The pantry task (from the organization challenge) was one of my favorites. Probably because it’s the room of the house I spend the most time in. Only half kidding.
Two years ago I did a complete pantry overhaul, so I’m glad to see things hadn’t gotten that bad again, but the time had come for a good clean out and reorganization.
The space was cluttered and I knew there were items in there that needed to be tossed due to expiration. It was becoming difficult to find and keep track of items I needed, which lead to me owning 3 bottles of Garam Masala, a spice I rarely use!
I got to work by pulling everything out of the pantry and tossing items that had expired. I hate to admit I had to throw away an entire trash bag full. I thought about donating, but the items were well beyond their expiration date and I figured that wouldn’t do anyone any good. I felt so wasteful and vowed to keep better track of my inventory.
Hailey helped with this project and loved to remove items from the pantry and use them to stock her kitchen. By the way, empty spice jars were a huge hit! They weren’t washed out, so they still smelled like the original contents. Hailey had a blast sniffing and telling me whether it was cinnamon or ‘spicy’ (curry powder).
While I reloaded the pantry, I kept notes of what I needed to buy in order to have a well stocked pantry for my cooking style. It made me evaluate items I use regularly and decide how much I should keep on hand. I took a trip to the store afterwards and restocked my pantry for $75. With as much as I bought, I thought the price was fair. Buying bulk items made a BIG difference. Finally, the project was complete.
Let’s take a closer look!
Dried Grains (oats, brown rice, quinoa, barley)
Oils (olive oil and coconut)
Salt (fine and kosher)
Dried Beans (Whatever you use most, Lentils, Pasta)
Flour (Bread, White, Wheat, Almond, Coconut)
Sugar (Honey, Maple Syrup, Stevia)
Health Boosters (Chia, Flax, Hemp)
Quick Go-To Meal Bases (Mac ‘n Cheese)
Tomato Products (Tomato Sauce, Diced Tomatoes, Tomato Pasta, Marinara, Salsa)
Nut Butters (Peanut, Almond, Coconut)
Canned Fish (Tuna, Salmon, Sardines)
Snacks (Almonds, Raisins)
What goes into a healthy pantry obviously differs by what kind of healthy eating works for you. Vegetarians wouldn’t need tuna fish and paleo eaters wouldn’t keep flour and sugar on hand. Since I eat everything, with a focus on whole foods, this pantry is ideal for me and my family.
What pantry staples do you find yourself using most often?
For me, it’s tomato products, especially in winter! I use them in sauces, soups and chilis, which we eat quite often right now.