You’re sold on the benefits of meal planning and eager to get started. Great! Before you begin searching for recipes and building a grocery list, we recommend an important first step – cleaning out your kitchen pantry. Whether you live in a small home without a lot of extra storage space or have pantry space to spare, there are major benefits to keeping your kitchen and pantry organized.
The 3 Benefits of Tidying Up
- Save Money: Once you know what you already have on-hand, your grocery list will be smaller and you’ll avoid buying duplicate items.
- Save Time: Use pantry items as a starting point from which to build your meal plan. Targeting a particular item (e.g searching for “canned fish recipes”) narrows your options and increases your focus.
- Maximize Your Space: After our first pantry clean out, we gained back an entire drawer and half a shelf! This enabled us to order lunch box snacks from our boys IN BULK from Boxed. Paying discounted prices for bulk helped us to save more money!
What to do with REU
The first time we cleaned out our pantry we found a lot of REU – Redundant, Expired, and Undesired – items. Here’s our advice for what to do when you find REU:
- Redundant: when you discover TWO FULL containers of ground ginger, make a note (we recommend keeping a running Google doc for weekly meal planning) to seek out recipes that use any items that you have in abundance.
- Expired: saute sauces and salad dressing from 2015. TOSS THEM! We mean it. Don’t donate them to your annual company food drive. If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t expect anyone else too, either.
- Undesired: stale crackers, half-empty cookie icing, “to go” ketchup and hot sauce packets? Give yourself permission to let them go.
Are you ready to clean out your pantry? Check out these easy 7 steps!