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5 Quick tricks for cleaning the pantry

Whitney Coy is a freelance writer and editor based in Columbus, OH, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She writes frequently for SheKnows, as well as several other websites. She writes on topics including parenting, pets...

Pamper your pantry

A pantry is a great space for storing kitchen must-haves. It’s also a mecca for clutter, dirt and expired food. Clean it out now with these five tips to make the job less of a pain.
Pamper your pantry

Cleaning out your pantry might seem like a huge chore, but it’s really not that bad (we promise!). Use these tips to get the job done quickly and easily. You’ll love the results!


Empty it out

You’re never going to get that pantry clean when all the shelves are full of cans and boxes. The first thing you need to do is clean it out. Empty everything (yes, we mean everything) out of pantry and set it all out on your kitchen counters or floor.



It’s easiest to purge while you’re emptying your pantry. Nothing you won’t use should make it on to your kitchen counter. Instead, put those items in one of these two places:

  • Trash — Drag your trashcan over to where you’re working and start trashing anything that’s expired. Depending on how long it’s been since the last time you’ve done this, that might be a lot!
  • Donate — There’s no need to throw out good food, but there’s no reason to keep it if you won’t use it. Grab a sturdy box and fill it with anything unexpired you know you won’t use or anything you have too much of. Your local food pantry will gladly take those extras off your hands.


Now that those shelves are gloriously empty, let’s get them sparkling clean. You don’t want to use any harsh chemicals because this where you store your food. Instead, fill a bowl or small bucket with warm water and a drop or two of dish soap and use that solution to scrub your pantry clean. Use the handheld extension in your vacuum to make sure the floor and all corners are clear of dirt and crumbs.



Now that your pantry is clean, you’re ready to load it back up. But don’t just throw everything in wherever it will fit — there must be a method to your madness! Put items you use every day, like cereals and breads, at eye level, where they’re easy to see and reach.

Group like items together, so canned fruits and veggies, soups and snacks all have their place. Afraid you won’t be able to keep that up? Use a label maker to clearly define everything’s new home.


Utilize bins

Small items like seasoning packets and tiny jars tend to get lost in a big pantry. Use baskets and bins to ensure these tiny items all stay together and within reach.

More on cleaning

7 Quickie cleaning tips
5 Places to disinfect daily
Create a weekly cleaning plan

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