1. Use a food bank locator to find out which food banks are accepting donations in your area.
2. Set up three temporary staging zones in your kitchen and label them with sticky notes: Keep, Donate, Toss.
3. Remove pantry items from cabinets.
4. Check for expiration dates. Place anything that has expired or has been opened and looks or smells suspicious in the Toss area.
5. Place food items you no longer eat or have no intention of cooking or eating in the Donate zone.
6. Group ‘like’ items together in the Keep zone and name each group. For example, baking goods, canned goods, oils and vinegars, condiments, breakfast, snacks, etc.
7. Work out the best cabinet and shelf location for each group of ‘like’ items. You will have a better sense of how much space each category (canned goods, breakfast, etc.) needs when you see each group of ‘like’ items together. In your placement planning:
- Think about convenient access for each family member. For example, you may want to place breakfast items on a shelf that all family members can reach.
- Allow for sufficient shelving space for each group of items. Overcrowding a space makes it difficult for family members to remove and return items (two key steps in maintaining an organized space).
8. Return pantry items to their designated shelf locations.
9. Label each shelf. The categories and organization may seem completely obviously to you, but other family members may need more guidance.
10. Put the Donate pantry items in your car and deliver the pantry items.
Photo credit: © Paula Berman Organizing