Is your pantry stuffed with foodstuffs? Is locating a fresh box of cereal harder than finding an octogenarian at a Justin Bieber concert? Are you afraid to reach for a granola bar in the dark depths of your pantry shelves?
If this sounds like you, let me give you my #1 piece of pantry simplifying advice:
Let go of food you can’t use.
There are two reasons you might not be able to use food.
Reason #1: It’s past its prime.
Food manufacturers must put a “use by”, “sell by” or “best by” date on all products. This doesn’t mean the food goes bad after this date, but that the quality goes down. You might argue, “Well then, I can still eat it!” Sure, go for it. But I must ask… if you’ve kept that can of corn so long that it has passed peak freshness, are you really going to eat it?
Reason #2: No one in your house cares to eat it.
Let me give you an example. Josh and I once went to an event that served this amazing shrimp and grits appetizer. We came home determined to recreate the magic and purchased our first-ever box of grits. After one attempt, that box sat in our pantry, unloved, until I finally accepted the scientifically-proven fact that people born north of the Mason-Dixon line don’t know how to make grits. The lesson? If you’re hanging on to food that no one in your family cares to eat, let it go.
Donate to a food pantry, if you can. Some pantries will accept food that is slightly past it’s “best by” date, so just ask. None will accept open food, so compost if you can, and trash as a last resort.
And hey, if you have an amazing recipe for shrimp and grits, please send it my way. We Yankees need serious help in the soul food department.
Remember, this week’s tip will bring you one step closer to less stuff and more peace of mind. Cheers to that!
To your peace of mind,
PS Wanna know ALL my tips for minimizing and organizing your pantry? Check out my Kitchen Clutter, Solved! minicourse. It will have your entire kitchen looking clutter-free and fabulous, and you feeling pretty darn good, too. 😉
PPS I’d love to hear about your pantry success story! So…