Happy New Year – Part 2! Take your decluttering party to your pantry.
This is the second installment of a four-part mini series.
This should be easy, yet I’m always amazed at how many times I have moved a can of tomatoes, bag of pasta, quarter box of cereal, or old olive oil to the pantry of a new home.
Check your canned goods. If they have expired, toss them. Oils will spoil, especially nut oils, so if you have walnut oil in your pantry from that special recipe two years ago, chances are it’s rancid. If so, toss it. Fancy vinegar breaks down, taste it and if it’s off, toss it. That bag of chips you got for nachos two months ago is probably stale. That box of crackers you never ate has expired, toss them. If you got a special flour or grain for a recipe you meant to make and never did and it’s two years old (I’m guilty of this), toss it.
If your pantry serves as a catch all for where to put things you don’t have another place for (pots, pans, kitchen equipment, etc.), take an honest look at what you really use. Keep that and part with the rest. Start with your top shelf and work your way down. Chances are what you have there are things you don’t use: the 10-year-old bread maker, the extra stock pots, the wine cooler someone gave you that is still in the box. Cull through your cook books and cooking magazines. Keep your favorites and what you use, gift or donate what you don’t.
Group like things together: canned goods, paper goods, baking goods, oils, vinegars, crackers, cereals, pastas. Organize items so you can see them. Put the things you use most where you see them and can reach them easily.
Creating order and getting organized is fun. You may find yourself more excited about your kitchen. Or at least your pantry.