A Fresh Start in the Kitchen's featured image

Now is the perfect time to clean and reorganize the kitchen pantry and cupboards so foods are fresh and you can find everything when you need it. Here’s how:

1. Remove everything from each shelf you tackle.

2. Throw away whatever has gone bad, is past the expiry date, or donate items that simply won’t be used. Open the containers and empty them into your compost container if you have one, then wash out the containers and put them into the recycling bin.

3. If you find any rogue cleaning supplies in the pantry, put them into the cupboard with all the other cleaning supplies. You want to avoid cleaning supplies spilling in a food cupboard.

4. Scrub the shelves with some soapy water. Wipe them dry with a clean towel.

5. Adjust shelf heights if possible to accommodate goods of various sizes.

6. Arrange items so the oldest ones are at the front of your pantry shelves and the newer items are at the back.

7. Group dry foods by type. Here are example categories:

  • flours, rice, corn products, oats and other grains, pasta and noodles;
  • legumes, nuts and seeds, spices, sweeteners, coffee and teas;
  • oils, vinegars and other non-perishable condiments,
  • fruits and vegetables that do not require refrigeration;
  • packaged snacks and canned items.

8. Store the items most often accessed in your pantry on shelves at heights between your hips and shoulders. Store heavier items lower down and lighter items on higher shelves.

9. Keep reusable boxes, grocery bags and sacks and other non-food pantry items on the floor level shelf.

10. Put the waste container and small compost container under the kitchen sink.

11. Keep control of cookbook collections. For every new cookbook you get, pass on an old one to a friend or family member.

12. At least once a week, do an informal review of your refrigerator, freezer and pantry – to get rid of old foods and clean up spills.

Clean out the Junk Drawer: Grab a garbage can and a basket or other container. Throw away odd things such as incomplete decks of cards and unidentified keys that you’ve had for years. Use the basket for things that should be kept but stored elsewhere.