5-Step Total Pantry Cleanout

5-Step Total Pantry Cleanout

Get your pantry clean and organized in record time.


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1. Clear the space
Start by taking everything out of your pantry. Toss goods past their prime — expired spices, boxes of stale cereal and almost-empty bags of chips, to name a few. If you have duplicate canned goods you won’t use soon, donate them to your local food bank or soup kitchen.

2. Clean everything
First, vacuum up crumbs, broken pieces of pasta, spilled flour and other bits of food. Then wipe everything down, starting at the top shelf going down to the bottom drawer. Pay special attention to stuck-on messes, especially melted chocolate, dried-on sauce and sticky honey, all of which can attract unwanted pests.

3. Go shopping
Try store-bought storage solutions. Keep snacks and cereal in sturdy plastic containers where they’re less likely to spill. Pour flour and sugar into canisters or glass jars — for easy measuring, opt for containers with wide openings. Use a lazy Susan for spices, so when you need to find one, all it takes is a spin.

4. Develop a system
Whether your pantry’s big or small, follow a few general rules: First, group items by category: Baking needs, pasta and rice, condiments, dressings and sauces, snacks (sweets, popcorn and chips can all have their own space, if desired), soup and canned vegetables. Keep everyday stuff like cereal and lunch supplies easily accessible, and store healthy munchies where children can get to them.

5. Stay organized
You’ve spent so much time on the initial cleaning and organizing — now let it pay off. As you unpack groceries, put new, non-perishable items behind older goods so you know what to use first. Consolidate as you go, too. For example, when the peanuts are almost gone, buy a fresh canister and pour the old on top of the new.

Tip: Labels are your best friend when staying organized. It helps you (and your family) remember exactly where items are supposed to go! Invest in a label maker or create your own from stickers.

Did we miss a clever way to organize your pantry? Share it with us in the comments section below!

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put a freshly washed set of sheets and pillow case in a re-sealable bag. add in a dryer sheet to keep smelling fresh. that way you're all ready for unexpected guests to spend the night. Especially if one of your children are giving up his or her bed for the night!

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Tips are good - was planning on cleaning out the pantry soon so this article was very timely. I agree that canning jars are perfect for storing lots of things - spices, staples etc.

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For #3, I would add that you may already have items that can be re-purposed as storage; my collection of old canning jars now hold boullion cubes, popping corn, cat treats, and more....

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Great tips!! My pantry is slightly embarrassing; things are everywhere. This will be my weekend task.

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