I am not sure if it’s the new year or the fact that I couldn’t find anything in my pantry that drove me to a massive two day pantry detox. Detox your pantry, really? Yes, my pantry had become toxic to my sanity and my health with the several expired products. We remodeled our kitchen about 2 1/2 years ago and put in a cabinet that we consider our pantry. I have a love/hate relationship with it. It provides ample storage, but the shelves are so deep it’s like going coal mining when it gets disorganized. I became fed up one night when I was cooking dinner and tried to find an essential ingredient. It took me 15 minutes to dig it out. ARGH! If you have a couple of minutes, I’ll give you a peek inside my pantry and show you how cleaning it out will help your wallet and your health.
The first thing that I did was clean out one shelf at a time. I started with canned goods. I pulled them out and categorized them. This led to many interesting discoveries about my family. For instance, someone in my house really likes cheese soup, and we obviously have some type of love affair with canned beans of every kind. I also became enlightened that my mother’s plea for the starving children in Ethiopia has led me to hoard expired canned goods and Jell-O that never made it to the food bank. (The expired goods did not make it back into the pantry.)
I repeated my categorization with each shelf. My island and kitchen table were covered. I itemized the items that I was keeping and assessed the need for containers. I couldn’t wait to make my pantry look presentable, so I headed to the store the next morning. I left with containers, shelves, and racks to hold all my items. I also recycled some old plastic tubs and a small wood crate I was going to throw away. When I got home, I put my canned goods in order, organized all my baking items together, made a snack box for the kids, and put frequently used items in easy to reach tubs. I feel so much better now. I know where everything is and I know how much I have. I can now plan my meals around what I have instead of guessing. This detox has led to more money in my pocket since I can now organize my coupons by what I need, and I won’t be repurchasing items I all ready have. I am also inspired to look for new and healthy recipes to share with my family. I hope this will inspire you to detox your pantry! Use these top 7 takeaways tips for your own Pantry Detox and check out my results below.
1. Take it one shelf at a time.
2. Categorize like items.
3. Check expiration dates and dispose of expired products.
4. Document what you have on hand. Make an inventory sheet and keep it in a convenient location close to your pantry.
5. Assess how you want to store your food (clear, airtight containers, tubs, plastic tubs, shelves, racks, etc.) and purchase needed storage items.
6. Put like categories together when putting your pantry back together. If there are a lot of items on one shelf, use plastic tubs or shelves to separate groups.
7. Make your grocery list around what ingredients you have on hand and cut coupons for items you need to replace.