The Great Pantry Clean Out


Come inside the deep, dark corners of my pantry for the great pantry clean out as I sort, toss, and organize what’s inside! 

Our pantry = where my stress hangs out

Our pantry seriously stresses me out all the time! It’s probably the area of my house that is the least organized at any given minute. I’ve written about it many times, including the pantry clean-out challenge and a post about pantry hacks. Check out our top 10 pantry staples here! The pantry is where food and organization co-mingle. 

Our pantry has evolved over time. When I first bought this house it had swing-out doors that looked cool but were a pain to open and close. We took them off = so much better! I also used to have a ton of dried goods in mason jars. But I have mostly gone back to not decanting things for simplicity’s sake. 

I blame the entropy of the pantry on a few things:

  1. There are now 4 of us digging through there on a daily basis.
  2. I get free samples more than the average person, and sometimes they hang out for a while.
  3. When you’re hangry, you grab what you grab and run! There’s no time to tidy up. 

If and when we renovate this house (or move), a walk-in pantry is high on the wish list! I’ve never had one and have always used a cabinet of some kind. In my first house I stored things in the garage and ended up with bugs in the food – yikes! But when space is limited, you have to think creatively.

So on my latest clean-out day, I thought I’d take you along for the ride!

The Great Pantry Clean Out

Here are the before shots. Duplicates, expired items, things in the wrong place – the works! There is also just TOO MUCH STUFFED IN. 

My Pantry Clean-Out Strategy

1. Remove most of the foods to the counters

2. Sort through and toss anything expired or that we will never eat

3. Put everything back in areas that make sense

The Tidy Pantry After

You can see that I had already labeled the shelves, so I put those categories back as they were. The biggest change wasn’t a total organization overhaul, but just decluttering the bulk of the categories. 

Koozies now have their own shelf! They were a big trouble zone before. I also did the hard task of eating the remains of 3 different nut butter jars that were taking up space but never used. 

Extra sauces live on the top shelf, and oils and vinegars are on the turntables. 

The baskets house most of our kid and adult snack foods:

  1. Fruit bars and dried fruit (raisins, mangos)
  2. Baby pouches and dry snacks like pea pods and goldfish bags
  3. Adult snacks (Gratisfied bars and trail mix bags)
  4. Kid bars (Z bars, granola bars, etc.)

I had not one but TWO bags of expired flour. Eeek! And I was able to consolidate some of the oats into a new container and recycle the old. 

Again, while Pinterest would love for me to buy 100 clear containers, I think the time it takes on a regular basis to decant everything (and briefly oxidize) isn’t really worth the visual gain you get. But I never say never! 

The spice and herb cabinet is much happier!! 

So there you have it! 

Nothing dramatic, but a huge improvement when you open the pantry doors. 

Please share your best pantry organizing tips!


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