Clean Out Your Pantry, Fridge & Freezer in 20 Minutes a Day for 5 Days

published Jan 2, 2013
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The momentum of the new year has me inspired to do a clean sweep in my kitchen, so I can start 2013 with a pantry, fridge and freezer full of fresh and inspiring ingredients. Unfortunately, I don’t have a full day to tackle this project, so I’m breaking it down into steps that can be completed in 20 minutes or less per day for five days. Want to join me? Start today and by Monday morning your kitchen will be cleaned out and ready for a new year of cooking.

Don’t forget to bring a notebook and pen into the kitchen with you to make a list of all the items that are being tossed out and will need to be replaced.

Day One: Spices
Go through all the spices in your pantry and get rid of any that are past their prime. (Give them a quick sniff if you aren’t sure; if a spice no longer smells pungent and fresh, it’s worth replacing with a new bottle.) While you’re at it, check your baking soda and baking powder and toss out the old stuff or save it for cleaning.

Day Two: Oils & Grains
Sniff or taste all the oils stored in your pantry or fridge and get rid of any bottles that have a rancid or unpleasant odor or taste. Give your flours and grains a sniff, particularly any whole grains, and toss any with an “off” smell, a sign that the oils in the grains have gone bad. Check for signs of pests like grain weevils.

Day Three: Nuts & Seeds
Check all the nuts and seeds in your pantry and freezer by sniffing or tasting them, checking for rancidity or freezer burn. Throw away anything that smells or tastes bad.

Day Four: Condiments
Go through all the condiments in your refrigerator, tossing any that have gone bad, are long past their expiration date, or are unlikely to ever be used again. While you’re there, clean out old leftovers and any other questionable fridge residents.

Day Five: Freezer
Excavate the depths of your freezer and get rid of items that are freezer-burned or otherwise unusable. Move older items to the front, so they will be eaten before they go bad.

Do you have any tips for cleaning out your pantry, fridge or freezer? Is this a project you’ll be tackling soon?

Related: Spring Clean Your Pantry: 5 Great Tips