The Decluttering Project : In the Pantry

Would your family eat the food item buried the absolute furthest and deepest in your pantry?

I think today is the day to find out!  Today’s the day for decluttering your pantry.  Three cheers if the item in the back of your pantry is chocolate!  But if it’s not chocolate, well it’s time to roll up your sleeves.  I’m taking The Decluttering Project into the pantry.

Our pantries reflect so much about our families and our lives, making it a tricky place to offer step-by-step tips.

When we emailed everyone back in the United States pictures of our newly remodeled kitchen, I’ll never forget what one family friend said when we first saw him.

“Those pictures were great, Martin and Katie!  Did you guys all see their kitchen?”  Everyone starts nodding and congratulating us.  “But the thing I don’t understand,” he said, “was all that stuff in your fridge and your drawer for food.  I mean, what was all of that?”

“Oh!” Martin said.  He was so proud of our kitchen.  “It’s all pretty much the same as the food in the US.  The food just comes in smaller packages with less packaging.”

The man held his glass in his hand and tipped his head to the left slightly.  “That was NOT food,” he clearly stated.

Everyone started to laugh.  We were all about to head out to a restaurant (a steak place of all things!), and everyone knew Martin and I preferred tofu, vegetables, and well, I guess foods that aren’t traditionally landing in a steak and potato lover’s pantry.

In fact, the item in the back of our pantry as I cleaned it out last night was… lentils.  And they weren’t back there because we were ignoring them.  We just have a teensy pantry.

When you clean out your pantry, ask yourself:  is my family going to eat this?  When?

**If the answer is no, please don’t keep that food item in your pantry until it expires and you have to throw it away.  Do two things with the foods you don’t want to keep:

1.  Donate unopened items to the food bank, soup kitchen, or local churches.

2.  Donate opened items to the rescue mission. My hometown rescue mission gladly takes opened dried goods as long as they are not expired.  When college football games are over, concession stands often donate all of the unsold hotdogs and perishables to the rescue mission.  They love leftover wedding cake.  (A whole crew of us did, too… that’s why my mom quickly donated it before we ate every last bite.  Good move!)

**As you work on your pantry decluttering, make sure you wipe out the drawers and shelves as you go, too!  Get rid of the stuff that doesn’t belong there.  Pull out organizing tools you don’t use.

My favorite organizing tools are old jars.  I write the contents on the lids when our food is stored in drawers like here in Berlin.  Otherwise I can easily see the contents through the glass in a normal shelf-based pantry.

Tall and narrow glass jars (the one you see on the bottom drawer is from IKEA) also really help make an efficient and easy-to-access pantry.

So what do you say?  Are you ready to go tackle the pantry?  What’s the craziest thing you think you’ll find?

If you have time over the weekend, add the fridge and freezer to your list.  Keep in mind what your family actually eats, and have fun.  “Fun” being a relative term unless – AHH!  We did have a chocolate in ours.  Lentil salad + chocolate santa = dinner?

And while we’re at it, how did you do in the kitchen?