Spring Cleaning for Pantries: Tip #1

Just as we store winter throws and clothes; switch out door wreaths; plant pots and make countless other small changes in our  homes to reflect the change of season, let's not forget the kitchen pantry.  In fact, I suggest beginning spring cleaning just there.

Pantries and cabinets over-run with "stuff" and appearing disorganized, make one feel over-run and disorganized every time they are opened, every time one goes to cook.  We can only cook efficiently and joyfully everyday when the kitchen and pantry are well stocked and well organized.   I have three spring cleaning tips for pantries.  Here is the first.  The second and third will be on the next two posts.

Spring Cleaning for Pantries
1.  Keep ingredients visible

It's a simple as this.  If they can't be seen, they won't be used.  Ingredients should be stored as much as possible out of their packaging.  This is part of my ritual of unpacking from the grocery store.  Squares of unsweetened baking chocolate and sticks of butter are taken out of their heavier cardboard exteriors and  are stacked in their clear paper wraps.   Produce to be used soon goes on a platter for the counter.  Apples are washed and placed in a bowl.  Lemons are placed in another bowl.  A lot of lemons go in a large silver bowl.  Fresh parsley is placed in a glass of water or small pitcher.  Like a parsley bouquet,  it sets on the windowsill.   Other items are stored in my collection of attractive, functional, clear containers.  Dried fruits, nuts, rice, lentils and more can be kept in glass storage jars.   A set with flip lids is nice for exactly this purpose.  I am partial to glass to avoid food being in contact with plastic and, it simply looks nicer.  Once I started with this system, I went further and further. Even chocolate chips come out of the bag and into a glass flip top. 

Storing ingredients in such a fashion, brings them back to more of their original state.  The appeal of the ingredients is far greater out of the plastic; out of the busy wrap; out of the flurry of legally approved marketing messages.  It also makes it much easier to know when you're low on something.  But here is the greatest benefit of removing ingredients from their packaging:  When we see, our minds start creating.  We can, finally and literally, see the possibilities.