Pare Down Your Pantry in 30 Minutes or Less

Photo: David TsayBy Meredith Bryan

Organization expert Peter Walsh shares his best pieces of advice for cleaning out your kitchen.

Time Required: 30 minutes

Check the Dates
Immediately get rid of those long-expired pickles and cake mixes and the can of chicken soup you bought to cure a nasty cold in 2005.

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Banish "Aspirational" Foods

The sun-dried-tomato tapenade you planned to serve at the dinner party you didn't get around to hosting? The hearty dry-bean soup mix whose instructions sound like a drag? "Let it go," says Walsh. "Anything you don't use regularly or have immediate plans to use is in danger of being wasted."

Group "Like" Foods
Assign each category--canned beans, pasta sauces, packaged snacks--its own section of shelf, and keep only what fits in the allotted space. Pack everything else into a box marked "donate."

Atone for Your Waste

In addition to dropping off edible non-perishables at a local food bank, "estimate the cost of your expired cans--and write a check for that amount," suggests Walsh. "That will help you commit to eating what you buy."

Get Rid of it for Good
Visit foodpantries.org to find a soup kitchen or food bank near you.

KEEP READING: Where to Get Rid of Anything

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