Our household pantry can tell us so much about ourselves, like our relationship with food or our habits of shopping. No matter how organized and planned someone is the pantry an area in the home, over time, can tend to look like a junk drawer. In every home just as we would vacuum or clean our house, our pantry also needs to be cleaned out. I like to think about cleaning it out every season as a great time, because you can stock it up with stuff you will use in seasonal recipes. For example, in the winter I will make more stews and curries so I will have more beans, coconut milk, canned tomatoes and broths. In the summer my pantry is barer because I buy most of my things at markets, so I use this time to go through my baking things and kinds of pasta. Once a season plan before you go shopping for the week to clean out your pantry and get rid of the stuff you aren’t going to use. Not only may it help you get ideas for meal planning, but also it will help you decide what you need for a grocery shop.
So what’s in your pantry? Look, we all are guilty of that extra throw in the cart at the grocery store or the latest new trendy health food or a snack we pray our kids may eat, but what happens if we forget to use it or try it and hate it? Most of us will put it back in the cupboard or tell ourselves we will try it again instead of getting rid of it or offering it to a friend. What happens then is, these sit in our cupboards until they expire (or even longer) and eventually in 4 years we throw them out. If we clean our cupboards every 3-4 months not only will we maybe try something new again we can get honest with ourselves if we will use the product.
Another benefit to cleaning out our pantry is to see how many staples we have in our house, what we need more of and what we need less of which helps us budget better and save money!
Cleaning out a pantry can be done in 1-3 hours depending on the size. First put on some music, make this a fun experience! Make sure you have garbage bags, cleaning materials and a counter to place things. Then the real fun begins, take things out! I like to pull things out and look at the expiry date, if I will actually use it, and then create piles of things that work together, ie. Baking supplies, canned goods, snacks. Once the cupboard is bare wipe out the shelves and establish an organizing system that works for you as you place items back in. I like to have my phone handy (I use a grocery store app) and anything I am low on add to my list, or anything I have lots of, add to my meal plan for the month.
Cleaning out your pantry is rewarding not only for your home but it can inspire you to get back into the kitchen and create!