Get It Done: How To Clean Out the Pantry

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True confession: My pantry is a nightmare. Each weekend I swear I will clean it out, but then I come up with an excuse to not. I am aware that hot cocoa mix from my secret Santa is lurking in the back among expired sauces and the jumbo box of straws I bought on impulse at Staples once I had been on a print cartridge run and never used.

Well, we should really be feeling confident after attacking the coat closet last week and feel ready for this slightly more complex job. Tie a bandana around your head, wear some inviting shoes and open up that pantry. Let’s do it!

Spinnaker Development

First, resolve that you will purchase food only with red and white tags, so that you pantry will probably always look that great. Just kidding!

How to Organize Your Pantry

Approximate time:
1 to 3 hours, depending on whether you want to make a run to the shop.

Materials needed: Box for contributions, garbage can, notepad and pen for jotting down ideas and demands, dusting trays and supplies.

Tip: Take a before shot so that you could feel extra satisfied when this is over.

Charmean Neithart Interiors

First, remove all the items in the shelves and put whatever you do not want on your donation box.

1. Clean

• Thoroughly strike that pantry with a feather duster, starting with the ceiling (look out for spider webs in the corners) and moving down till you get to the floor.
• Inspect shelves for food stains and crumbs. Give them a thorough wipe-down with water and soap.
• in the event that you would like to earn this project take all weekend, then with means, repaint your shelves and wallpaper that pantry. Otherwise, use a Magic Eraser or line the shelves with contact paper.
• Mop the floor

Witt Construction

2. Assess

Take a step back and admire your hard work. Yes, I know, all the food is all around the kitchen. It’s alright. Go sort it and put the donation box in the car.

Next, think about what you want.
• Was there stuff shoved way in the back that you didn’t know existed and had a hard time reaching?
• Is your pantry the best location for your herbs, or would you like them nearer to where you cook?
• What else would you would like to keep close to the cooker? You may want to clear a cupboard shelf close to the cooker for cooking spray, cooking oil, shortening, olive oil, salt and pepper, and other items you want when cooking.
• Jot down your ideas and make a list of items you want at the shop.

3. Tackle Problems

Problem: Items pushed in the back of the pantry are not seen or heard from again.

Option 1: Put items you rarely need there back, like extra mixing bowls and rarely used appliances and serving pieces. Label the front of the shelf to remind you that those items are back there.

Option 2: Invest in having some drawers installed. My “Cabinet” is actually only a deep freestanding cupboard, and I am saving up to install drawers that roll out just like the ones you see in this image.

Schwartz and Architecture

Problem: The hodgepodge of pasta, rice, couscous and quinoa boxes allow you to mad.

Option: Invest in a big set of clear glass jars for storage. Their appealing uniformity will make you happy. These are also ideal for baking supplies like flour and sugar.

You may also be more eco friendly by bringing the jars into the grocery store with you and refilling them in the bulk bins.

Nicole Lanteri Design

If you choose to go to your jars, then it is possible to create tags for them out of chalkboard touch paper.

The Container Store

Linus Rectangular Pantry Shelf – $17.99

Problem: Your shelves are spaced so far apart that filling them with short little herb bottles is a waste of space.

Option 1: Add an extra shelf that’s only a little higher than the herb jars. If carpentry isn’t in the cards and you can’t rearrange the shelf heights, try out a temporary shelf like this one.

Frank Valdes

Option 2: Look into an herb rack like this one, which attaches to the back of the cupboard door. Just be sure it’ll clear the advantages of the shelves once the door is closed.


Droppar Spice Jar – $2.99

4. Move Shopping

Items you may want:
• Coordinating spice jars
• Glass canisters
• Mason jars
• Contact paper
• Door racks
• Pantry shelves
• Plastic containers to keep cereals fresh
• Organizers (for items like plastic bags), recycling bins, tinfoil, plastic wrap, sandwich bags

5. Arrange

Your contributions are in the car and ready to go to the food bank; your died items are sorted and tossed. Now it’s time to put it back in.

Group like items together: Coffee, nondairy creamer and Stevia; baking supplies; pastas and grains; soups; cereal boxes. Play around with your arrangement till it appears so organized that you are feeling proud and want to show off it. Snap an after image. Share it with us in the Comments section; I would like being motivated by your hard work, because writing this ideabook is helping me continue to procrastinate my own pantry clean-out.

Nicole Lanteri Design

6. Strategy for the Long Term

if you’re lucky enough to have a walk-in pantry, you’ll know after this clean-out if it’s fulfilling all your needs. Otherwise, ask yourself how it could be better and everything you’ll want to accomplish this. Perhaps you’d prefer a prep area, space for a chalkboard for creating lists.

Karen Ellentuck. ASID

If this cleaning caused you to understand you’ll never have enough space for all the situations you want to stay stocked, look down the road to solving the problems with a few reconfigured cabinets. Deep pull-out cabinets like this one maximize every inch of storage area. It’s just something to consider, but for today, you are done.

Van Wicklen Layout

7. Reward Yourself

Go out to eat or purchase in tonight. You’ve earned it!

Weekend Project: Strike the Coat Closet
Fresh Start: 39 Ways to Organize Your Materials

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