Spring Cleaning in the Pantry

Truth be told, I hate to clean. My father had a theory that if you didn’t move anything, you couldn’t see the dust. I don’t think that’s exactly true, unless you live in the dark, but it always gave us a good laugh. I’ll take 20 loads of dirty laundry over cleaning any day. But when spring rolls around, one thing I like to do is get a little more organized in the kitchen. You’ll find a plethora of tips all over the internet about reorganizing your life, most I think are common sense and the rest, unrealistic. Seriously, who has the time? Your kitchen is a fairly easy challenge.

My husband thinks my favorite thing to do is throw away food. This is far from the truth, but I do enjoy ransacking through the pantry, ridding it of all the expired crackers and ice cream sprinkles. There’s something so satisfying about getting a little fanatical about reorganizing your non-perishables. This year I focused on my spices, grains, rice and loose snacks. It did require a small investment at the housewares store for all these fabulous OXO air-tight storage containers, but it was well worth it.

A few months ago I discovered a small bulk food store, The Larderin Doylestown, PA. They carry everything from dried fruits and nuts, to rice, lentils and beans. They have an amazing selection of spices, which is what brought me to their door. I’ve been dabbling in a little Indian cooking, and the obscure spices required to make many of the recipes were nowhere to be found in my regular grocery store. The Larder’s pricing is fantastic! A visit to The Larder is what sparked my reorganizing. Here’s how it all turned out. I’ve included a few resources and tips to getting more organized – hopefully you will find this to be a helpful motivator for you to clean out your pantry, too.

AIRTIGHT CONTAINERS FOR PANTRY NON-PERISHABLES

  • These containers are perfect for rice, lentils, cookies, couscous, crackers, cookies, etc. They come in various sizes and their tops simply pop off with the press of the top button. When closed they are air-tight and really help to keep things fresh.
  • One of my favorite things to store is chocolate chips, which I buy from The Larder in bulk. I’m a traditionalist when it comes to chocolate chip cookies. I still make the recipe on the back of the Nestle Toll House bag. I cut the recipe off the back of the bag and keep it in the container. Brilliant!

  • If you want to get super cool and fancy, check out the kitchen containers at Alessi.com. They are beautiful, unique and expensive, but it’s still fun to look.

STORING SPICES

Get out your P-Touch! My anal retentiveness was in full swing with this one. I found these little air-tight spice jars which fit perfectly in my spice cabinet. I highly recommend scouting around where you live for a store like The Larder. If you like to cook, you can save a serious amount of money purchasing your spices in bulk.

  • These jars came in a set of 4 for $4.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond, they seem to only be available in stores. You can find spice jars in many shapes and sizes at your local housewares store or online. Just make sure they are air-tight, so your spices stay fresh. It’s always best to keep them in a dark place and out of direct sunlight.


Check out this article from Real Simple about purging your pantry. They provide some nice tips. I guess since I got all Martha last month, I might as well stay with that theme. Martha’s website has a great slide show of ideas for organizing everything in your kitchen (big surprise). My only question is, how many cats does she have? See the slide show. Once again Martha has made me feel inadequate. Her labels are so much fancier than mine. Will I ever meet up to her expectations? I just don’t think so.

Good luck with your kitchen organizing and happy spring!

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