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5 Steps To A Clean Pantry + Keep A Clean Home Free Printable


According to my “Keeping A Clean Home” Printable, I am due for a good seasonal pantry cleaning. It is perfect timing as the holidays are coming, so I need to see what I have and make room for the holiday cooking and baking items I need.

I will have people all up in my kitchen, opening cupboards and helping me prepare—talk about motivating! I love having a full kitchen during the holidays, but I don’t want to cringe when someone opens my pantry or cabinets! I know you feel me.

It will also be very helpful to know exactly what I have in my pantry when I am holiday menu planning, and really just meal planning in general. I get so frustrated when I buy an item just to come home and discover I already have it. Wasted time, space and money!

Speaking of money, having an organized pantry really does help save money. Not only will you buy fewer duplicates, but if you make sure all foods are in containers or airtight, they will last longer and you will have less waste. We definitely are better at eating up the food we already have when we can clearly see what is there, which keeps us from grabbing food on the go or wanting to order food in. All big-time money savers.

Last summer I made and shared with you this super helpful “Keeping a Clean Home” printable checklist. It divides tasks into Every Day, Once a Week, Once a Month, Once a Season, and Once a Year. This checklist allows me to focus in, know exactly where I am at and what needs to be done.

The chart is keeping me on track and I’m slowly working through it. I’m pretty good at the Daily, Weekly, & Monthly lists. It’s the Seasonal and Yearly lists that I really need to zero in on, which I have actually been doing! The list is on my refrigerator and I have about half of those Seasonal and Yearly items crossed off.

Would you like to print one out for yourself too?


Clean pantry canned goods

5 Steps To A Clean Pantry

1. Remove Everything From Your Pantry

This will allow you to see what you are working with, what needs to go and clear your pantry for a good clean wipe down. This step is always entertaining, as I find all kinds of items that I didn’t know I had! I get inspired and a bit giddy about all of the possibilities of fun food I can make with the treasures I find.

2. Sort and Toss

Go through the items, start putting ‘like’ items together, then toss, toss, toss! Say goodbye to old, expired items. Don’t be afraid to get rid of items you won’t use, even if they are not expired. Donate them if you don’t want to throw them out. Use a critical eye and don’t keep anything you won’t use.

This is a good time to get rid of spices that are older than a year and bulk items that you have no idea when they expire or when you purchased them.

drawer organization for a clean pantry

3. Categorize

Think “like with like.”  Use the way a grocery store organizes their food as a guide to organize yours. Decide if you want to create stations, like a baking station, breakfast station or snack station. I personally always have a nuts and seeds station and an ‘oatmeal toppings’ station, as these are foods I eat every day and it is convenient to have them all gathered together in a specific area.

paper towels to clean cans for a clean pantry

4. Clean

Cleaning will be a breeze with all your items out of the way. I used my DIY All-Purpose Lemon cleaner and paper towels from Viva to unleash clean in my pantry. I like using Viva Vantage because it has a scrubby texture like a terry-cloth, that is great for cleaning anything that is stuck on shelves and cabinets. They are so strong and durable that you can actually wring them out and reuse them several times! I used Viva Vantage to wipe the bottoms of my food containers and jars before placing them back in the pantry.


As you can see in the picture below, Viva not only sells textured Viva Vantage towels, but also  Viva towels which have a signature soft and smooth texture, almost like an undershirt material. They are amazingly absorbent and won’t leave any residue behind. I like to use these to dry my jars and dust the tops of cans. I also use these to dry my shelves completely before returning items.


DIY All-Purpose Lemon Cleaner

1/2 c white vinegar | juice of one lemon | 2 c water

Stir to combine. Put in spray bottle.


Use the dusting vacuum attachment to get all hard-to-reach crumbs from the corners and any that fell to the floor. Now is the time to be thorough, since this is a seasonal cleaning.

5. Return Items

This is the most fun and satisfying part. Put your organized, wiped and grouped items back. Keep beauty in mind as you are arranging them on the shelves. If you use storage containers, keep them similar in color. My favorite storage containers are mason jars. I love being able to see what is inside and they look so darn cute. I also have a few favorite containers to corral smaller items. Keep it simple, keep it beautiful, and label only if it is your ‘thing.’

clean pantry before and after

clean pantry before and after 2

Now your pantry is clean and ready for the holidays. Hopefully, you have created extra room to hold all of those holiday groceries and store holiday leftovers.

How often do you clean out your pantry?

Are you having holiday guests this year?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

HOME/ Organizing/ Simplifying

Organizing A Small Pantry


I have a very small kitchen with very little cupboards.  I am thankful that I have a pantry, even though it too, is very small.

I’ve learned some tricks over the years to keep it organized and functional.  I find organization in the kitchen is key to keeping me motivated in the kitchen, cooking for my family and feeding them healthy food.

Here are a few tips for keeping a small pantry organized:

1. Only buy what you need for the week — I don’t have the storage space for buying weeks at a time, and honestly I think it keeps life much more simple to buy what we need for the week and start fresh the next week. Obviously some food items last much longer than a week (like baking powder and cocoa) but there are other items that I just don’t need 10 bags or boxes  at a time (pasta, cereal, etc.)

