Sunday, January 8, 2012

How to clean your pantry in 5 simple steps

This article was originally published on the Housewife Bliss website, on October 2011. Reprinted with permission by Coryanne Ettienne.

After the holidays my pantry looks as though it's been ravaged by a tornado - perhaps even two! This is the perfect time to clean out the pantry by taking advantage of our emptier shelves. Soon Spring will be here and we will, once again, find ourselves in the thick of entertaining, hosting garden parties and barbecues. 


Peaking into someone’s pantry is a bit like peaking into a private diary of daily life, there is always a story to tell and not always one that you want everyone to read.  Like those candied gingers that you bought last Christmas but never had the time to create the magazine recipe that called for them; the hidden packets of ramen noodles that you swore you would never buy, but keep hidden away for emergencies; and the 17 tins of tomatoes that you buy each time you go the store because you can’t remember if you need them or not.  Cleaning out the pantry is not something people do often, but when it is done, it makes you feel fabulous and you can’t help but show it off …yes I have been know to be so delighted with my sparkling clean and orderly pantry that I could not help but ask a friend to “be a dear and hand me the sugar in the pantry, the bowl seems to be running low”.

5 Steps to a cleaner, prouder pantry
Step 1 |  Purge :   Place a large rubbish bin by your pantry and start purging everything expired and all those half empty cracker boxes that are no doubt stale by now.  Flours, spices, and dried herbs will only last for 6 months, be ruthless now to avoid disaster when you use them next.  Sugars and syrups have a long life and may only need to be tidied up.
Step 2 | Clean: Fill a bowl with warm sudsy water and wipe down all the shelves and walls.  If you use lining trays or baskets, give them a good clean too.  Once done, sweep your pantry floor and vacuum the corners. Before placing everything back into your pantry, dust your boxes and wipe down your cans.
Step 3 | Donate:  Take stock of your tinned goods.  If you are bursting at the seems with canned goods, place them in a donation box to drop at a food bank later …..and make a mental note of your tendency to over stock on your canned goods.
Step 4| Organize : There is a method to everyone’s madness, here are my 2 cents on organzing a pantry….
  • Use old jars to store flour, salts, sugars, rice, pulses and other loose items that need to remain airtight.
  • Everyday items should go at the most accessible levels;
  • Excess & seldom used items should go at the top;
  • Periodic items should go at the bottom;
  • Cluster your items by type so you always have a view of what you have;
  • Use baskets to keep track of smaller items and for those easy access items that you are forever needing (like snacks);
  • Be creative with  your space, pantry doors are fabulous storage areas.
Step 5 | Restock: Make a list of everything you purged that will need to be replaced, and if you feel like a complete re-organziaition is in the future, think about what you want to store, how you want to store it and what you need before heading to the shops…there is nothing worse than coming home with organizing supplies to find that none of them really work for your pantry.

For more fabulous household tips please visit Coryanne at Housewife Bliss!


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    1. I love the issue and the challenge you put yourself into. Your pantry surely looks amazing and I can't wait to see more projects from you. Flemington, NJ House Cleaning