5 Steps to Holiday-Ready Pantry
As most of us know all too well, the holidays are busy. There never seems to be enough hours in the day for everything you want and need to do.
While purchasing gifts is often the go-to task for early holiday planners, we recommend a much simpler option that doesn’t even require you to leave your home – clean out the pantry.
Quite often, we only notice our pantries when they appear a bit bare. If we open the cupboard and see a full stock, we take what we need and pay no mind. When it’s a little thin, we restock. The tendency is to use and replenish the first two rows of cans and jars in your pantry while the third row and beyond tends to sitﾅindefinitely.
If this sounds like your pantry, consider doing some pre-winter cleaning before the holidays are in full swing. Set aside an hour, pull everything out of your pantry and do the following:
1. Check expiration dates. If you encounter food that has expired, dispose of the contents and recycle the can or jar. You may also find items that you bought with great intentions but never got around to using. Make an honest assessment. If you can see yourself using the food item or ingredient, then keep it. If you’re not sure, donate it to a local food bank before it expires.
2. Take stock of your gadgets. If you’re feeling ambitious, you may consider going through your utensil drawers to take stock of what you use and what’s just taking up space. Donate extra spatulas, ladles, potato ricers, coffee grinders or other accessories that you no longer need.
3. Dust off your wine bottles. If you expect to serve wine at your holiday gatherings or plan to bring bottles as hostess gifts, take stock of the bottles you have in the pantry and aim to make use of them.
4. Wipe down your shelves. Once you’ve pared your stock down to usable items, wipe the shelves and restock, grouping things in a usable fashion. You can organize like items together or by entree, side dish or appetizer. If it’s possible, don’t fill the pantry to the maximum capacity to keep clutter and forgotten items at bay.
5. Give your pantry a full-on makeover. If, after doing your inventory, you’re just not satisfied with the functionality of your pantry, consider making a bigger change to create the storage you need.