It’s time to toss that forgotten tin of peas at the back of your grocery cupboard!
In an ideal world, we would be doing a quick clean out of our pantries every month. But, with the hustle and bustle of our daily lives we often find ourselves neglecting this space and our pantry cupboards becoming a tad chaotic. That’s okay, nobody is judging you for it, goodness knows that there are stray packets of lentils or tins of beans hiding at the back of most of our grocery cupboards. But, with spring cleaning fever officially in the air, it’s time to turn out this important space. And we get it, the task can very well seem extremely overwhelming, but keep reading to make sense of what to toss, what to keep and how to get your pantry organised.
Whether or not you have a massive walk-in pantry or a tiny cabinet where you keep your groceries, the first thing that you need to do is clear everything from the shelves. If you have items in baskets or drawers, you guessed it, it needs to be cleared too. This will allow you to get rid of crumbs and spills from your shelves and baskets. Tackle this task with your trusty vacuum cleaner followed by a thorough wipe down of all the surfaces.
PREPARE TO PURGE
There is more to getting your grocery cupboard organised than just shifting some things around after you’ve wiped down your shelves. Whether you like it or not, you are going to need to get rid of some things, especially if you’re only giving the space a proper clean once a year. To help make the purging task easier, we suggest you group items into the following categories:
Doing this will allow you to see what you may have an excess amount of. These non-perishable items, (if still good for consumption) can be donated to a local shelter instead of possibly going to waste.
Nearly empty bags
If you have many nearly empty bags of the same item, it’s time to put that empty coffee jar that you’ve been hoarding to good use. Fill each jar with the same item and why not take it a step further and label the jar? Although fancier labels can be purchased online, a good ‘ol permanent marker gets the job done too.
Now is also the time to toss anything that can longer be consumed. We’re talking anything that may be stale as well as items that are well beyond its expiration date. Remember, seasonal food like old Christmas cookies are included in these items. If you can’t eat them, don’t try convincing yourself (or others) that you’re going to use them as decorations on the tree this year. Their time has come and gone.
Sorting out your baking supplies is a non-negotiable. Not only are baking supplies like flour prone to pests, many also contain oils which can spoil. It’s best to keep in mind that products that contain grains and nuts all contain oils too and should also be discarded of if you have them for more than a year.
Although we made a quick mention about getting rid of items that have exceeded their expiration date earlier, it is something that we should go into the importance of it a bit more. Checking these dates should be done regularly. Often, you will be shocked to see that many of your items may be older than you think with some having expiration dates of months, or even years earlier. Canned goods are not the only thing that you need to check. Have a close look at your spices, condiments and jarred items too.
Go all out
Remember that it’s not just your groceries that may need to be looked at and, possibly, tossed. Give your crockery and cutlery a once over too. Any items that may have chips, cracks or you simply no longer use,
can either be discarded or donated. There is no need to hang onto items that are taking up space because you are not using them.
Making use of a storage system that includes boxes and jars will also help to keep your pantry well organised, allowing you to keep the space quite neat until you next tackle it. Labelling these will help you even more. While wicker and perspex boxes are a favourite and are readily available at a number of stores and even from vendors at markets. You can use anything that fits both your style and budget.
ALSO SEE: Kitchen hacks 101
Written by Megan Paulse
Feature image: onurdongel via Getty Images