Cleaning your pantry and keeping it organised

Pantries and storage places come in various sizes and styles. Regular cleaning is important if you have a proper pantry in your house or simply a cupboard with a few shelves you use for storing items. A clean and well-organised pantry space will ensure that no inspects will be found around your food. It will also make searching for certain things easier. The best part, however, is that you will know when your foods are about to expire and make sure you use them before that date so you reduce waste and enjoy the most of your stash.

Depending on the size of your pantry or storage space, the cleaning time may vary. Even though it may take a while, it is generally not a complicated task. With a number of common products you already have at home and a few simple steps, you will be able to get everything in order.
Ideally, you should clean and reorganise your pantry space about 4 times a year (once every season). That is especially important if you make your own produce and store seasonal goods. While a deep cleaning twice a year will also suffice, there are things that should be done more often. Wiping away spills and marks left from any liquids should happen as soon as possible. Do not allow any food residue to sit around for too long (especially sugary products) since they will attract insects and other pests.

Here is how to easily clean your pantry/storage space without spending too much time or effort

  1. Remove all items from the shelves – Empty all your shelves or cupboards. You can place them on a table nearby, bring them into the kitchen, or use cardboard boxes to temporarily store them while cleaning the rest of the space. If your pantry lacks organisation, place all similar items together as you are removing them.
  2. Clean the storage space – Begin cleaning the shelves starting at the top one. Grab a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment or a brush to get rid of crumbs, dust, and other particles. Do not forget to get rid of cobwebs as well.
  3. Mix a cleaning solution – In a small tub or bucket, combine a spoonful of an all-purpose cleanser with some warm water. Wring out a microfiber towel after dipping it in the solution to prevent drips. Wipe down all of the shelves and the walls of the pantry starting at the top. Don’t forget about the floor!
  4. If there is mould or mildew growth in the pantry, use a disinfectant to get rid of it. Make sure you allow everything to completely dry before placing back your items.

  5. Sort and clean your items – As you begin putting all items back in your pantry, make sure you need all of them. Make a separate box for things you don’t need and donate them. Check all jars, cans, and boxes, Make a note of the expiration date. If any food items are expired, toss them away. Place things that are close to their expiration date in the front of the shelf so that you use them first. Do not place back any stale, opened, or messy packages.
  6. Mix another batch of cleaning solution, grab a sponge and carefully wipe down all packages. Remove dust, spills, and other grime. Once you wipe them well, begin organising them on the shelves.

Here are some tips on how to easily do that:

  • Keep cereals, flour, and other things you use on a daily basis in the front or in an easy-to-reach place.
  • Use baskets or boxes to store small items or snacks (juice boxes, snack packages, etc.). Label the box to make things easier.
  • Store similar items together. Have a shelf for baking goods, a different one for cans only, etc.
  • For products that stay in open packages (flour for example), use jars or other sealable containers. Pour them in and throw away the original package.
  • Always place the foods with nearby expiration dates in the front so that you use them first, Products with longer expiration dates can sit at the back.
  • Attach small shelves in the sides to keep small items like spices and other seasonings.

Extra tips on how to maintain your pantry in its best condition:

  • Keep a list of all the items that you have in your pantry (you can add their expiration date as well). Do not forget to update it every time you add or remove something. You can keep it in a kitchen drawer or stick it to your pantry door.
  • Add extra shelves, boxes, and other containers to add more storage space.
  • Regularly remove commercial packaging of open foods to save space and be more sustainable. If you use large containers for products like flour, cornflakes, etc. consider purchasing zero-waste products that you fill directly in your containers.