Pantry cleanup and re-stock

Spring is a great time to clean out the pantry cupboard. The weather is finally nice and we can officially say goodbye to the days of flocking to the grocery store before the next big snow storm.. It’s so easy for your pantry to become congested with miscellaneous grocery items. Before we know it, we’re buying extras of the things we already have and we have no idea what we have on hand at home and what we don’t. Here are my tips to keeping a clean and organized pantry:

Take Inventory

First things, first. Take inventory of what you have on hand, toss everything that is expired and organize the rest into categories. My rule of thumb is to keep 2 of each pantry item on hand. For our family, this looks like 2 canned corn, 2 canned green beans, 2 pasta sauce, etc. Once I use one or both of an item, it goes on the grocery list on the fridge.

Donate unused non-perishables

Have something in your cupboard your family wasn’t into? Grab the wrong item on accident and now it’s sitting in your cupboard? Gather up the items in your pantry that you know you probably won’t be eating and consider donating it to your local food shelf. I try to do this at least twice a year. It never fails that I have at least a couple items in my cupboard that I just haven’t used or maybe we just bought way too much of. Take this time to free up space in your cupboards and give back to your community.

Only buy what you need

Now that you have taken inventory and have cleared out some space, try to stick to the “two” rule. Stocking up may seem like it’s saving you money but I often find that we save way more by just buying what we need as we run out and by keeping two of each item on hand, you eliminate frequent trips to the grocery store. This also comes in handy when we are doing our monthly budget because we have a much better idea of what we actually spend on groceries every month. Figure out what your family eats the most of and decide what you plan on cooking for the next week before you stock up.

Organize your dry goods

As for your flour, sugars and dry goods, consider purchasing air tight containers like the Rubbermaid Brilliance or OXO containers and label them. These save you money by keeping your ingredients fresh so you don’t have to toss that unsealed flour or your brown sugar that has turned into a rock. They are also clear so you can see exactly what you have and know when to stock back up. I use these removable pantry labels to label all of my containers and they work great with dry erase or permanent marker. They stick great but remove without residue and can be used again. I use them everywhere in my house.

I hope these tips put you well on your way to an organized kitchen. I know that keeping an organized pantry makes meal planning for the week so much easier for me since I already know what we have. Good luck!

Laura_Signature


Cleaning Product Round-up

When was the last time you went through the cleaning supplies under your sink.. It’s probably been a hot minute. I feel you. Before we dive too deep into our spring cleaning, let’s take a look at the cleaning supplies you plan on using and decide whether or not they are the best option for cleaning your home.

With a toddler around, it’s important for us to make sure cleaning supplies aren’t accessible to our little rugrat but it’s also important for us to do our homework and make sure we’re using non-toxic cleaning supplies. Today I will cover common household cleaners and their “cleaner” dupe for making your household safer for your family.

Standard Glass Cleaner vs. 50/50 Vinegar Water 

This alternative to common window cleaners is safe and also CHEAP. Mix 50/50 distilled water and white distilled vinegar inside of a spray bottle and enjoy a non-toxic, streak free shine on all of your windows!

Common All Purpose Cleaner vs Thieves/On Guard

I recently made the switch to using Thieves/On Guard (whichever you prefer, I use both!) all purpose cleaner. I had been using Method brand all purpose sprays but still felt like the scents were a little too harsh. It’s still a “cleaner” option over Lysol or Clorox sprays as it is plant derived, but it still contains ingredients that you wouldn’t want your baby putting in their mouth.. With your homemade Thieves/On Guard spray, you can basically clean anything. I have used it to clean the upholstery on our couches, disinfect toys, spray carpets and rugs to deodorize, cleanup spills, wash the high chair.. The list goes on! And the best part is that it’s completely safe for your little one. No need to rinse.

Disinfecting Wipes vs Green Works Wipes

Being mindful of the amount of waste we produce is so important. Did you know that almost all disinfecting wipes are not biodegradable? That’s right folks. They are made of synthetic fibers that decompose slowly in our landfills. And most name brand wipes use a solution that is to be rinsed thoroughly with water, especially if you are cleaning an area that will be in contact with food. I used these bad boys for YEARS until I learned the truth.. A better solution is the Green Works Compostable Cleaning Wipes. These wipes are made of natural wood-based fibers and are made with 97% naturally derived ingredients. They make quick clean-ups a breeze, they’re safe for our little ones and they are better for our planet. Win, win, win.

As you begin your spring cleaning, I hope you keep these swaps in mind. In the end, you will have a clean home, more money in your pocket and our earth will thank you. Friends don’t let friends clean with chemicals. Happy Cleaning!

Laura_Signature