The Storage Black Hole in Every Home

published Jan 4, 2017
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(Image credit: Alicia Macias)

It doesn’t matter if you cook every day or once in a blue moon. You might have a teeny tiny kitchen or one with more cabinets than you know what to do with. No matter what, I’m going to guess that everyone doing this Cure could benefit from shining a little light on the storage black hole we all seem to have in common: the pantry cabinets in our kitchens. Yes, I’m talking about the spots where you store those shelf staples, spices and canned goods that we all tend to stock up on and then, inexplicably, simply hang on to, forever and ever, until a day like today. I know it’s not the sexiest job in the world, but think of it as a investment in the future – it’ll be one less thing you’ll have to tackle during our upcoming kitchen cleaning chore and it’s a really good way to inspire and encourage more healthy cooking and eating at home, which is always a good thing. Hopefully, I’ve convinced you – your assignment awaits.

(Image credit: Alicia Macias)

Today’s Assignment:

Purge Your Pantry

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

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

  • Move your trash can or a garbage bag to where you’ll be working. 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 on the box!). 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 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 take a moment to celebrate your efforts when you are done – this is a great job to get under your belt the first week of the new year.
  • Important note: Don’t fret about the REST of your kitchen or get overwhelmed – there is time set aside for more kitchen cleaning later in the Cure – focus on the pantry cabinets and items only today. Knock it out, cross it off your list and then allow yourself to move on. You are done for the day.

Be sure to check back in and let us know when you finish and how it went in the comments – group encouragement on these more challenging cleaning chores really helps!

More Info:
  • The January Cure 2017 Main Page
  • Download the printable pdf calendar: January Cure 2017
  • Share your progress on Instagram: #thejanuarycure
  • It’s Not Too Late! You Can Still Join The January Cure: