Spring is in full bloom, and in the spirit of keeping things Clean AF, we’ve cleared some space in our busy schedules for a much-needed Spring Cleaning! We began by organizing our pantry cabinet and fridge, to rid of the old and make room for all the #CleanAFCertified goods we are finding in the market. We were so happy with the results of our little “makeover” that we decided to share it with you, in hopes of inspiring you to do the same! Plus, we managed to gather some really excellent tips throughout the process that are too good not to share.
Here are some of our favorite tips for creating a clean, zen, organized space to store your food.
1. Begin by clearing out. Whether you believe “sparking joy” or not, it’s hard to deny that Marie Kondo’s basic principles for tidying up are solid AF. When tidying any space, Kondo recommends gathering all the items into one place first, and then sorting them. We have found this method to be especially helpful when cleaning out food items - you’ll be surprised what lurks behind those boxes of crackers and pasta! Once all the items have been cleared, be sure to give each shelf a good wipe-down.
2. Identify, sort, and discard. After emptying the entire contents of the storage space on to the kitchen counter, it’s time to sort. We identified three groups: expired/spoiled items, items that no one would realistically eat, and items to keep. We discarded the items in the first group (taking care to clean and recycle cans and jars), and donated any shelf-stable and non-expired items in the second group to our local food bank. Then, we took stock of what was left, and considered what kind of storage solutions would best fit our needs.
3. Consider function AND beauty. Opening your pantry each day should be an enjoyable experience, not a stressful one. By choosing a few well-made, beautiful containers, you can create a sense of calm and cohesiveness in your storage space. Also, consider upgrading to clear jars or containers for holding grains, nuts, and other bulk items. These can eliminate the need for loose bags or excess boxes in clashing colors, and they make it easy to see what items you are running low on at a glance.
4. Pay attention to your family’s pantry and fridge habits. Do your family members forget about fruits and veggies when they’re tucked away in the crisper drawer, too? By storing washed, ready-to-eat healthy snacks in clear glass containers at eye level, hungry big or little grazers can easily see what healthy treats are available and are more likely to reach for them.
5. Think sustainable. It’s more crucial than ever to consider environmental impact when making any kind of purchase - this counts for food storage items, too! Rather than settling for the easy-to-find plastic items, we put in a little extra effort to find items made of durable glass, sustainable bamboo, and recycled materials. Don’t get us wrong - we’ll be hanging on to our plastic storage containers that are in good condition, as they still can’t be beat in terms of portability. But as we replace them over time, we’ll be favoring glass and silicone containers. We love IKEA’s Korken jars, made from 40% recycled glass, as well as their 365+ storage containers with sustainable bamboo lids. Instead of plastic zipper bags, we also love the durable and reusable silicone Stasher bags. And to help make sense of our many spice jars, we chose this beautiful and durable organic bamboo spice rack from Amazon (just remember to choose “no rush shipping” upon checkout to help alleviate unnecessary delivery trips).
6. Finally, measure before you shop. Before choosing storage containers, be sure to double check the width and depth of your storage spaces - you’d be surprised how easy this is to misjudge! (Guilty.)
And, voilá, the final result (and please, no judgement for our "before" photos)...
So, we want to know... does your pantry look like a before or an after? Let us know your favorite tips for keeping a tidy pantry in the comments below!