When we think spring cleaning, we usually think about cleaning behind the furniture, scrubbing the nooks and crannies that have gone neglected during the cold winter months, and throwing out anything that’s seen better days. Everything from the mystery bag of who-knows-what in the freezer to the threadbare towels you’ve been hoarding since college get the old heave-ho to make room for brighter and lighter days.
But what often goes forgotten in the hustle and bustle of dusting and decluttering is one of the most central parts of your home. While you have kept your fridge fresh and clean, your pantry is probably stuffed with errant bags of opened pasta and abandoned bags of tea.
Here are three steps to creating a better pantry during this year’s spring cleaning.
1. Be honest
I know you really, truly wanted to start making your own chamomile and mint tea and you have had that recipe for chana masala taped in your cookbook for nine months, but if you haven’t done it by now it’s probably not going to happen. Go through the shelves and toss everything that’s expired, old or suspect. Everything that’s edible goes in a bag to the local food bank.
2. Refresh your spices
Along the same lines as that chana masala you never made, you’ve got a whole collection of spices and seasonings that have gone stale. Toss any spice or seasoning that has been open for six months or longer as they have lost their potency and much of their flavor, too. Replace any of what you’ve thrown away as needed. You’ll be surprised how much of it was just taking up space.
3 Set up a system
There are a multitude of state of the art organizational systems out there to pick and choose from. Whether you decide to use baskets or bins, containers or crates, once you get some organization in place you find you not only have a cleaner, nicer pantry, but you have far less food waste because you know what you have and where it is.