2. Keep like with like–always store like items with like items.  I keep all  my nuts together in a brown wooden box.  We have a bin for pasta/rice/grains and a bin for snacks.  I have a basket for all my tea items. Keeping tea in a cute basket motivates me to drink it more often.  Cereal and oatmeal stay together, as they are both breakfast items.

3. Use functional storage helpers–I love kitchen carousels and mason jars.  I like to be efficient in the kitchen, and jars quickly show me what is inside, and a carousels display their items with a quick spin.

4. Create extra shelving with wire organizers — because I lack drawer space, I keep my foil & plastic bags on a wire organizer.  The space organizer gives is just the right height for these items, and allows me to store things underneath them.

ORGANIZING-KITCHEN-COLLAGE5. Use hooks– I use hooks for my duster, broom, mop, a holder for my plastic bags, & my girls 3 lunch bags.  Hooks are a GREAT way to stay organized and keep things off the floor and shelves.

6. Buy an over-the-door organizer — this is one of the best purchases I have made.  It has a tea shelf, a shelf for most used baking items (baking powder, baking soda, cocoa & salt) that I can just quick grab when baking.  I have a vitamin/supplement shelf.  I keep my straws next to those.  The very last shelf is a deep one and holds my dish cloths, again, saving a drawer.


I hope this inspires you to embrace organization even if you have a small space.  Small spaces are a great motivator for staying organized, as one really doesn’t have much choice but to get creative!

What are ways you organize your kitchen space?

Frugal/ HOME/ How-Tos/ RECIPES

“Eat From The Pantry” Week

Our mail man keeps delivering medical bills on a daily basis, so in order to cut some corners around here, I am challenging our family to an “Eat From The Pantry” (and freezer) week.

I am not one to stock up on food, so this is a challenge.  But I like a challenge, it forces me to get creative.  I’m going to take it day by day, and see how far in the week we get before our pantry is empty.

Here are a few things I did today to help in this week-long adventure:

~Found some dough in my freezer and made these Pizza Roll-Ups for the kids lunch.  I’m freezing any extras for snacks later in the week.

~I made a big pot of brown rice in my rice cooker.  I love to make a bunch, then put into freezer bags.  Rice reheats beautifully.  For lunch today, I ate Rajma Masala (red kidney beans curry) over the rice.  Yum!

~I boiled a bunch of eggs to make Egg Salad Sandwiches for dinner.

~I don’t want to go buy bread to serve the Egg Salad Sandwiches on, so I threw Homemade Hamburger Buns into my bread maker.  Since I am cutting back on animal products (after reading The China Study) I will enjoy a Vegetarian Nature Burger on my bun. 🙂

~I will serve the sandwiches with Sweet Potato Coins to use up the bag of sweet potatoes I have.

~My youngest and I made a double batch of Chia Oats.  She loves to eat it for breakfast and snack.  We also made a batch of Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Oats.  We are going to blend them up and make Chocolate Chia Oat Popsicles.  If we are successful and they taste good, I will for sure post about them!

~I have a bag of pinto beans.  I am planning on making them in the crockpot using the method in the video above.  They are super filling and nutritious, great on rice or in wraps.

~I know my girls will want some sweets, so I will make a batch of homemade Strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups with our frozen berries from the Strawberry Patch.  Yum!

If I can make it through the week with only buying a few grocery items, I can save over $100.00!  
Wish me luck!:)


Eat From Your Pantry-Update

I am taking part in the Eat From Your Pantry Challenge (click here if you don’t know what that is)
I took inventory of my freezer, refrigerator, and my newly organized pantry. I quickly wrote down dinner ideas inspired by what I had. Then I wrote a grocery list to buy any filler ingredients that I would need.

I didn’t get so specific that I made a plan for each day of the week, but I made sure I had a list of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack ideas.
And, off to the store I went with my list.

Here is what I came home with. I spent $80.00 for the week. It was a little shocking for me, I have not been shopping at our health market for a few months now, so the prices of organic food threw me a bit. (can you believe the picture above was $80.00!!  There is one bag of flour missing) I still stayed well under the $130-$140 I usually spend.

Free range chicken kills our budget-this one cost $13.00. WOW! Good thing I know how to stretch it. We will be alternating with Smart Chicken in the future.  For sure.
The flour was on sale so I had to stock up. I know this might go against the eat from your pantry challenge, but when the bag goes from $5.00 down to $2.00, and the sale is ending in 2 days, I must buy! I will be doing lots of baking during this challenge, so I think it was a wise decision.
Here is what we have eaten so far.

I shopped Thursday the 31st-New Year’s Eve, afternoon (make sense?)

