Full confession time. I have neglected my kitchen food and spice cabinets for WAY too long. I finally broke down and cleaned them out and organized my kitchen cabinets. Friends – I had stuff to throw out that was 3 years past it’s expiration.
But, I got down to business, and my kitchen cabinets look a million times better. I also have a few tips to help you clean and organize your kitchen cabinets. It can seem like an overwhelming task, but if you break it down, you can easily tackle the task at hand.
Clean and Organize Your Kitchen Cabinets
Take Everything Out of the Cabinets
I know. Don’t cringe. But, you need to do this. Take everything out of your cabinets.
BUT WAIT! Do this ONE CABINET AT A TIME. (And if you are really short on time, maybe only do one shelf at a time!) Pull everything out. Yes, everything. Get back to the very back of the shelf and completely empty the cabinet!
You can make this a little easier: Sort it while you are pulling everything out.
If it’s still good and will be eaten, place it in one area. You’ll restock these in a more organized manner later.
If it’s not expired, but you aren’t sure why you bought 6 cans of pork and beans, then put the ones you won’t eat or use in another pile. These are the ones you will donate to a food pantry.
Lastly, if it’s expired, you’ll be throwing those out completely.
Clean Out the Shelves and Replace Liner
Take stock of the shape of your cabinet and it’s liner.
My liner wasn’t in bad shape this time, so I didn’t replace it. However, I may the next time. Look over your cabinet liner well. Is it torn, stained, or just old? If so, go ahead and replace it. I personally don’t care for the self-adhesive liners. I like these plastic liners that have a non-adhesive grip surface. They are thick, and very easy to clean. They stay put as well!
Speaking of cleaning, if your lining doesn’t need to be replaced, wipe it down really well. Clean up any spills, leaks, or general dust.
Organize the Kitchen Cabinets
Before you start putting food or spices back into the cabinet, think about any type of products they may help organize your cabinets better.
I personally use shelf-risers, so I can fit more onto one shelf. It gives the cabinets even more room for storage. You may consider a can rack like this one. This lazy Susan is a great idea for storing chips or other individually packaged items.
Once you get your organizational tools in place, you can start placing the food back. Group the foods or spices together. I like to be able to see everything I have available, so I line all my same-item canned foods up. When I start to meal plan for the week, I like to be able to glance quickly into the cabinets to decide what I need to purchase at the store.
I also try to go by the first in, last out method. This means you place the newer stuff closer to the back of the cabinet, so you can use up what will expire first.
Also, put the food you reach for the most at arm’s length. I tend to put extra food or foods we don’t use often up higher. (However, let me tell you – in the picture of my cabinet, you can see I put the peanut butter on the top. This was a mistake. I heard about it from my husband!! He had to climb to get it. So, later, it got back down to the lower shelf.)
Keeping It Organized
Hopefully, this time around, I can keep up with my cabinets, and not wait until everything is three years past it’s prime!
I’ll try to be more mindful and stick with the the first in, last out method. I also have started using online grocery pick up, which has really reduced the amount of food that is wasted in this house. I tend to only buy what we need and don’t get those extra random foods.
What about you? Is this a dreaded task? And do you have any secrets to organizing and cleaning your kitchen food cabinets?