Two of the most common New Year’s Resolutions partner well together: Get Organized and Lose Weight/Eat Healthier.
My pantry is tiny--a narrow broom closet converted by pull-out shelving to food storage. I've helped clients organize pantries the size of a small bedroom! No matter the size of the space, if your pantry and cabinets are bulging with too many boxes, bags, bottles and cans, your waistline is likely to be bulging also! Reducing the contents to nutritious items that will be consumed within the next couple of weeks will increase the success rate of any diet plan you attempt.
Benefits of an Organized Pantry
Saves Money—no more buying ingredients you already have, but couldn’t see on crowded shelves.
Reduces Stress—you can find what you’re looking for.
Saves Time—for the same reason your stress level is reduced.
Improves Health—you’ll be more likely to cook rather than order take-out if you can easily access ingredients; plus, with your stress level reduced you won’t feel the need to stress-eat an entire package of Oreos!
De-Clutter and Organize Your Pantry in 4 Easy Steps
Step One: Remove literally EVERYTHING from your pantry and check expiration dates. Anything out of date should be tossed in the trash.* Unopened items that do not fall into your new food plan but that are still edible should be placed in a box to donate to your local food bank. Pawn off to a friend or family member anything that has been opened but you won’t eat. You can’t eat what isn’t there, so get rid of all the sugary snacks and food with ingredients you want to avoid (gluten, meat, soy, etc.) *Ideally, empty the contents into the trash, then rinse and recycle the containers.
Step Two: Categorize the remaining food—seasonings, rice/pasta, soups, breakfast, snacks, etc. If you find you have duplicates consider adding the extras to your food bank donation box. Yes, it can be convenient to have a spare handy when you run out of something; however, spares do you no good if the space it so crowded with "spares" to see them.
Step Three: Vacuum crumbs and clean stickiness off the shelves; wipe dust and oils off bottles and cans.
Step Four: Re-stock the shelves, placing like things together. Use containers to corral bags of pasta/rice, spice packets, and other categories of easily-scattered items. Place the healthiest snacks and meal ingredients at eye level.
We make thousands of choices every day—some are automatic and others require much time and reflection. De-cluttering and organizing your pantry to support your healthful eating goals will help make at least of few of your food choices automatic and put the odds of good nutrition in your favor.