Despite your best intentions, sometimes having many hands grabbing for food each day can put your pantry in a state of disarray. But, no need to despair, getting your pantry back in ship-shape order might be easier than you think. Try out these spring cleaning tips for pantry perfection:
- Make the first move: it may seem like a mammoth task, but the best way to clean out your pantry is by creating a completely spotless, clean slate on which you can start again. Take everything out and wipe down each shelf before you start replacing items. This is what spring cleaning is all about. It might be a good idea to clean out any storage baskets and containers while you’re there.
- Take a good hard look at your purchases: at some point in time, you thought each item in your pantry was worth keeping. But, things do change. Take a good hard look at your items and assess whether these are actually provisions that are going to help you provide yourself with good food in the coming months. If you don’t think you will use something, put it aside. If you’ve got full bottles of untouched sauces, for example, check with fellow food-loving friends to see if they might use them (before throwing anything away). One cook’s trash could be another’s treasure! At the end, assess the pile.
- Say bye-bye to things past the-use-by: time can pass pretty quickly, and before you know it you’ve got items that are months past their use-by dates cluttering your valuable pantry space. Ensure that anything that goes back in your pantry has not passed its shelf life.
- Invest in storage solutions: if you have a tendency to lose track of what goes where in your pantry, part of your spring cleaning effort might include purchasing some baskets, containers, lazy susans, a spice rack, hanging shelves and labels, to keep things organised. Some home cooks find it effective to store grains and other loose items in transparent glass, labelled jars (see below) – which means you can always see what you’re looking for through the glass. You can also write use-by dates on the jars too, to help you keep track.
- Rearrange by category: you can devise a list of categories based on the ingredients you use most in your home, but it’s a good idea to group similar items together to help keep track. You might like to arrange things in the following categories, for example: cans, pasta and grains/cereals, sauces, spreads, spices, baking goods, oils, teas and coffee and snacks. You might have other categories to include in your pantry, but this may work as a guide.
Before long your pantry will be looking as tidy as a tea shop … Happy spring cleaning!
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