Is your pantry an absolute mess? As we buy new groceries and forget what we already have, things start to pile up. What food items are out of date? Are you ever even going to eat half of these things at all? 

Pantry cleaning is tedious, and it’s easy to put it off. After all, if you still have space, what’s the difference? 

You know that you should clean out that pantry, and we’re here to guide you with a few pantry cleaning tips to get you started. Get a trash bag and your cleaning supplies and read on to learn more.

1. Take Everything Out

The first step of cleaning out your pantry is taking everything out of it. We know that this isn’t an appealing task, but if you pick and choose what to pull out, you’ll never get a good deep clean. 

It’s best to remove everything all at once rather than going section by section. This will make it easier to organize later, even if it seems like a mess right now. 

You might need a lot of space to put all of your pantry items. If you don’t have enough room on your counter or table, don’t be afraid to lay everything out on the floor. Make sure to clean the floor afterward. 

2. Scrub the Pantry

After you remove everything, you need to clean the pantry itself. When was the last time you took a sponge to those shelves or wiped down the cabinet doors? 

Don’t worry, we know the answer already.

You won’t need heavy cleaning solutions to scrub down the pantry unless you’ve had any messy spills. Instead, a cloth or sponge with water is often enough. If there are crumbs, use a vacuum attachment or small dusting tool to get them out of the way.

When you leave crumbs or food spills around for too long, you’ll attract pests like bugs and mice. 

3. Declutter with Boxes

Now comes the decluttering stage. This is often the part of the task that takes the longest, so consider asking for help if you need it. 

We suggest using boxes for this. You’ll need several of them. If you don’t have boxes, designate specific areas of your floor for everything that you have and keep a trash bag nearby. 

The first box (or area) should be for food that you’re going to keep. We’ll break down that section later on, but at first, you can keep it generic. 

The second section should be for food that you want to throw away. If nothing is too heavy, a trash bag can be used in place of a box. 

The third section is for food that you want to donate. Keep in mind that food banks often have an overabundance of commonly donated foods, but it doesn’t hurt to donate anyway. Some organizations will take donated foods and create meals for soup kitchens. 

While you’re decluttering, make sure that you check the “best by” dates on all of your packages. While some foods last forever, others are likely already out of date. 

Also, look for duplicates. Did you buy a fresher version of something that you already had? Do you have any boxes of pasta or rice that you can combine together to take up less space? 

4. Get Organized

After you have everything in boxes, set aside the donation and trash boxes to donate or throw away later. Now you have the things that you plan on keeping. Take this opportunity to organize everything instead of shoving it all back in the pantry as-is. It will make your life easier if you put everything in its place. 

Your organization methods will vary depending on what you keep in your pantry, but in general, you want to make things as accessible as possible. 

The things that you use often should be at arm’s reach. Spices and starches are common in meals, so put them where you can see them without digging. 

It’s a good idea to keep similar things in one area. All of your dried pasta can go in one place. Your canned vegetables and fruits can go together, as can your dried beans. 

You want to make your pantry as easy to navigate as possible. 

5. Stay Organized

After you declutter and organize, your work isn’t done. You need to stay on top of your pantry so it doesn’t get out of hand again. There are a few things that you can do to stay more organized. 

The first is creating “best by” labels. While most foods have these labels already, if you put your foods in jars or rub off the labels, you won’t be able to see them. Large labels make it easy to see when something is out of date. 

You can also label sections of the pantry so nothing gets misplaced. Label a shelf for breakfast items, dried foods, canned foods, or anything else that you need. 

Dividers are another great addition to any pantry. You can divide your shelves or drawers to keep everything more separate. DIY dividers are easy to make, or you can buy some pre-made ones.

When you work to maintain some sense of order in your pantry, you won’t let it get chaotic or unmanageable again. 

Use These Pantry Cleaning Tips

These pantry cleaning tips will help you stay clean and organized. A tidy pantry makes it easier to cook meals, find snacks, and avoid pests in your home.

It’s a large task, but when you do it once, you’ll have an easier time in the future. 

Are you overwhelmed by all of your cleaning tasks? Why not hire a professional cleaner? Let someone else do the work this time. Contact us for a quote today!