Spring Cleaning the Pantry & Kitchen
Updated: Apr 30
With spring cleaning in the air, not only is it time to make the seasonal clothing switch, but it’s also a great time to take a hard look at your pantry and refresh your kitchen. Making time to clean out expired food, deep clean storage areas and cabinets, and assess your belongings between seasons is a great way to keep your home organized and prevent accumulation of excess clutter.
Before diving into a deep cleaning or decluttering session, it’s a good idea to do a general tidy to prepare. Just do a quick sweep of the area first and remove items that do not belong in the kitchen and may be accumulating on the counters. (For example: mail, papers, to-do items, kid clutter.) It is easier to assess what should stay and what will need to be organized and cleaned in the kitchen/pantry, without excess clutter getting in the way. Doing a quick wipe down of the counters, stove top, and cabinets, also sets the stage for utilizing the countertops as you sort through items in your pantry, label jars, and place cleaning supplies while you work.
Assessing Your Pantry & Food Storage
Take a look at your current storage space. Are you using the space in the most functional way? Are there issues with how it is organized (too many items stacked behind or on top of each other, so they get lost in back-of-the-cabinet exile). Do you have enough storage containers (and appropriate labeling) for bulk food items? Do you need to clear more space for a certain category of item? (i.e. you don’t currently have enough room for leftovers, or specific baking supplies). Also take this as an opportunity to assess what categories are getting out of hand, and should be paired down in preparation for the next step.
Starting to Declutter
Now that you have a good idea on your current storage needs and your biggest clutter traps, start going through your food storage. (Make sure to include the fridge/freezer!) Get rid of expired foods and spices, as well as ingredients that you bought for ‘that one recipe’ but don’t plan on using again. Remember that spices lose their potency and flavor over time. Take a sniff test, if you can’t smell anything, it’s likely the spice has lost its taste quality as well. When it comes to foods, keep in mind that the expiration date is usually an indication of the optimal taste and freshness, but does not necessarily mean the food will cause harm. You can double check on this FoodKeeper app by the FDA to verify the safety of foods before throwing them out. Also make sure to empty containers properly so they can be recycled, and compost any food to minimize what ends up in the trash.
Other areas that may be good to give a good decluttering sweep are under the kitchen sink, (getting rid of empty bottles or old cleaning supplies) and junk drawers. Maybe you have an area that accumulates plastic bags, rubber bands, batteries or twist-ties. These areas can accumulate random knick-knacks over time and it’s a good idea to check them regularly so they don’t get out of hand and remain functional. This is a great time to move that accumulation of grocery bags into your car so you remember to drop them off at your local store for recycling on your next shopping trip.
The inside of the oven, the fridge, freezer, and cabinets are all good places to hit when your doing a deep spring cleaning session. If you have a self-cleaning oven, turn on the self-cleaning function at the beginning of your cleaning session since it takes some time to do its magic. When removing items from cabinets and drawers for wiping, take a second to review items for wear and tear. Anything that is looking cracked or worn to the point of losing functionality (or a duplicate tool) you know you can toss. Maybe over the course of the past few months you accumulated an extra corkscrew or potato peeler because you thought you lost or didn’t have that item (coming from experience). Place these in a bin to drop off at the Goodwill or local donation center next time you’re in the area.
Another area that makes a big difference? Silverware utensil organizers. Giving these babies a quick wipe down makes a huge impact, and you probably didn’t even realize how many crumbs or grime was accumulating next to your clean utensils.
Putting It All Together
Although cleaning and tidying may not be your favorite activity, the result is rewarding. Studies show that people with clean and organized homes tend to be happier. And I don’t know about you, but clean countertops and an organized pantry instantly improves my mood in the kitchen and I even feel more inclined to cook and keep it looking tidy.
If time is an issue, consider hiring a professional organizer to help you declutter your post-winter kitchen. At Clutter to Clarity, we can also help with removing items for donation, labeling (using our zero waste sticker labels!) and developing a system to keep your pantry organized.
What are some of your own tips or experiences with spring cleaning? Or have any more questions about your own kitchen/pantry refresh? Feel free to leave a comment below!
Sophia Warne Rowe
Founder, Clutter to Clarity LLC.
Thanks for reading!
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