Guide to Spring-Cleaning Your Pantry

If you’re on a cleaning spree throughout your home, don’t stop before your kitchen and pantry. These spaces could use some freshening up as well. Follow these steps to take stock of the space, then clean and organize it.

Step 1: Clean it out

Dusty packages and sticky shelves won’t do you any favors. Remove everything from your shelves, then clean inside the cupboards.

Tip: If you’ve got a big space, try doing a shelf a day.

Then, wipe down the packaging of products as well. Pay extra care if items are sticky or greasy, like oils, honey and syrup.

Step 2: Keep what’s good — throw out the rest

As you clean bottles, cans and other pantry items, take a look at the expiration date. Trash any expired items. Not sure if a product should be in the keep pile, or tossed? Take advantage of the FDA’s Foodkeeper App to look up products.

Step 3: Reorganize as you return items to shelves

Make sure frequent use items are easy to reach. Place like with like — all your vinegars, for instance, should be together. Same goes for nuts and seeds. Having them scattered throughout shelves makes it hard to find items, and can result in you unnecessarily purchasing more.

Tip: Make sure to place items that’ll expire soon in front of one with a later expiration date, per the Penn State Extension.

Spice holders and lazy susans can make it easier to keep your shelves and pantry organized.

Step 4: Restock your shelves

Most likely, all these efforts have left you with more space in your cabinets or pantry. Take advantage by stocking up — try a new ingredient or think about what dishes and juices you like to make during the warmer months, then make sure you have everything on hand to make them.