Food is meant to be eaten!
Day 12 of the Minimalist Home Challenge: The Pantry.
Pantries are great to keep unsightly food items off the kitchen counter or out of your cabinets, but they often collect multiples of food items, as well as food we don’t use. Since the food is out of sight, it is out of mind.
Pull everything out of your pantry. Yes even the items way in the back!
Look at “best before/expiry” dates for items and determine which items are worth tossing. If items are still before their best before date, but you’re not going to use them, collect these items to donate to your nearest Food Bank. Food Banks are always open to donations, but especially around the holidays. (If you’re able, consider donating money to your local Food Bank, as they have more buying power than the average consumer, almost 2:1 for some items!).
Once you’ve decided what to toss, what to donate, and what to keep, it’s time to put items back in your pantry. Try to keep no more of 2 of the same item (…I got rid of my Costco membership because I could never use up club packs in my small family of 2… but of course this is dependent on your situation!) This is also becoming more difficult as grocers/coupons are starting to put items on sale only when buying more than one…
Something we are doing to cut down on our grocery expense, waste less food, and simplify our shopping, is making a meal plan. We only buy what we need, and we use it! I’ll touch more on this in another post, including the pros and cons.
Store items that are used less often, or things like napkins, paper towel, trays, etc. in less accessible places (Top Shelf, Corner- If you need the precious space in the corner, try getting a “Lazy Susan” so that you can access the items and see what is there more easily). Keep a step stool nearby to reach these items when you need them!
Invest in some air tight containers to keep ingredients fresh, easy to determine when more needs to be purchased, and is more appealing to the eye. I love these ones.
My husband and I don’t have many of these as we eat mostly fresh food, with the exception of some beans and chickpeas. Try to put these on a lower shelf as they are usually heavier than other items. Arrange in rows and if possible, use a tiered organizer to keep all items in view.
Depending on your lifestyle, keep these items (such as breakfast foods) accessible or at eye level, so that when in a rush, it’s easy to grab breakfast on the go, and you aren’t tempted to stop for fast food. Alternatively, if you’re trying to eat less snacks, maybe the out of sight, out of mind method may be a better option.
Items that Spill:
Try storing items like vinegars and oils on a tray or spill proof mat. Easy to wipe clean should a spill occur.
Store these items in a cool dry place. I have mine (potatoes, onions, etc) in separate baskets similar to these.
What do you do to ensure your pantry isn’t just a storage space for food you never touch?
Do you find yourself wasting food? (in the back of the fridge perhaps?)