30 Day Clutter Challenge – Day 1 Pantry

Are you ready? Let’s do this! If you read my post yesterday, you know that today we are embarking upon a life-changing (well, at least home-changing) challenge. We are going to spend 15 minutes per day over the next 30 days and clear the clutter from our homes and our lives. I solemnly promise that if you complete this challenge with me, you will have a lighter load of clutter and a more peaceful home. I’m not saying it is going to be easy, I am saying that it is going to be worth it. So, in the words of Jerry Maguire…”Who’s coming with me?”

We are going to begin this challenge with something simple. I am not asking you to make any gut-wrenching decisions today…you will not be parting with any sentimental items (unless you really, really love your food in a somewhat awkward way). The first challenge will be to tackle the pantry (or kitchen cabinets if you do not have a pantry). We are specifically looking at all the food items in your home that are not refrigerated with the exception of spices (for some of us, that is a whole challenge within itself, so we will save that for later).

I am very fortunate to have a huge walk-in pantry. When we designed our home, three things were of the highest importance to me – an open kitchen/family room, a large closet, and a walk-in pantry. You see, I like to have a lot of food on hand. Having a pantry full of foods provides a sort of security blanket. I know that if we get snowed in, my family will always have food to eat. In the days before I discovered eMeals, I needed a variety of pantry staples on hand so that I could throw a meal together without prior planning. This sounds good until you peek into my pantry and see the mess. EEK!

I normally would not let people see this, but we are all friends here, right? You won’t judge me….will you? I am okay with showing you this because I know it will not look this way for long. I am about to tackle the food clutter!

Believe it or not, I have done this many times in the past, and I am always amazed at how much I have to throw away. And not amazed in a good way. It really is an eye opener to see how much food is wasted. I am going to make an effort to use the food items in my pantry and quit trying to keep so many extras going forward.

Okay, enough talking…let’s get started. Take a look at every item and check its expiration date. If it is expired, throw it away. No exceptions here. Packaged items last a lonnnng time. Even if it technically was okay to eat, if it is expired, you have had it for a very long time already bid you haven’t eaten it by now, you aren’t going to. Trash it. Now.

Next, be honest with yourself for a minute and get rid of all the items that you are not going to eat. If they are still in date an unopened, donate them to a local food drive or shelter. If they are opened and still good but you know you aren’t going to eat them (you wanted to be healthy and love that new granola brand but realized the first time you ate it that it tastes like cardboard….you want your kids to eat the healthy brand of cereal but if you are being honest with yourself, you know they will only eat Froot Loops and Cocoa Puffs….your spouse accidentally bought sugar free syrup and you didn’t want to waste money by throwing it away but you know you’ll never eat it), get rid of these things now! The money has already been spent. Holding the item in your pantry or cabinet is not going to get the money back, and it is continuing to cost you more by robbing you of space. 

Whew! You did it. That wasn’t so bad, was it? BONUS: Once you have gotten rid of these things, you can organize by grouping like items together. To do this, I am going to purchase another set of these awesome containers that I have bought in the past from Amazon. There are two different sizes, and I have used them for everything from packing foods for lunch, storing leftovers, to food storage. Purchasing something in the midst of clearing clutter seems a little contradictory, but having my foods organized and grouped together will help me know exactly what I have on hand and (hopefully) prevent me from buying more of something I already have. If you are interested in the containers I use, I am including a link below. I like the 16 ounce ones for storage, and the 8 ounce ones for packing in lunches.
Reditainer Deli Food Storage Containers with Lid, 16-Ounce, 36-Pack
Reditainer Deli Food Storage Containers with Lids, 8-Ounce, 40-Pack

I would love to hear how many items you have gotten rid of! Share your stories in the comments for this article. Pictures are even better! Post your before and after pics. Tag them with the hashtag #mysimpleclutterchallenge and come back tomorrow for my recap and the next mission. I’ve got to go get busy now…

See you tomorrow!

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