Lets face it, we often keep our kitchen well stocked only to find that there are some things that don’t get used. Eventually those things get tossed out because they expire. So instead of letting things accumulate in your pantry, set aside a couple days or a week to work on using up some of those foods.
There are so many benefits to pantry clean out week:
~ save money by not going grocery shopping or by only buying a few ingredients as needed to put together a meal
~ reduce waste by not letting foods expire
~ use up products taking up space
~ clean out your pantry because you are moving / going on vacation / spring cleaning
Here are some tips to get started.
Check expiration dates
The first thing you can do that is quick and easy is to go through expiration dates. This is even something the kids can help with. If something is just newly expired, you can decide if you want to toss it or use it immediately. I am not recommending keeping food past expiration; however if you have a glass jar of olives that is a few days past expiration, I don’t think a few days will make a difference.
Toss and Donate
Decide what foods have gone bad, and toss those. Also, be realistic! If you bought foods that you don’t want, and you can afford to donate them, set them aside for your local food pantry. If you are having doubts that anyone in the household is going to eat an item, donate it. Better to clean out and help those who can use it.
Get your pantry organized. By putting like things together, it gives you a better idea of what you have and where to find it. Plus, if you’re going to use up pantry items, it helps to know what quantities you have for ingredients. For example, if you have a lot of crushed tomatoes, you could make a certain dish in bulk and freeze your leftovers.
Pull out foods to use soon
Prioritize what foods you want to use from your pantry first. My recommendation is to go with the foods that are closest to their expiration. Set things aside so you are ready to use them.
Come up with recipes
Let’s say you have a couple cans of artichokes that are about to expire. Do your research and come up with some recipes to use up the artichokes. This also might mean adding something else to your shopping list, like linguine – or perhaps also pulling that out of the pantry. The goal is to use up a bunch of ingredients, prioritizing the ingredients that are expiring first. Try to minimize adding things to the grocery list, and I try to only buy fresh produce when I am cleaning out the pantry so that we are keeping things healthy.
You can also do a freezer clean out week and a kitchen pantry clean out week!
Some additional strategies
~ see how long you can go with cleaning out the pantry. Try to empty out as much as possible!
~ try making some bulk meals, create freezer meals, etc.
~ no eating out
~ try some new recipes and get creative
About the Author: Marysa
Busy blogger and mom of two girls! We love traveling and the great outdoors, and are always looking for our next adventure!
My husband actually told me this week he’s about to overhaul our poorly neglected pantry! This article couldn’t have come at a better time!
My pantry is a disaster! I need to do a complete overhaul.
I love to have a good clear out, and as a food blogger it sometimes helps inspire me to use up ingredients that I’ve been neglecting!
You inspired me to do a clean out this weekend.
I did a pantry clear out last week to reorganise things and throw away bits that were out of date and it’s crazy how much stuff was in there x
It helps to do a clear out every few months or so to keep on top of it. I am preparing to donate a bag of items I don’t really need to a local food bank.
This is an activity I really need to do. Thanks for the tips!.
Oh my goodness I so need to do this! Been putting it off for ages. Thanks for the nudge!
I’d love to try some new recipes and get a little bit more creative with food.
My pantry is such a mess right now. Thanks for the inspiration
High time I did my pantry clear. Your post is such an inspiration for me.
OH MY GOSH!!! Last year I had enough of our pantry. Even though you don’t see it (behind a closed door) every time I would open it up… my anxiety went up. I am so glad I did a rehaul. But I never even thought to check the expiration dates. I should actually do this now.
This is such an inspiration for me to clean up my pantry. I am going to check first their expiration date then segregate those products that are near expiry make a new recipe from that, and share it with your neighbor or friends or to those people who are in need.
Yes! Cleaning out the pantry, fridge, and freezer is a favorite in our house. Saves so much time and money.
Great tips! We always on regular check with everything and put together the ones that still can be used. Thank you for sharing!
Thanks for these tips and the reminder. I normally clean out my pantry every few weeks and it actually overdue now since the last clean out. I will now be able to do a more organized clean out because of this post
Such a good reminder for me. I need to do this soon.
We have open shelves in the kitchen so I can see all the time what we have and I only buy something when it has run out completely – it helps to keep things a lot more organised.
I need to do some tossing and donating. I really need to get my pantry in order!
This made me think about how I need to give my pantry a cleaning too. I haven’t organized it since we moved into our home a year ago.
I do this once a month! It’s amazing all the stuff that is no longer good and is easy to get out!
I hear you girl! Recently, mummy and I were emptying out the kitchen and guess what? We found very important items that were gifted to her on her 67th birthday and couldn’t easily trace them! They were so hidden away with some other items that had gone bad for a while. It was such a relieving and saddening feeling!
We really need to go through our pantry again! It’s been a while. It’s amazing how much stuff piles up in there and we forget about things if we don’t keep on top of it. We like to take everything out, clean, go through everything and reorganize the pantry.
My pantry is in a mess! Your post reminded me I need to do a complete overhaul.
I love all these tips. I try to keep up with it but with kids snacking and whatnot I’m never sure of what I have. I’ll have to go through soon.