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6 Steps to Spring Clean Your Pantry

You know that feeling when you finish a deep spring cleaning of your house? It’s hard work and can be time consuming, but is so rewarding when you’re finished. I’m going to show you how to spring clean your pantry step-by-step with tips on how to stock your shelves with FitLiving Eats essentials.

Friends, it’s spring time. A time of year when the flowers are blooming, there is a renewed sense of energy in the air, and all you want to do is spend time outside and soak up the sun in all of its glory.

Sounds idyllic, right? Well, it’s also a time of year when the pollen is falling like rain and allergies kick in out of nowhere, the grass is growing so fast it needs to be cut almost daily and oh yeah, I look out the (somewhat cloudy) windows and remind myself that it’s time to do a spring cleaning! Yep. That’s more like it!

I don’t know about you, but I actually enjoy the annual spring cleaning. I don’t love the thought of it, but once I get to it, I enjoy the process of deep cleaning to make everything like new again. Tell me I’m not the only one?

I recently gave my pantry a much needed overhaul and thought I would share my tips and tricks with you to guide you in the ultimate pantry makeover.

6 Steps to Spring Cleaning Your Pantry

Out with the old, in the with new.

First step, take everything out of your pantry. Yes, you heard me. everything. Why? Because you don’t know what might be hiding in the back say, from 10 years ago.

As you pull things out, note the expiration date. If it’s expired, toss it out. If it’s close to being expired, you’re going to want to put those items towards the front of your pantry so that they are used first.

label reading

Un “process” your shelves.

It’s time to get back to the basics and give your pantry a healthy makeover. The best way to do this is to pay attention to the foods in your pantry by looking at the labels. See an ingredient on there you can’t pronounce? Then it’s more than likely something that is not fueling your body in a healthy way and should be thrown out (or donated).

Most of the items in my pantry only have one ingredient on the label and I try to keep packaged and boxed foods out of the house. These foods are often filled with excess sugar, sodium and artificial ingredients that only leave the body craving for more of these nutritionally “empty” foods.

Get organized.

One of the greatest assets in my pantry are mason jars. I am obsessed with them! I use them for smoothies, storing overnight oats in my fridge and for organizing the many nuts, seeds and grains that are in my pantry.

healthy pantry makeover

Not only does it make my pantry look organized and pretty (who doesn’t want a pretty pantry?), it keeps the food items as fresh as possible. If you like to store grains and pastas in airtight containers but are afraid of not knowing how to cook them when you throw the packaging out, here’s a tip: cut out the directions from the packaging and put them in the container with your grains/pastas.

Related: 50 Kitchen Essentials for Your Wedding Registry


In my pantry, I have shelves that house different food items which I find makes it easiest for when I go to the pantry looking for something. Here’s what my shelves look like (but may look different for you depending on how your pantry is set up):

  • The bottom floor: When I make a big grocery run and stock up on certain foods, I’ll keep the extra on the bottom of the pantry and rotate the items through as I run out of that certain food that’s on the shelf.
  • First shelf: Oils and vinegars, as well as any disposable plateware I have on hand.
  • Second shelf: Nuts, seeds and dried fruits organized in mason jars, as well as coffee, teas and baking ingredients.
  • Third shelf: Canned goods, grains and stocks.
  • Fourth (top) shelf: A bit of a miscellaneous shelf where I keep superfood smoothie ad ins, oats, and the like.

Restock your shelves with the essentials.

Now that we’ve gone through and cleaned out the pantry shelves, only keeping foods that are fresh and with minimal ingredients, let’s take a look at what might be missing.

pantry essentials

I like to keep basic essentials in my pantry to have on hand for when I need to throw a meal together in a flash. Some of these essentials include: a variety of whole grains, different kinds of beans, tomato sauce, pastas, nuts and seeds, oils and vinegars.

Related: Meal Planning Starter Kit & Guide

Keep inventory.

Ahhhhh, the pantry is now organized and stocked with healthy foods that are packed with nutrients and can be used for a delicious and filling snack, or a more robust meal.

