Once you've taken the time to reorganize your pantry, it's important to maintain the progress you've made. To prevent another all-out pantry purge down the road, use these three steps for maintaining this essential kitchen space.
Get rid of everything that's stale, expired, or infested (it happens). Now look at what you've got left. You're only going to put back those boxes that look like old friends because you've finished and repurchased them so many times. Anything else has to go.

Shop for Your Pantry
Let's talk about how your pantry should work. I tell people that you can't have more books than you have room on your bookshelves, and the same logic applies to all other shelves, cupboards, and drawers in your home. If you overstuff your pantry, you won't use it effectively. Before you go shopping, compare your pantry to your shopping list. Make sure you haven't listed items you already have enough of. A lot of pantry purchases are impulse buys. You pick up yet another box of instant oatmeal because it seems like something you might need, only to come home and find you already have three boxes. This is why you must make a list before you shop and stick to it. If you have limited room in your pantry (and who doesn't?), you need to think carefully before you buy anything. If you only use flour occasionally, don't buy a five-pound bag. Resist the great price on the restaurant-size jar of mayonnaise. You only need enough tomato sauce for one week—you can always buy more. Let me say that again: "Enough" is a week's supply. You're not going into hibernation for winter.

Avoid Clutter Foods
When you shop for your pantry, be mindful of clutter foods. Like the boxes full of who-knows-what filling your basement or garage, clutter foods are foods that you think you should have in your house but don't really eat.

Let's examine some of the foods that take up room in our cupboards.
Excerpted from Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? by Peter Walsh. Copyright © 2008 by Peter Walsh Design, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Free Press, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.


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