Spring cleaning was somewhat of a tradition in my family. Every year, on the first Saturday in April, rain, sun or snow, my mom would wake us up early, assign us a specific room or rooms, hand us our cleaning tools, and set us to work! All day as a family we'd wipe, vacuum, move, throw out, pick up, and reorganize every part of our house. This was the time to not only give the house a thorough, deep cleaning. It was also a time to organize, sort through, and throw out any old or unused items we had in our closets, bedrooms, and cabinets.
Though each of these Saturday's ended with the entire family completely worn out and exhausted, I can still remember how great it felt inside the home. Not only was everything clean, it was also organized. Everything had a place and everyone knew where everything was. There was a sense of comfort knowing that things were tidy in in their proper place.
As I spruced up my own home this past Saturday, a crazy idea popped into my head. If you can have a "Spring Cleaning" for your house, why wouldn't you be able to do it for your Food Storage pantry? What would it consist of, and how would it help improve and build up your supplies? With this in mind, I came up with four steps we can all do to help "Spring Clean" our Food Storage.
"Spring Cleaning" isn't just about cleaning. It's about gathering up the things that you have, getting rid of the things that you don't need, and organizing your home and possessions in a better, more useful way. It's an inventory of your life, so why wouldn't you be able to do this with your Food Storage Pantry? Go through the shelves of your pantry and make a list of what you have. You may be surprised at what you find, or what you didn't know you already had. You'll also get an idea of what you still need. Taking inventory of what you have will also give you a ready-to-use list of your entire Food Storage. This can be very helpful in your food storage preparations.
Check Your Dates
Taking inventory will also give you a chance to do something we tend to forget. Checking the dates of our Food Storage items. This means using the lot number found on the bottom of the can. A few months back we showed you how to read the lot number to determine the date the product was canned in our "What is Food Storage Rotation" post. By knowing when the product was canned, and also using the shelf life listed on the can, you can determine a date you need to use your product by. Here's a tip: Once you have determined the date based on the Shelf life and lot number, take a marker and write the date the product needs to be used by directly on the can. That way, when you look at the can, you'll immediately know by what date you need to use it by.
If you do find a few cans or products that are approaching the end of their shelf life, this would be a great time to begin rotating those items into your everyday cooking and baking use. That way, you don't have old, unused products sitting on your pantry shelves. Rotating your food into your everyday use will also open up shelf space to purchase more food storage products.
Organize, Organize, Organize
Possibly the biggest benefit that comes from "Spring Cleaning" is organization. This is no different for your food storage items. Organize your Food Storage Pantry in a way that best suits you, or that makes it easier for you to know what products you have. One way to do this would be by grouping related products together. Keep your freeze Dried Fruits and Veggies together. Have your grains, rice, and dry products in their own section. What about size? Keep your large, 5-6 gallon buckets on bottom shelves, with your #10 canned items on top. Organization can also help with rotation. Keep items with a shorter shelf life towards the front, and newly purchased items towards the back of the shelves.
These are just a few tips to help you "Spring Clean" your personal Food Storage. What are some tips you can think of?