Here’s a 5 point plan to get started.
1. Purge – Take everything out and assess what you have. Check expiration dates. Is it still fresh? Are you going to ever use it?
2. Pitch – If items are stale or expired, send down the garbage disposal or throw away if you must and if you do, compost what you can. Maybe save those stale cracker items to feed the ducks at the park. Recycle any chipboard, glass jars or tin cans. If it is an item that has not yet expired and you don’t intend to ever use it, consider dropping off at a local food bank or shelter.
3. Paint – This is optional depending on your pantry, but while everything is out, a good cleaning and a fresh coat of paint can be nice. Make sure it is a non-toxic, zero or low VOC paint. Lowes, Home Depot and Sherwin Williams all have good options.
4. Prepare – Think about what needs to be stored in an airtight container to keep it fresh. What do you have around the house you can use to store cereals, pastas, grains or snack crackers that could attract critters or those little bugs if left open. What about any pre-packaged items like granola bars or boxes of raisins. Place in baskets for an easy “go-to grab” for snacks. Plus you can always see what you have and when you need to restock.
5. Place – Group like items together. Think about what you use the most. What about your kids? What needs to be kept on the top shelf like glass jars or within an easy reach.
5 a. Replace – Check ingredients on some of those pantry items like jelly, cereal, salad dressing that contain high fructose corn syrup or that peanut butter with hydrogenated oils and consider replacing next time around with a healthier option to keep your pantry looking good all the time.