Spring is officially here and with that comes the daunting task some face of Spring Cleaning. While the basics of wiping down baseboards, changing out batteries and cleaning windows may already be on your list, many people don't think about the need to clean your kitchen pantry.
For many of us the kitchen pantry is both a place of comfort and a place of fear. Boxes and canisters shoved to the back recesses and forgotten often bring about fear in even the strongest of homemakers. This list should help you tackle this dreaded task with ease in no time.
5 Tips To Spring Clean Your Kitchen Pantry!
- Arrange by Expiration Date: Although we all know this is the best method of storing our foods, many of us don't follow the standard since we are often exhausted and hungry after a grocery trip and simply trying to put things away as quickly as possible. When cleaning out your pantry make sure to arrange like items with the earliest expiration date in front and the oldest in back. If something is near end date make sure to bump it to the top of your weekly meal plan so it does not go to waste.
- Use Air-tight Containers for Opened Packages: Whether it is pasta, cereal or baking ingredients it is for your own safety that we recommend investing in quality air tight containers for storage. Not only do stale foods go to waste, but open packages lead to ants, roaches, mice and other unwanted critters roaming around in your pantry. Make sure to seal all open packages properly before storing in the pantry.
- Throw away any open spices more than a year old: While some may balk at this directive and consider it a waste of money, it has been proven that flavors change significantly with time once air hits them. Only purchase spices in bulk if you know you will be able to either use them in a timely manner or be able to separate and store in proper air tight vacuum sealed containers. For those spices you only use a few times a year I recommend buying in small quantities at stores that carry in bulk or only getting a small jar at the grocery store rather than larger jars. This rule applies only to OPENED jars or packages. Unopened may be stored until expiration/suggested date on packaging.
- Make a Master List: As long as you are going to be cleaning out the pantry you might as well make a master list of what you have on hand. This will help you not only know what needs to be used before it expires but also what items you may need to watch for good sales on to stock up again. The same can be done in your deep freezer. Whether you type the list up later for easy reading or leave as a handwritten note, place this note in an easy to find place to be adapted as you remove and add to your pantry (the inside of the cabinet or closet door is a great place for this list). This is a great tool to have when you are doing your monthly or weekly menu planning.
- Place commonly used items on lower shelves and rarely used items on top shelves: If your pantry is tall, utilize the higher shelves for those overstock items or items you rarely use. Keep your often used items on the lower shelves for easy access. That way you won't be grabbing the step ladder every day when you need a jar of pickles, box of cereal or the container of dry quick oats for making cookies.
Kitchen pantries can be one of the most daunting tasks to arrange and clean simply because of the many different sizes of products they house. When storing canned goods use the cardboard flats they come in at the store for easy stacking of bulk quantities or invest in one of the many can racks available online to help prevent them from falling over and to keep expiration dates in order.
These 5 Tips To Spring Clean Your Kitchen Pantry are simply a start to go by when working on getting your house in order this year. Implementing only a few simple things can cut back on clutter, waste and frustration in your kitchen.