Day Two of the 30 Day Spring Cleaning Challenge: Clean out and organize 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.
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
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In case you missed the entire 30 Day Challenge schedule. Print PDF: 30 Day Spring Cleaning Challenge 2015.