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One Spring Cleaning Task That Might Actually Save You Money

updated Jul 30, 2020
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Credit: Rikki Snyder

With Spring Cleaning for Your Mood, we’re helping you get your housekeeping done no matter what state of mind you’re in. For 20 weekdays in April, we’ll focus on cleaning a new area of your space, with three different ways to get it done—so it’s easy to stay on track even when you’re busy, tired, or away from home. And to make it go even better, enter to win your Your Everything-You-Need Spring Cleaning Tool Kit from OXO at the bottom of the post.

The most obvious benefit of doing a whole spring cleaning is that we get to live in and take ownership of a happy, healthy home. But what if I told you there were tangible benefits to spring cleaning, too? Like saving money? A lot of us waste a lot of food. It’s bad for the planet; it’s bad for the pocketbook. So today we’re going back to high school Home Ec and learning to get a grip on the larder. Let’s clean our pantry, fridge, and freezer.

Day 13 Assignment: Food Storage

In a regular house-cleaning, we don’t really think to open the pantry and fridge doors. But these spaces are really just big closets: for food. While we may spend a lot of time asking ourselves if old T-shirts are still worth keeping, how often do we ask if that old jar of marinara sauce in the back of the fridge still sparks joy? Well, now we are.

So what are you in the mood for today?

Credit: Rikki Snyder

A Satisfying Deep Dive: Pull out everything, clean it, and put back only what’s worth keeping.

Surely we all know by now how Marie Kondo takes on a closet and that step one is to pull out every piece of clothing. Today we’re KonMari-ing our “food closets.” Pull everything out of your pantry, fridge, and freezer (but tackle each zone separately so refrigerated foods don’t sit out for too long). Even if you know something’s a keeper, it comes out and goes through the process. That’s because step two is to give each space a good cleaning. (A vacuum with a hose attachment is a great friend here!)

When it’s time to put things back, find a system that makes items less likely to be forgotten. OXO’s Turntable keeps little things like spices and cans from drifting to the corners. And keeping things visible helps you keep the pantry stocked. Cereal Dispensers come in three sizes and are much better for bulk items like oats and, well, cereal than the opaque containers they come in. Make Marie even prouder by storing your food in a way that keeps it visible: Clear POP Containers let you see exactly what you have.

Credit: Rikki Snyder

A Quick Win: Scan your food storage for things you can throw away right now.

The nice thing about most people’s food storage areas is that they’re too small to ever get totally out of hand. Even the best clutterers among us will never get as much stuff in a freezer as we will an attic. This means a quick triage can go a long way. So today, give all three areas — pantry, fridge, and freezer — a quick once-over and toss things that obviously need to go. We’re really just looking for expiration dates and signs of decay here. Going forward, a good set of reusable leak-proof containers for the fridge will go a long way toward preventing food waste, both by keeping the food fresh and giving you the visual cue of what’s inside.

Credit: Rikki Snyder

A Mindful Reset: Remind yourself to do quick clear-outs in the future.

Add a nudge to keep things together-ish going forward by writing “clear out” on the tip of every grocery list — and write a reminder wherever you keep said lists. Then, do a quick scan-and-toss before every shopping trip. POP containers keep everything in view in one quick glance. (This will help you save money, too, by forcing you to take inventory of what you have before buying doubles.)

Visit the Spring Cleaning for Your Mood page to check out all the assignments so far.