It’s easy to let your pantry become cluttered and unorganized. It’s a catch-all place for food, extra kitchen appliances, utensils, cookware, and anything else you can find a spot for. When your pantry is crammed full to the brim, it becomes challenging to keep up with what you have in stock.
An unorganized pantry can serve as an invitation to unwanted crawlers and critters. Ants, flies, gnats, beetles, and moths are “pantry pests”, known to make homes and nests in food stored in your pantry if left untouched for too long. It’s important to keep your pantry clean, neat, and organized so you know what you have and that nothing in your home has gone bad.
Check out Green Sweep‘s __ easy steps to a clean and organized pantry:
Step 1: Remove EVERYTHING From The Pantry
Before you get started, clear a large space near your pantry. This will give you an area to create organized piles while you’re removing items from your pantry and will save you time on sorting and organization later.
Sort the items in your pantry into 5 categories:
- Items That Have Expired: As you are removing items from your pantry, check the labels for expiration dates. Any items that are past their expiration date, use date, or sell by date, place into a pile to be discarded or recycled. If you have a compost pile at your home, expired food items can be used as a powerful fertilizer.
- Items That Are Unlikely To Be Used: Items in your pantry that are still within their use dates but you’re unlikely to use should be placed into a second pile. You can take these items to your local food bank to be donated to those in need.
- Items That Are Only Used Seasonally: Items like cookie cutters, seasonal spices, and certain cooking or baking tools, and other items that are only used for a portion of the year should be placed into a third pile.
- Items That Are Used Often: Grab-and-go snacks and pantry staples that are used regularly and frequently in your household should be placed into a fourth pile. While you’re sorting these items, see if there are any multiple items you can combine into one container, saving you space.
- Items That Are Heavy/Bulky: If you shop in bulk, chances are you have a few large boxes in your pantry. Items in your pantry that are larger and bulkier than most should be placed into a fifth pile.
Step 2: Clean The Pantry
Now that your pantry is completely empty, you’re likely finding dust, cobwebs, dirt, spills, and who knows what else leftover on your shelves. Use the following guidelines to ensure your pantry is as clean and sanitized as possible before loading your items back onto the shelves.
All you’ll need to clean your pantry like a professional is a broom, duster, or vacuum, a bucket filled with water and dish soap, and a couple of microfiber cloths. Clean your pantry from the top down to avoid knocking dust or dirt onto areas you’ve already cleaned.
- Clean The Ceiling: First, use a duster or broom to knock down any dust and cobwebs attached to the ceiling of your pantry. If your vacuum cleaner has a long nozzle attachment, you can use that as well.
- Clean The Walls: Use your duster or a small broom to sweep the walls free from dust. Then, using a clean microfiber cloth, apply the water and dish soap solution to the walls in gentle circular motions. You don’t want your microfiber cloth to be sopping wet, it could damage your paint or wallpaper. Once you’ve cleaned the area, dry the area with a dry microfiber cloth.
- Clean The Shelves: Using your duster, broom, or dust attachment brush on a vacuum cleaner, slowly clean all of the shelves in your pantry from the top down. Make sure to remove all dust, dirt, and debris from each shelf. If there are sticky messes on your pantry shelves, try sprinkling a small amount of baking soda to absorb the mess. Afterward, wipe each shelf in your pantry down with a warm, wet & soapy microfiber cloth. Dry each shelf with a dry cloth once you’re finished.
- Clean The Floor: Sweep or vacuum the floor of your pantry last to pick up any of the dirt, dust, or debris you may have knocked down while cleaning the other parts of your pantry.
Step 3: Restock The Pantry
Here is where the piles you created earlier will come in handy. For maximum efficiency and organization in your pantry, store your items by how often they are used and sort by function. Keep like items together, and keep your lesser-used items, like your seasonal items, near the top of the pantry. Try to pull your older items that should be used first to the front, and store your newer items toward the back.
Keep the pantry items you use most often, like grab-and-go snacks and other staples in your home, near eye level in your pantry. This makes these pantry favorites easy to locate and easy to grab. If you’ve got children in your home, consider utilizing two shelves for frequent use items – one at eye height for adults with all of your favorites, and one at children’s eye level with all of theirs.
Lower shelves are perfect for canned goods and pantry items with a long shelf life. These items are stored in a way that is accessible and organized but doesn’t take up valuable space on the higher shelves in your pantry. Heavy and bulky items should be stored low to the ground or on the floor to avoid the potential of them falling breaking or injuring someone.
Tips For The Perfect Pantry
When you’re dealing with a small or very full pantry, every inch counts. Utilize clear stackable bins or containers with lids to take advantage of vertical space while also allowing you to easily see everything you have at a glance. Replacing paper packaging with plastic reusable packaging is a great way to keep your pantry clean, organized, and looking uniform.
Organize in a way that can be easily understood by other members of your family. If you set up a system so that everyone knows where things should go, it will keep your pantry looking cleaner and more organized for much longer than if you’re the only one in charge of keeping it that way.
If you have a door on your pantry, don’t underestimate the amount of additional space an over-the-door organizer could offer you. There are tons of different styles available made specifically for pantries and food items, so find one that best fits your needs. Usually, over-the-door pantry organizers are great places for storing canned goods, quick-grab snacks, spices, jars, and so much more.
Keeping your pantry neat, clean, and organized can be a lot of work! If you’re feeling overwhelmed, Greensweep can help. Give us a call today and we’ll handle the house cleaning chores for you, giving you so much more free time to focus your energy on the things you truly enjoy.