Clean Your Pantry & Save Money

How to Clean Your Pantry

Do you ever notice that you end up with things that just tend to sit in your pantry?  You keep meaning to use them, and then those items are forgotten.  Eventually, items go past their expiration and you have to toss them.  I find it really frustrating to throw out food that I have been meaning to use or either completely forgot about – after all, it is throwing out money.  And I find it frustrating that my pantry is always bursting with food.

Here is something you can do every month or every few months to reduce your pantry clutter, and save the money that would be lost by tossing expired foods.  You may want to pick a time that works, and even write it on your calender – for example, the last week of every other month.

Go through your pantry.

~ If you have the extra time, sort and organize items.  This way you don’t end up with so many duplicates.  The point of this is not necessarily to do a deep cleaning of your pantry — so if you want to do a quick once over, forget the organizing and just grab a few items you know have been sitting there for a long time that should really get used.  Yes, this means those things you have been avoiding using!

~ Choose items that you want to use up/get rid of

~ Check expiration dates and pull your oldest items

~ Toss anything that is expired, and collect anything you might want to give away or donate (perhaps someone in the house has changed their diet, etc)

Come up with a plan.

Take the items that are closest to their expiration dates and create a meal plan.

You may want to make a goal, for example, to use up 1-2 items per week.


Chances are, if it is in your pantry, you’ll need to supplement your recipes with fresh foods.  For example, that jar of curry sauce you found at the farmer’s market last summer, or a jar of marinated artichokes – you might need to shop for meat, pasta, or veggies, and so on.

You can also do this with freezer items, especially if you have a deep freezer and foods tend to be forgotten!




  1. 1

    This is a timely reminder that I need to go through mine. I haven’t gone through my shelves in a while. They look cluttered and it’s getting hard to find things.

  2. 2

    I recently had to clean out our pantry! These are definitely some great tips. Thanks for sharing!

  3. 3
    Kaitlin Collins says:

    This is so useful! Our pantry is a DISASTER and i have been avoiding dealing with it for months but this post has made it seem so easy. Definitely a great to-do for this weekend.

  4. 4
    ellen beck says:

    I actually do pretty good with this… and if there are things getting close to date and I know I cant use it quickly enough I always seem to know someone who can use it as so many are out of work in our town. I stock up before winter and its getting close to clean up time.

  5. 5
    alicia k says:

    we always forget about food in our pantry!

  6. 6

    We need to do this on a more regular basis…. maybe once a month? Right now it is pure chaos…. :)

  7. 7

    I usually do a light cleaning in May, when the USPS has a food drive and make sure my donations are valid dates. Toss out bad stuff. But, I need to do quarterly to keep inventory and tidiness. Thanks for your helpful tips.

  8. 8

    Just did my fridge/freezer and need to get to dry goods next. Thanks for the great reminder and info!

  9. 9
    Robin Wilson says:

    Because my husband and I will both go to the grocery store, after a while the pantry turns into a food jungle. I have it on my to-do list and I will sure use your suggestions.

  10. 10

    We use these little risers from Ikea for items in the back of the pantry so that we can see them. You know how it goes if you can’t see something-“out of sight, out of mind!”

  11. 11
    rochelle haynes says:

    Nice review need to try this

  12. 12

    I would like to be more organized in my pantry. I wish I had a full day to really get everything neat and orderly like this. I will do the goal of using up a few items a week.

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