Have you ever…
- visited the grocery store only to come home and find a jar of the item you just purchased?
- reached for a box to find it ripped and the contents stale?
- grown frustrated with the piles of provisions tumbling from your pantry and decided that it is just easier to order takeout?
Yes? Then you and I would get along fabulously. I would much rather just toss everything into the pantry and pray to God that it sticks, closing the door quickly to avoid spills across the floor. However, my lack of organizational fortitude has consequences.
An unorganized, dirty pantry can cause a chain reaction of problems which could end in a fatal situation… the death of my grocery budget.
So, every six months… whether I want to or not… I take 90 minutes to clean, organize, and restock my pantry. My reward? These eight simple steps save our family a mound of money.
First, clean out the pantry.
1. Take every single, tiny thing out of the pantry. Stack the food on counters or a table. Get it out of the way.
2. Wipe down the walls and shelves of the pantry, removing any torn or stained shelf liner (if you use it).
3. Vacuum and disinfect the floor to deter bugs and/or rodents from being attracted to the food storage.
4. Fill any holes with caulk or dry wall putty to be certain that pests cannot gain easy access to the pantry.
5. Replace the shelf liner to help avoid permanent stains. (If you do not want to splurge for shelf paper, newspaper or gift wrap can work just as well.)
Then, organize the stockpile.
6. Look for stains on items, removing any sticky residue to avoid ants.
7. Check the expiration dates as foods are placed back into the pantry, discarding any expired items and making a note of items which are approaching their peak.
8. Sort the food by categories as they go back to the shelf: breakfast items, beverage mixes, canned fruit/vegetables/meat, spices, baking goods, etc.
More pantry organizing tips:
- Turn items so that the labels can be seen easily.
- Place foods that might create a sticky mess on a cookie sheet or plastic lid for easy clean up.
- Put heavier items on the bottom to avoid a potential injury.
- Place small mixes in a container to avoid losing items behind a shelf or box. (I like to use empty baby wipes containers.)
- Place any foods packaged in paper bags or cardboard boxes into clear, air-tight storage containers to avoid contamination by pests.
- Keep a sharpie handy for marking the date of purchase or to circle the expiration date making it easier to spot.
Finally, find savings in the grocery budget.
When my pantry is clean and organized, I can see what I have and what I need, avoiding unnecessary trips to the grocery store. My frustration level is lower and we eat out less. I also tend to use up items before they expire, avoiding food waste.
But, the most important feature of a tidy, well-stocked pantry is…
By putting my pantry in order, I create more space to stockpile the items my family uses the most. I can easily determine which items are running low and watch the sales to buy those necessities when they reach a rock-bottom price instead of paying the full value.
Tabitha Philen, known as “Penny” to her readers at www.MeetPenny.com, is a saved by grace wife to one terrific husband and homeschooling mother to 4 amazing children, ages 8 years old and under with the oldest having an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Tabitha recently released her first ebook, Advanced Penny Pinching, in which she shares very practical tips for cutting your grocery expenses with or without coupons.