1. Took a quick inventory - This was funny. I seriously had 10 cans of kidney beans, a few bags of quick oats, chow mien noodles that I hadn't used, and enough pancake mix to feed an army.
2. Tossed out any old, stale and expired items - Yep, sadly lots went into the garbage. Some very old cans of veggies, some stale flour, and other dried goods that I knew I had had for an eternity.
3. Planned some meal around what I found - I made a big batch of chill to use up some of the beans, a chocolate pie to use up some pudding mixes, and chocolate Haystacks out of the chow mien noodles to mention a few.
4. Cleaned out and wiped down - done!
5. Organized into areas - each shelf now has a defined theme. Starting from the bottom shelf, cans because they are heavy; then crackers, cookies and snack food; then bread, pasta and other meal time foods; then baking; and the top for cereal and other large items.
6. Used containers and Tupperware to help organize and store.
7. Went grocery shopping to restock - I've made a trip to Costco and started to replenish mostly the snack shelf, with granola bars and fruit snacks for the kids.
Drumroll please... here's the AFTER. Now maybe it doesn't look like a drastic change, but I feel really good that I got the old and stale stuff thrown out, and have a system in place going forward.
A new addition to my pantry is this little step stool to help me easily reach items on the upper shelves.
Another new addition are my new Tupperware cereal containers. I find that we are going through cereal like crazy with kids, and buy the big bulk boxes from Costco. It only makes sense store them in these containers that you can easily pour into your cereal bowl, rather than fumbling around with a cut open bag that spills out all the time!
And lastly I got most of my dry baking goods into Tupperware Modular Mates, which keeps them fresh, but also really easy to scoop out of!