We make clock shaped pizza.(used leftover sauce from freezer and shredded cheese from freezer.) Yummy, yummy.
My sister left cookie dough here at Christmas, which I froze. I thawed, sliced, baked and ATE!
Brownies- homemade from ingredients on hand. Yum. (I’ll post recipe soon)

Cereal for breakfast (toast, fruit)
Sloppy Joes at my sisters house to celebrate New Years Day
Arby’s 5 for $5.95 roast beef sandwich special for Family Movie Night (we split a large curly fry between 5 people…cracks me up. Its like 4 fries each. I’m not complaining, those things are so nasty for you, but taste so gooood!)
Toast and fruit
Whole wheat pasta tossed with butter and sprinkled with parm cheese, carrots, apples
Beef kabobs (beef has been in freezer for a month), potato casserole (used up leftover sour cream), salad

Cereal and clementines
Pizza at G’pa and G’ma’s house for lunch. Love it.
Dinner: Girls- leftover pizza from G’ma’s house; Me-White Chicken Chili from freezer; Todd-oatmeal (He eats a lot of oatmeal. He likes it. Strange.)
Bagels and cream cheese given to us from gma. My girls were in heaven.
Lunch: Girls packed lunch (pb sandwich, Kashi crackers/cheese, apple slices); Me-White Chicken Chili from freezer (I froze in very small single serving mason jars, so handy); Todd-homemade soup from freezer.
Dinner: Whole wheat noodles, leftover spaghetti sauce with beef from freezer, salad, and homemade Swope Bread (I’ll post recipe soon)
Tues-here are the plans
Oatmeal for breakfast
Lunch: Girls-Leftover noodles in thermos, fruit, mix of pretzels, dried cranberries and chocolate chips
Dinner:Me-Indian food with my sisters YIPPEE! Todd-nachos at the Nebraska Basketball game, Girls-dinner out with gma
Dinner plan:my super expensive bird cooked rotisserie style in the crockpot, salad, frozen veggie mix, Swope bread from freezer (recipe made 2)
Dinner plan: Chicken Pot Pie-got a piecrust leftover from Christmas.
Make bone broth with chicken bones to make soup for Todd’s lunches.
Fri-Pancakes (leftover homemade dry mix in pantry)
Family Movie Night-Arbys! Roast beef sandwiches. Split large fry.
Fruit and Yogurt Smoothies

Sat-Time to grocery shop again!!!!
Whew. That took awhile to type. Maybe next time I will just tell you dinners and snacks??

Frugal/ HEALTH/ HOME/ How-Tos/ Organizing/ RECIPES/ Simplifying

Eat From Your Pantry Challenge

Our last Christmas family celebration was here at our home yesterday.  Boy, did we have fun!  We had a “come wearing a silly hat theme,” a pancake bar, games, an insane amount of gifts from Grandpa John and Grandma Pam, a Christmas craft with Grandma Sheri, a Christmas movie, and constant food consumption from 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. —  We made such great memories!   Everyone came nicely dressed in normal clothes, and within a few hours most of us were in our new pajamas that we had just unwrapped.  Time with family was extra sweet, because a blizzard kept us from seeing each other on Christmas day.

My Silly Christmas Hat And A Platter Of Pancakes!
Although we constantly consumed food throughout the day, there were lots and lots of leftovers.  A great thing about being the host house is getting stuck with all the leftovers!  I’m very stuffed as I sit here typing!

I spent some time in my kitchen today, clearing out the Christmas decorations (I am REALLY excited to get the house back to its simple self!) and organizing my refrigerator and freezer.  I could not tell what- was- what when I opened the refrig this morning, and I knew if I didn’t get in there and figure it out, that all those great leftovers would go to waste.  I now have leftovers that won’t get eaten today or tomorrow, packaged and into the freezer (shredded cheese leftover from nachos, bacon leftover from making quiche, pancakes leftover from our pancake feast, cookie dough that didn’t get baked, etc).
I know what I have, and feel confident that we won’t waste all that good food!  Tomorrow I will tackle the pantry, it is so disorganized right now that it is hazardous to open the door! Holidays have a way of reeking havoc on my kitchen in more ways than one!  I am so very eager to get back to simple and healthful eating, to get as much processed sugar and foods out of my house as I can, and fill my pantry up with ingredients from my little neighborhood health food market.

Today I stumbled upon this post and it really excited me.  “Eat From Your Pantry” is a concept that I love and have tried before.  We did it for 2 weeks in the month of October.  It was so rewarding to see how much money we could save by just paying attention to food we already have.  I loved seeing my cupboards become bare, and I loved filling them back with only healthful, necessary foods.  I only spent $40.00 the first week, and $48.00 the next week.  We usually spend about $120.00-$130.00 a week, so that was a substantial amount saved!

I am a bit apprehensive to commit to a whole month, but it seems like they are a bit flexible with the challenge.  I think the goal is just to be extremely thoughtful about what groceries you do buy, all the while using up what you already have.  This came at a perfect time for me, here is why:

* I have lots of leftovers hanging out in my freezer

*I am VERY MOTIVATED to get our kitchen back in order

*I miss shopping at my health food grocer

*My husband is back on track with healthful eating (as of today) & I want to support him in that

*It is soon-to-be a NEW YEAR, which gives me motivation to start anew with food.

I will occasionally post about our progress and experience.  Let me know if you think this is a good idea and if you want to do it, too!