Pantry clean out tips to help you use what you have
You know that feeling like you have nothing to eat, but yet your pantry is full? It gets tough to figure out what meals you can make especially if you have a pantry stuffed with groceries. If this sounds like your situation, then you need a pantry clean out day and you can easily get started with my pantry inventory printable!
I don’t have that big of a pantry. Living in a small townhouse has its perks though. Less space means I usually don’t get large stocks of forgotten foods in my kitchen. Despite the small space, my kitchen was feeling a bit overcrowded and I really just wanted to save some money this month. So I made a pretty printable and did a pantry clean out!
Grab your FREE pantry inventory printable now!
Why use what you have instead of buying more?
Depending on how big your pantry is, I recommend doing a pantry clean out to use what you have stocked away at least once a year. When you take a pantry inventory, you may notice that some foods are close to the expiration date or that you have too many of the same things.
This happens when we shop or meal plan without taking into consideration the groceries that we already have available to us. If those groceries expire or go unused, you are just wasting money. And no one truly likes to waste money, right?
Save money with a pantry clean out
Another good reason to use what you have is if you need to save money on groceries. I told you that I wanted to save money this month on our bill. With the holidays coming up, I know we are going to be buying a lot of foods for those occasions. Instead of increasing our grocery budget, I wanted to keep it as even as possible. It’s all about trades!
Using what you have before a big move
As a past military brat and military spouse, I have been through A LOT of cross country moves. For those moves, you don’t take much food wise. You either give it to friends or toss it. Doing a pantry clean out a few months in advance of a big move is a great way to use what you have, save money, and not be wasteful!
Tips for your BIG pantry clean out
Now, when I am talking about a pantry clean out, I am also including the fridge and freezer. If you have a large freezer, it is a good idea to have a running list of items in there so that you use everything in a timely fashion. If you are like me and have a small space for your pantry or just a small freezer, doing this once or twice a year may be a perfect option!
Doing a pantry clean out is the perfect time to organize your kitchen and pantry too! Pull out all of the food shelf by shelf, write it all down on your free pantry inventory printable**, and then put everything back in, nice and organized!
When you get to your fridge and freezer, you may decide that you need to wipe down the shelves and organize too. Make up some soapy water and wipe down as you go!
The last tip is to have a grocery list and pen available. If you are out or close to out of something, go ahead and add it to the list. I like to have a magnetic grocery list on my fridge so that I can write items down as I notice them. This makes life a lot easier! Even better is when you can get the family members to do it too!
Did you get your pantry inventory printable yet? Get it now!
Use what you have by meal planning
If you don’t meal plan already, I highly suggest that you jump on this train. It is the best way to save money, time, and stress around meals. I don’t say that lightly either. Now that I meal plan for a month at a time, I spend so little time thinking about food…and it is AMAZING!
After you do a pantry clean out and take stock of what you have using the pantry inventory printable **, then you need to sit down and make a meal plan. Go through your family favorites first to see if you can make those recipes using what you have. Check out this post on simple meal planning for busy moms for help!
After you get the easy recipes out of the way, plan to use the rest of the pantry inventory by searching by ingredients on Pinterest or on AllRecipes.com. If you are new to meal planning, be sure to head over to my post about meal planning for beginners to learn the step by step process that I use every month!
Pantry clean out recipes
Obviously your pantry stock is going to look a lot different than my own. That being said, I wanted to share some meals that I am going to create this month and next strictly from the food that I already have in my pantry.
Here’s my list of pantry clean out recipes:
- Chicken, tomato and rice soup
- Quinoa burrito bowls with red enchilada sauce
- Spaghetti and turkey meat sauce
- Chicken enchiladas
- Bhindi masala with rice
- Split pea soup
- 15 bean soup
I also found a couple of great posts on Pinterest to give you some pantry clean out inspiration: