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Spring Clean to Fight Hunger

April 10, 2024

Spring has sprung! It’s that magical time of year again when Winter has finally loosened its cold grip and the world blooms with vibrant, new energy. In this season of renewal, we cast off the old and embrace the new. As a matter of fact, about 80% of Americans are already in on this annual tradition: Spring Cleaning. Let the light in, bid the dust bunnies a goodbye, and soak up the freshness of Spring. A great place to start is going through your kitchen pantry. 

In honor of  National Clean-up Your Pantry Day this month, we’re helping you get started on Spring cleaning your pantry. Taking time to go through your pantry is a great way to reduce your food waste and keep tabs on your kitchen’s stock. If you haven’t done it in a while it can seem daunting, but we’ve got you covered. Here are 5 steps to spring clean your pantry:

1. Empty

Start by clearing out everything, and we mean everything. Once it’s all out, divide your food into groups: pastas, rice, cans, bread, snacks, etc. This is a good time to take inventory so you don’t buy 5 more cans of beans the next time you go to the store when you already have 15. 

2. Clean

Grab your vacuum, spray, and a cloth - it’s time to get rid of all those crumbs. Since it’s the heart of the home, the kitchen can feel like an overwhelming place to start your Spring clean and a proper clean out takes planning and a few days to complete. Be patient with yourself and go one section at a time. Here are a few areas, other than your pantry, in your kitchen to be mindful of cleaning:

  • Coffee Pot
  • Oven/Microwave
  • Fridge Shelves/Drawers
  • Stovetop

Understanding your consumption patterns not only minimizes waste and saves money but also informs your planning for tasks like spring cleaning. While most Americans report taking 3-5 days to finish their spring cleaning, this process is a prime opportunity for evaluating what you truly need. By integrating this awareness into your spring cleaning routine, the goal of buying only what's necessary becomes more achievable. This approach aids in preventing overwhelm and ensures a smooth transition into the task at hand. Hence, creating a chart or checklist can be invaluable in keeping you focused and on track.

3. Check

Now that you have clean shelves and your food in groups, it’s time to check your cans and for expiration dates. If you’re wanting to donate cans to a local food pantry you’ll want to make sure they are in good shape with no cracked tops, major dents, or leaks. If you’re unsure about food quality and expiration dates, check out our guide to food labels and expiration dates.

4. Organize

Decluttering is the best way to set yourself up for success when it comes to organizing. 

  • Group similar items together. 
  • Ensure everything has a place. 
  • Repurpose jars and containers (make sure to re-label them).

Incorporating these practices into your pantry helps your pantry stay organized for a longer period of time. Being able to see all of your food is really helpful when it comes to minimizing your food waste. Place items you want to use up towards the front of your pantry so you are more likely to grab them when it comes time to cook. A clean, accessible pantry is better for you and your family. 

5. Donate

Once you’ve collected your donations, reach out to your neighbors and community for any extra non-perishables that may be lying around. Chances are they are also in the Spring cleaning spirit! If you're feeling truly inspired, consider organizing a food drive. It’s easy and our team at Move For Hunger will walk you through the entire process. If you have fewer than 25 boxes, feel free to take them to the food bank yourself, but make sure to send us a weight receipt so it counts toward our collective goal. Donating excess food helps minimize food waste and helps provide meals to those in need.

Food banks often need the following items:

  • Peanut Butter
  • Canned Soup
  • Pasta
  • Canned Veggies & Fruit
  • Rice

Keep in mind many food banks rely on donations, so doing mini pantry audits throughout the year helps you and your community. 

Sometimes big cleanouts can feel overwhelming, but take it one step at a time and you’ll have a clean and organized pantry in no time! Spring Into Action with us for our annual food drive; there's no better time to fight hunger than now.

Follow our social channels (@moveforhunger) to stay up to date on hunger news and the impact our network is making!

Categories: Food Drive
Tagged with: SpringClean