1. Take everything out of your pantry:
Remove all food from your pantry shelves, or wherever else you store dry goods, oils, and vinegar. Place everything on the counter or table.
2. Clean all food storage surfaces:
Get a clean washcloth or sponge and fill a sink or bucket with hot, soapy water. Wipe down the pantry or cupboard shelves. Remove any racks or drawers associated with these areas and wash them in the sink. Dry everything thoroughly with a paper towel or dishtowel.
3. Wipe off containers:
Before you replace your food storage containers, wipe off any accumulated grease or dust with a warm, soapy dishcloth. Dry with a paper towel.
4. Organize your pantry:
As you replace all your food items, take a little time to set up a good system of organization. Store items together, and label and date containers. Need some inspiration? Our editors and writers have gone through a few pantry makeovers of their own.
5. Take an “After” photo of your pantry:
Does your pantry now have rows of neatly labeled glass containers? Have a stellar spice storage setup? Feeling great about the state of your canned goods?
How Often Should I Clean Out My Pantry?
We don’t have a set frequency for cleaning out the pantry, but we do go through it at least twice yearly during the Kitchen Cure. We also try to institute a “cupboard challenge” week of meals about once a month where we try to cook with only what’s left in our cupboards. This is actually really fun, and often a great way to try new recipes and styles of cooking, too.