It happens to the best of us: You buy certain foods that you completely expect to use, but then weeks and months go by while they sit on your pantry shelves gathering dust. It doesn’t cause a problem at first, but over time you’ll start to notice your pantry getting fuller and fuller. And now the kids are back at school you have undoubtedly stocked those shelves up. If you’re there right now, it might be time to organise your pantry before that food expires and you have to throw it out!
We know that weekend is not just for cleaning, with these fabulous cleaning tips you can reset your home in no time at all and relax with a cuppa.
Preparing the Pantry
Start by preparing your pantry to be cleaned. Go ahead and take everything out of it, leaving them either on the floor outside or in some cardboard boxes. If any food is bad or out of date, go ahead and throw it out. You might want to go ahead and do that with really old stuff too, even if it doesn’t have an expiration date. I’ve had some stuff in my pantry for years.
Give it a deep clean
While you’re reorganising your pantry it is an excellent time to get those cleaning products out and freshen it up. Take off the shelf paper and dust all the shelves. Grab some Superwipes, a bowl of hot soapy water, and give the shelves a good amount of elbow grease. The Superwipes are made from a special grime dispersing weave. The double action holes easily pick up dirt and food particles, and allow for the cloth to be hygienically rinsed clean – for use over and over again. They come in a range of colours – blue, pink, purple, and green.
Get in those corners where food might be lurking and remember to wipe over the underside of each shelf. Don’t forget to give clean all your containers and storage boxes. Either give the outside a wipe over or tip out the contents in a temporary bowl or container, and wash them all out with soapy water.
Use new paper when you’re ready to line the shelves again. If the pantry looks too dark, you can take this opportunity to paint it white so that it looks more inviting. If you have a single light or there are spots covered in shadow, install an extra light, maybe something battery operated for convenience.
Once all that’s done, there are two ways you can go back in and organise everything.
Keep all the similar items together
Stock your foods based on their groups, which allows you to quickly notice when you’re about to run out of something. Some example categories you can use for grouping might be: paper products, baking items, spices, snacks, cereal, boxed foods, canned vegetables, canned meats, canned fruit, and dry goods, such as rice.
Either devote an entire shelf to one particular grouping category, or split a shelf into several sections to accommodate a couple different small groups. Instead of spacing them apart to differentiate between groups, use cardboard dividers and squeeze them right up next to each other.
Create a tub of back to school snacks for lunches and a separate tub for snacks after school. Packing lunches will be a breeze and the kids can help themselves without driving you crazy with their choices. Use a cleaning cloth to line the base of each tub in case of spills.
Organise based on convenience
The other way to organise your pantry is by doing it in order of frequency of use. The items you use most go at eye level, the next frequent items go below that, and so on. The items that are used the rarest go on the very top or bottom shelf.
I like to keep my main pantry staples at eye level – so I know I can prepare a meal with what I have right in front of me! Doing this makes it more convenient every time you go into the pantry because you always have direct access to the most important things. Otherwise, you might have to bend every time you need to get the flour.
A few extra tips on cleaning and organising your pantry:
- Take any food items that come in soft plastic or paper (rice, pasta, popcorn, flour) and put them in hard plastic containers. This not only helps them stay fresh longer, but it keeps moths and mice away.
- Make sure your cleaning products are stored far from the food, in case of any spills or leaks.
- Put a small hanging shelf on the inside of the pantry door for spices or small items, allowing you to clear up more shelf space in the main pantry.
At SAHM, we love getting organised and giving everything a thorough clean. We love to use our Superwipes to make sure it’s in tip top shape before stocking it up again. The Superwipes are great with combating dirt and removing old food that has stuck to our pantry shelves. Give them a go and tell us how they worked on your pantry.