One Simple Step to a Healthier Year Ahead: Do a Pantry Purge

published Jan 5, 2016
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(Image credit: Emily Billings)

Everyone has a cabinet or two in their kitchen dedicated to storing staples, spices and canned goods and they can always use a little attention. No matter how often you cook, the pantry is one of those mystery spots in a home – a storage black hole – that almost always ends up filled with things that have been forgotten about. Today we’re going to blast it with a little Cure energy; clear it out, clean it up and get a jumpstart on this weekend’s larger project at the same time.

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It’s Not Too Late! Join The January Cure:

Today’s Assignment:

Clean and Organize Your Pantry

Set aside 30-60 minutes today or tonight, turn on some music or a favorite podcast get this done.

Here’s a quick breakdown of how to do the job right:

  • Move your trash can or a garbage bag to your pantry area. A bag or box for potential food donations is excellent to have on hand here as well. A notepad and pencil are handy for noting down things you toss that need replacing.
  • Take everything out, one shelf/section at a time. Sort the items as you go, getting rid of anything expired or that you’ve opened but know you are not going to eat (it’s ok – everyone has something like this in their pantry – not ALL cookies are as delicious as they look!). Transfer things that are unopened and still good, but that you don’t think you’ll actually eat, to the donation bag or box – again, it’s ok – it’s the right thing to do! We have a great, full list of what to purge right here – check it out and embrace it – it’s time for a clean, fresh start.
  • Once a shelf is cleared, clean it. Use a vacuum attachment first if its crumby, followed by a damp cloth. Spray, then scrape and scrub any sticky spots (an old credit card or hotel room card key can be helpful here). Use a towel to dry the area well.
  • Replace the items on the clean shelf, giving them a quick pass with a clean, slightly damp cloth if they are dusty as you go. Put like things together so you can find them more easily and know at any time just how many cans of garbanzos you have around and when you need to stock up.
  • Repeat the process for each shelf/section and do a small celebratory dance when you are done – this is a great job to get under your belt the first week of the new year. Be sure to let us know when you finish and how it went in the comments – group encouragement definitely helps!
  • Important note: Don’t fret about the REST of your kitchen or get overwhelmed – there is time for that work later – focus on the pantry only today. Kick butt, cross it off your list and then allow yourself to move on.

Completing this assignment not only contributes to a cleaner, more organized kitchen, it’s the first step to encouraging more delicious cooking and healthy eating at home in the New Year.

Keep up the good work and please let us know what scary surprises you discover deep in the corners of the pantry!

It’s Not Too Late! Join The January Cure: