Spring Clean Your Pantry and Herbal Medicine Cabinet

Every once in a while you have to do it: there’s no getting around it and when you’re done, you know you will feel great. No, it’s not filing your taxes or finally getting to the gym; this is more basic than that. Cleaning out your pantry and herbal medicine cabinet is an important task that gets overlooked because its easy to forget what’s behind closed cabinet doors. Still, once a year or so, organizing your pantry and herbal medicine cabinets will show what you have, and prepare you for emergencies like power outages or illnesses.

Here are the steps for “spring” cleaning your pantry and herbal medicine cabinets:

Step 1: Sort. Pick a shelf, any shelf, and go through the contents quickly sorting what’s there into three categories: items that you haven’t used and don’t plan to use, items that are expired or out of date, and items that you know you’ll be using or have been using. When you have finished one shelf, go onto the next and repeat the process. Once you have completed all the shelves in the cabinet move onto Step 2.

Step 2: Toss. This part is easy: any out of date items can simply be thrown out. Some pharmacies accept out of date medicines and will take care of disposal for you. If you have a lot of medications and have concerns about throwing them in the trash, check with your local pharmacy about collection programs.

Step 3: Donate. Donate any unopened over the counter medicines or first aid supplies that are still within date to local homeless shelters.  Drop food items at the local food pantry or wait for the next food drive in your neighborhood (usually in the fall).

Step 4: Organize. This is the fun part: neatly arrange the items that are left. Since there will be lots of extra shelf space now that you’ve thrown out and donated excess items, it'll be easy to see exactly what you have and what you may need to replace. For example, are you prepared with enough canned and dry goods to make it through an extended power outage? Do you have enough herbal tea, bandages and first aid supplies to handle common illnesses and injuries? If not, purchase them here so you are ready.

It’s that simple: one shelf at a time, you can make a big difference in your pantry and your herbal medicine cabinet. Now, every time you open your cabinet doors, you’ll feel a sense of pride in how nice they look and knowing that you are ready for any of life’s little emergencies.