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5 simple steps to a clean pantry


Tired of opening your pantry door only to see mismatched jars and containers, half-opened packets of stale biscuits, and condiments that are well past their expiry date? It can be difficult to take the plunge and have a post-winter pantry clean-out but it will deliver more than just a brighter, well-organised space – it can help improve your cooking and your state of mind, save time and money, and lead to less cleaning and food waste. These quick and simple steps will help you contain the chaos and achieve a tidy, well-organised pantry in no time.

Clean it out

It might sound obvious, but the first order of business is to thoroughly clean out your pantry. Remove everything – clear out the foods you know you’ll keep, the foods you won’t, and dispose of out-of-date items. This will allow you to visualise how you can best utilise the space and see just how much food you have.

Next, grab the cleaning supplies and get to work. Wipe down every shelf, and if you have a walk-in pantry, vacuum the floors. Allocate at least one hour to properly clean, and remember, a little motivation will go a long way – set a timer and don’t stop until every last can, packet and crumb is out of sight.

Divvy it up

Before you start purging, group all food items into categories, which will allow you to clearly see any double-ups, empty packets and stale snacks. This will help you weed out the items you no longer use, creating more space for the things you need.

If it usually takes you a while to find certain ingredients, organise your pantry by type. Place similar foods together – divvy up grains, flours, beans, canned foods, sauces, as well as any other related items into categorised sections.

Put pen to paper

Now it’s time to go shopping. You might be wondering why you should buy more stuff after you’ve just rid the space of the clutter, but in order to properly organise your pantry, you must have the essentials to do so.

Write a list of any storage items you’re currently missing. These could include coordinated spice jars, glass canisters, mason jars, baskets, door racks, pantry shelves, containers, as well as organisers, recycling bins, aluminium foil, plastic wrap and sandwich bags. Or consider environmentally options such as beeswax wraps and glass containers.

Next, add any food staples that are lacking to the list, such as pasta, rice, flour, beans and other grains. Buying in bulk can save time, money and excess packaging, but don’t go overboard stocking up on sale items. Purchasing 10 cans of tuna on special might seem economical, but overbuying just results in more clutter, meaning you’ll be less likely to see what you have until it’s past its expiry date.

Get the look

A place for everything, and everything in its place. If form is just as important to you as function, now’s the time to get creative. Pinterest has plenty of unique and creative ways to beautify your pantry space, including clever shelving and organisation tips.

But first, whip out those matching containers you bought earlier and allocate the same type to each categorised food group. For example, consider coordinated glass canisters for cereals, baking goods and pasta, mason jars for smaller quantities of nuts and legumes, and baskets for miscellaneous or snack items.

Once foods are in their respective containers, get nifty with a label maker or use chalkboard paint to create decorative tags that can be easily changed or updated. Regardless of how you liven up the look of your labels, don’t forget to have them facing the front for easy view and access.

Maintain it

The key to keeping your pantry in spotless condition is to implement good habits. Consider spending some time each day running your eyes over each shelf and putting stray items back in their places.

And though the above tips will help maintain a well-organised pantry, it’s advisable to do a deep clean every six months. This will help ensure you’re getting rid of anything that’s old or isn’t needed. More importantly, it means you won’t need to clean it out as often! While a thorough home declutter is necessary once in a while, the kitchen is the heart of the home, and a well-organised pantry can help your household run more smoothly. Giving your pantry an overhaul will not only help you stay organised, but it’ll help you save time and money in the long run because it’ll train you to use the foods you buy and also to buy only what you need.

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