Welcome back to the Chasing Clean Challenge!! We were going strong for awhile, and then life got me sidelined. Back by popular demand, I have some new challenges for you! If you missed the first few challenges (where we’ve been focusing on the kitchen), head on over to the Cleaning section of my blog, where you’ll find the first Chasing Clean Challenges, along with lots of other articles on cleaning!
Nothing makes me feel more relaxed and at ease than a clean home. A lot of us are pretty good at making things “acceptably tidy.” We pick up the Cheerios the baby dropped on the floor (I do this about three times a day), run the vacuum before company comes over, and make solid attempts at loading the dishwasher…BUT, there are areas of our homes that we tend to overlook…We get overwhelmed by the gravity of it all…Small baby steps ladies…I take one little section of the home at a time, break it down into easy steps, and get you going! Ready for today’s challenge?
The Project: The Pantry
A lot of us are probably fairly decent at cleaning out the fridge…maybe not to the extent that the Day Four Challenge went to, but we throw out old leftovers, spot the rancid milk, toss the wilted lettuce, etc…However, our pantries may just get overlooked…We reach in to grab a can of soup or a bag of chocolate chips, and never really stop to think that the pantry itself may need some sprucing up…If yours is anything like mine…it does!
(*not my pantry)
1. Check the dates! If you are at all like me, you may be a shopper who likes to “stock up.” I sometimes forget about things that I bought on sale and will have boxes of things stacked in the pantry for years…Some canned goods have a 2-3 year shelf life, but others expire more quickly. Give each item in the pantry a quick scan and throw out anything that is expired! (And don’t be embarrassed…I just threw away Hamburger Helper from 2009!)
2. Look for donations! (*Please do not donate any expired food.) Look for things you may have purchased only to discover that your family just doesn’t care for…Perhaps you were given some food, got a sample in the mail, etc. etc, and your family has some food that you just won’t eat. Bag up any good food and find a local church or food pantry that gives food to needy families and make your donation.
3. The Stale test! I usually sucker my children into this one, but if you are brave, go through all open boxes and bags of crackers, chips, cookies, cereal, etc, and taste them! If something is fresh, roll the bag up, secure with a clothespin or chip clip, and keep it! If it is stale, toss it!
*Tip 1- Make a mental note of the items that you purchase that go stale in the cupboard. If your family did not eat the item by the time it lost its freshness, it probably means that it is not a favorite, and should probably not be purchased again!
*Tip 2- If you have those sad little partial bags of tortilla chips in the pantry (We (no lie) had 4!) make this pantry recipe favorite of mine! Chicken Tortilla Bake!
4. Combine! If you are a nutball like myself, and find that you have three open bags of spaghetti, combine them into one package! If you have odds and ends of crackers, toss them in a tupperware, and make a cupboard mix. Free up space!
1. Wipe down! Find a good food-safe spray, and give your shelves a quick wipe down! You may be surprised (or sickened) to see just how icky those shelves can get!
That is it for today ladies! Sit back and enjoy a cleaner (and healthier!) pantry! Feel good knowing that the next time you reach for a can or bag, you can rest assured that it is fresh and ready to serve! Keep checking back for more Chasing Clean Challenges!!