The Gross (but True) Reason You Should Always Decant Your Pantry Items

published Feb 17, 2023
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Decanting — or storing kitchen items in a container other than the one they originally came in — has gotten a bit of a bad rap recently. One big argument against switching everything over to pretty glass jars? Product packaging exists for a reason. The cardboard box holding your pasta, for example, tells you when it expires, its nutritional facts and potential allergens, and instructions for how to use it. 

While we can’t argue the importance of having all this information easily accessible, we do have some not-so-great news for you if you keep your food in its original packaging. For one thing, shoving different-sized boxes in your pantry can make it harder to organize. Even more importantly, cardboard can attract unwanted and potentially harmful pests to your kitchen. 

You probably already know it’s important to seal your products shut and be mindful where you store them to prevent bugs. (Staying on top of cleaning your kitchen counters, floors, and cabinets can also go a long way.)

But if you still have your food stored in cardboard, you’re automatically at risk for one of the grossest pests of all: cockroaches. These insects can easily digest the fibers found in organic materials like paper, and they’re attracted to the glue that adheres the box together. Storing several cardboard boxes together in one area is even worse, as cockroaches love to hide amidst clutter. 

If you already have a cockroach problem, then it’s best to consult with an expert to safely exterminate these pests. But if you’re hoping to fend off unwanted kitchen pantry guests in the future, consider recycling all the cardboard boxes in your kitchen and using tightly sealed glass or plastic storage containers instead. 

As for that essential information found on the boxes? You can easily write all that with a marker on the side or bottom of the decanting container, or snap a photo. It also works to tape a pocket on the side of the jar and tuck the portion of the cardboard you need inside of it. 

Sure, the process adds an extra step or two to your food storage routine, but you’re ultimately saving your future self a huge headache — not to mention saving more precious space on your shelves.