To ensure that I always have my essentials on hand, I like to keep a notepad in my kitchen somewhere (or maybe you even have a chalkboard on the inside of your pantry door!) to write down what I might have run out of that I need to get next time I’m at the store. Essentially, we’re keeping inventory to make sure that the next time you reach for some black beans to say, make black bean and spinach enchiladas, you’re not having to run to the store last minute when you realize you ran out!

Tell me. What items do you like to keep stocked in your pantry at all times? Have you done your spring cleaning yet?

-Carly Paige

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73 Responses

  1. I rock every single thing on your list…EXCEPT The inventory. I’d like to lie to myself 🙂 and pretend my running list on the iPhone is an inventory of sorts. It is not 🙂

    1. Haha! At least you can be honest with yourself 🙂 I really only got better about it now that I’m in a routine of keeping inventory at the juice bar where I work – it just makes things easier!

  2. I love the idea of using mason jars (or upcycling any other glass jars you may have) for your pantry! Great post!

  3. Such great ideas! While I keep a few things on hand in my pantry, I keep it mostly empty or with only what I need for the week which is helpful for my budgeting too!

    1. That’s great, Katie! I definitely do that with things that are perishable because I hate food going to waste!

  4. This is a really helpful post. My boyfriend & I are really trying to save money and figure out how to eat more “good” food at home. We both like beautifully prepared meals and the lack of work since we work so much every single day, but these steps are really helpful to find the motivation AND drive to get to this! xx

    1. I’m so glad you found this post helpful, Adaleta! Good luck in your journey to eating more healthy foods at home! Once you get into the routine of it, you will find you enjoy the process of cooking at home 🙂

  5. Love this list! We are in the midst of spring cleaning but haven’t hit the kitchen/pantry yet! Will definitely keep this in mind when we get there!

    1. Yes! Although I still find myself looking at things I’ve never used that maybe haven’t expired thinking I’m still going to use them… kind of like my closet. Ha!

  6. I have such a hard time with procrastination when it comes to cleaning. I keep finding other things I can do or something will peak my interest and then a lot of times it doesn’t get done right away. It’s weird too because sometimes I’ll get in these moods where I want to deep clean the entire house all the way down to the very last speck of dust, but the majority of the time, I find it daunting. I will say though, while I don’t like most cleaning tasks, for some strange reason I love doing the laundry. I don’t know what it is about laundry, but I love it! I usually will fold clothes while I’m watching Netflix in between loads.

    1. That’s so funny! I can totally relate with randomly getting in the mood to clean. When this happens, I totally use it to my advantage to do a nice deep cleaning!

    1. Oh my goodness – that’s a lot of pasta!! Thanks for the invite – I’m just now seeing this so will have to join next time 🙂

  7. These are great tips! I’ve been doing just that this week since I started another round of the 21 Day Fix on Monday! Time to get that pantry back in shape and get this body ready for summer.


  8. I recently did this and I was horrified at how much stuff had actually expired. What a waste! I did restock it little by little with items that were healthy and that we would go through. Great ideas here and very important to do!

  9. This is such a helpful post. It’s important to realize what’s in the food you’re buying and be mindful of that. I especially like your point about un-processing your shelves. That’s something my husband and I are striving for.

    1. Thanks, Lindsay! I totally agree. Looking at the labels is super important. You would be surprised of what’s in there sometimes!

  10. Love this post! I always have a bunch of baking supplies in my pantry, but am obsessed with expiry dates so do a “cleaning” every few months. Like the idea of also un”process”ing my shelves – going to try this!

  11. I just recently did a pantry clean out and found about 8 packets of taco seasoning that honestly, was hard enough that it could crack a tile if you dropped it on the floor – gross…It had to be 5 or 6 years old (yes, I just admitted that publicly).

    1. Omg! That’s so funny. Taco seasoning can be easy to get lost in the pantry. At least you found them and got rid of them!

  12. I did this just a few weeks ago with my pantry and it’s still going strong. I love how clean and orderly it is – I can see at a glance what needs replacing and exactly what I have in stock. Bliss!

  13. These are some really great ideas and I need to implement them. I am going to make it a priority next week and clean out my pantry. I am sure I will feel great after this.