Day Two of the 30 Day Spring Cleaning Challenge: Clean out and organize pantry

5 Tips for Cleaning Your Pantry

Prior to starting in on my pantry, I looked around online for tips and tricks. I mainly came across pictures of beautifully organized pantries that I cannot duplicate. Why? I just saw the extra stuff and the extra expense.

My desire is to simplify and get rid of stuff. I don’t want to add. I am finding out that the more stuff I own, the more stuff I have to clean. The more stuff I own, the more stuff I have to organize. So more stuff = more time cleaning and organizing. I just would rather spend my time doing something else…

A pantry lined with glass jars may look really nice, but I try to spend little money when cleaning and organizing. Thriftiness before beauty…I guess.

Vinegar is my (cheap) friend when cleaning. Because I use it for almost everything, I allow for occasional cleaning splurges (like tea tree essential oil or a great-smelling dish soap). And even then, I find a way to purchase only when on sale.

There are many great organizational tools out there, but I always try to figure out if I can make it work with what I have before going out and purchasing something. Yes, I do come across some organization tools that I would love to buy. But I try to do without first.

5 Tips for Cleaning Your Pantry


So I set out to clean out and organize my pantry without going out and purchasing anything. If your goal is a clean, simple pantry, here are my 5 tips for cleaning and organizing your pantry:

  • Clear it ALL out. Once you see an empty pantry, you will not want to stuff it to the max. You may find a few forgotten items as you do this. Hopefully they will be exciting gems (dark chocolate maybe?) and not anything moldy.
  • Reconsider if you need it. I found a few items that haven’t been used in years. There were even items that had never been used and were new in their package. (One was an unopened wedding gift from 7 years ago…) Simple solution? Either sell on ebay or send to the donation pile.
  • Remove items that do not belong in your pantry. Don’t make it a dumping place for all your miscellaneous items. I found a few items that were stuffed into the pantry at some point. They now have a better home elsewhere.
  • Use it up or combine. If you find half-used items, it’s a good time to just use them up. If you have a few random ingredients, try and fit them into future dinners. (This will help you save on this week’s grocery bill!) I was able to find extra space by combining a few items. (I was able to consolidate my many boxes of tea to gain space).
  • Clean the surfaces and the items. I use a vinegar/water cleaner combo (recipe below) for the shelves. If your food containers are sticky, wipe them before placing them back in the pantry.

It didn’t take me long to clean my pantry, as it was virtually mess & stickiness-free. This is because I only put clean items back in the pantry. I would spend the extra two seconds ensuring that I wasn’t putting a sticky container in each time and it saved me lots of scrubbing.

It’s so much more efficient if you don’t have to deep clean. I am all about using my time efficiently. Spending a few minutes here and there with maintenance cleaning is way easier than having to spend time scrubbing and deep-cleaning later. I abide by this for my entire kitchen…just wish I would do this for my bathtub & shower also…

Here is my simple vinegar/water cleaning recipe. The measurements are approximations…so easy that you do not even have to measure.

one cup vinegar
three cups water
& one of the following:
1 Tablespoon of your favorite dishsoap OR
10 drops of tea tree essential oil

I like: Method Gel Dish Pump, Fresh Currant, 18 Ounce* and
Aura Cacia Essential Oil, Cleansing Tea Tree, 0.5 fluid ounce*

*denotes affiliate link

In case you missed the entire 30 Day Challenge schedule. Print PDF: 30 Day Spring Cleaning Challenge 2015.

30 Day Spring Cleaning Challenge

Or find updated 2016 Spring Cleaning Challenge printable here

30 Day Spring Cleaning Printable

Boost Blog Income
Do you want to learn how to create a morning routine?
Sign up to get the free printable worksheets.

You will receive free updates, morning motivation, printables, blog post highlights, and occasional deals sent your way. Frequency?? Just a few times per month.

30 comments on “5 Tips for Cleaning Your Pantry”

  1. I am with you, I don’t want to have to go buy a whole organizing system to organize what I’ve already got. So using what I have on hand is what I try to do also. And your recipe for a cleaning solution is going on my list of things to try!

  2. Great tips! I need to do this. My pantry gets overrun so fast. I buy things I’m sure I’ll cook then I end up throwing them out months later expired :). I guess I don’t cook as often as I should!

    • It’s always a bummer to find something you forgot about and have to throw away.

      Thanks for reading!

  3. Thanks for stopping by to link and share on The Oh My Heartsie Girl Friday Feature!!
    We appreciate you shared your blog with us!!
    Have a great weekend, Karren~Host

  4. Awesome tips! I find my pantry so quickly gets messed up and there’s like two bags of the same thing open at the same time. So annoying! Love the printable! I will definitely be tackling the pantry this week.

    I’ve pinned this to the Ladies Collective Linkup Pinterest board <3 Hope to see you back again this Wednesday!!

    Stephanie @

  5. I use the same homemade cleaning spray. I’ve got to get into my pantry and clean/organize it. It’s terrible right now. I’ve been putting it off.

    Thanks for your tips! I found your post at Small Victories Sunday linky party.

  6. Thanks for sharing these great tips. And I love the home made cleaner. I’ve found cheap window spray works well to take off grime too. If I put on uplifting music and say a prayer of thanks for so much bounty while cleaning the task goes faster. But I might wait a week or so to think about doing this since I spent two days last week cleaning out the garage !!!! LOL

    • Oh…the garage sounds like a big task! Yes, you should take a break before getting back into cleaning. :)

  7. I ,love love this, and I so needed to read this! I posted a pic on Instagram this week and my pantry was exposed, it made me cringe wondering what people would think of the organized chaos! :-) I really appreciate you sharing your latest creation at Making Memories Mondays!

    • I’m not on instagram…so I didn’t have to post a picture of my terribly cluttered pantry. ;)

  8. I found you on Tuesday Talk and I’m glad I did. This is on my spring cleaning list for sure! I love cleaning with vinegar, just be careful when mixing it with soap, most soaps react with vinegar and make ineffective.

  9. I like your game plan! My pantry is not terrible, but I am hoping to clean/organize it one more time before our baby is born. I also use vinegar for SO MUCH when cleaning. It saves money and is safe. Though, I do like to splurge on 7th generation disinfectant for the kitchen. But one $3 bottle usually lasts me for several months. I also got some Thieves oil from a friend and that is supposed to be great for cleaning–it sure smells good. But after using it I heard that it should be avoided when pregnant or with young babies, but other people use it for cleaning baby toys, so I am not sure what to think!

    • It is hard to know sometimes!

      I have heard great things about Thieves oil, but have never tried it.

  10. Thank you for continuing to share the cleaning inspiration on the Art of Home-Making Mondays! These are very motivational! Have a wonderful weekend :)

  11. Great tips. While I may not be happy things have gotten cluttered and overloaded, it always feels so nice to minimize and declutter!

    {Pinned and Visiting from #SmallVictoriesSundayLinkup – hope to see you link up again!}

Comments are closed.