4. Plastic turn table, 5. 8x4x8" Food storage container, 6. Sugar canister, 7. Flour canister, 8. Large seagrass milk crate, 9. Wicker media bin, 10. Set of 4 seagrass baskets, 11. 6x12" Wicker bin
3- Wipe down all of the shelves and deep clean the whole area.
While all of your shelves are empty, do a deep clean of the whole area. Even if your home is relatively clean, you never know when bugs or moths are going to get into your pantry items. Wipe down the shelves with a food safe cleaner, being sure to get into the corners and crevices, too. I like to vacuum and sweep/mop the floors too. It’s amazing how grungy the floors can get!
4-Map out where your items need to go. What makes the most sense to you in your life?
Now that your pantry shelves are clean and you have your containers, it’s time to decide where everything should go. Before you start filling up your pantry shelves again, take a few minutes to map out where your items should go. If you have young kids, it can be nice to have snacks on their level so they can be independent. If you do a lot of baking, be sure to group your baking items and ingredients together. And those ingredients you don’t use very often? Don’t give them prime real estate on the shelves you can access the easiest. Save those areas for the things you reach for on a daily basis.
5- Place items back on the shelves. Commit to keeping it organized.
With your pantry ‘map’ in hand, start filling up your shelves with your new containers and organizers. To help keep your shelves organized, grab some customizable labels for your containers and baskets. This way everyone in your family will be able to tell what belongs in each basket. After I finished my recent pantry makeover I made a commitment to myself that I would keep it organized by sorting through the contents of my baskets once a month.
Now, take a step back and admire your hard work and your beautifully organized pantry!
I hope my 5 steps for cleaning out your pantry have helped you to see how easy it can be to clean your pantry area and keep it organized. You won’t regret taking the time to get your food and supplies organized. You’ll be able to cook more easily and you won’t get frustrated by purchasing too much of any ingredient. What questions do you have about cleaning out your pantry? Let me know and I’ll do my best to answer them.