canned goods 

The time has come: spring cleaning! Your closet gets rearranged, your drawers get cleaned out… and your pantry should get the same treatment! After a whole year of accumulating different goods in your pantry, the time has come to set things straight. Here are our top three tips for making your pantry like new this spring.

1. Inventory

You started out the year on the right foot. You had a shelf for jams and one for jellies, your canned vegetables lined up on one shelf and your jarred fruits on another. But as the year went on, things got confused, and now the cereal is next to the vinegar, and you keep buying mustard because the other six jars you have have been hiding behind the jumbo pack of crackers you bought to go with your cheese plates.

The time has come to empty everything and start all over. You’ll need an afternoon for this; it should be done right. Clear out everything from your pantry and organize. Check expiration dates and get rid of things that have expired, and donate goods you’ve had for awhile but know you won’t use. Then organize everything in a way that makes sense for the way you cook: put the things you use often (or first thing in the morning when you’re bleary-eyed!) in easy-to-reach places, and store the things that are used less frequently, like exotic ingredients, elsewhere.

2. Clean Up

Before you put everything away, be sure to give your pantry a proper rub-down. Use organic cleaning supplies to clean the shelves (and floor, if you have a walk-in pantry!). The cleaner everything is when you put all of your goods back, the more likely it is to stay that way.

3. Keep it That Way!

And if you want to ensure that your pantry stays clean and tidy, you can do a few things to make sure it does.

  • Keep all onions, garlic and root vegetables in (separate) baskets, so that they don’t lose their skins on the shelves.
  • Line your shelves with shelf paper, to make them neater. Try all-natural cork liner for an eco-friendly option.
  • Make sure that everything has a place. Take the extra 5-10 minutes and be sure that when you bring home your groceries, everything goes away as soon as you unpack it.
  • If you think you (or certain members of your household!) will forget where things go, try making labels.