Step 3: Organize
By now, your cleaned pantry and refrigerator will be dry and ready for restocking. Take some time to get organized first. Line your pantry shelves with shelf liner, which makes for easy cleanup in the future, and add bins and baskets to corral like items (all of those granola bars, for example). Invest in glass or plastic containers to store bulk shelf-stable items like pasta, flour, sugar, tea bags, and more.
The same goes for the fridge: Use a refrigerator-friendly organizer to dispense cans of soda, a bin to hold cheeses, and a sturdy plastic egg holder to replace the store’s Styrofoam container. You can even invest in reusable produce bags, which help remove ethylene gas and prolong the freshness of your vegetables.
Step 4: Restock your food
Add back the food you kept, being mindful of how you place things in the pantry. For example, you may want to keep juice boxes on a lower shelf, so children can easily access them. Keep everyday things like cereal in an easy-to-reach spot. Finally, group by category: Keep all your baking supplies together, and store your cans of diced tomatoes in a row, so you can check your inventory with one glance.
Stocking the fridge can be even more strategic. Use your upper shelves (often the coldest part of the fridge) for leftovers, drinks, or ready-to-eat food like yogurt or cheese. Use drawers for produce and meats, but make sure the meat drawer is below the produce, to decrease risk of contamination from drips. Finally, do not put dairy like eggs or milk on the door, since it’s the warmest zone. The door is best for condiments or juices, which are more resistant to temperature fluctuations.
Once you’ve restocked, don’t forget to complete the project by donating your unused food and buying the replacement items you noted in step two. Your kitchen will be off to a clean and orderly start in the New Year — your new gym routine is still on you!