rows of canned soup on a pantry shelf

Decluttering food

Do mealtimes routinely find you standing in front of your full pantry feeling like there’s nothing to eat again?

Let’s play the eat it up challenge

Looking at what’s in your cupboards, write down a menu for tomorrow’s meals.

Sounds easy, but you’ll soon come up against the fact that your pantry’s most likely full of perfectly good food you dislike.

Your menu says oatmeal for breakfast and you have three large canisters of oatmeal, but you won’t actually be eating oatmeal tomorrow morning.  You only like the instant maple-syrup flavor packets of oatmeal and you don’t have any left. Pantry Challenge: Either try regular old oatmeal one more time or take out the oatmeal you’ll never eat and think of something else for breakfast.

Soup for lunch and you have plenty of it. Thirty-five cans of Italian wedding soup to be precise. Pay attention to whether you still like it. Odds are you don’t, since those cans were stacked up way in the back of the pantry. Can you either decide to eat it up over the next few weeks and never buy it again, or can you cut to the chase and donate the soup?

But what if I need it?

Part of your brain may worry that you’ll need all this food when the Apocalypse arrives. My guess is you won’t want to be relying on bulging cans of artichoke hearts and Bing cherries for sustenance at that point. If you’re serious about prepping for an emergency, make sure you enjoy the food you’re keeping and that you’re rotating your supplies regularly.

Keep eating down your pantry

Work your way through all the weird snacks and virtuous grains. Time to find out for sure whether you really like millet. Those fiery lime habenero potato chips will finally get their chance to shine in the snack bowl.

Marvel at how much fancy salt you own. Discover that you have tons of back up sauerkraut and only one small can of tomato sauce.

READ MORE >>> What’s behind your pantry problem?

The challenge is complete when you’ve either eaten everything in your food stores or taken it out and donated or disposed of it. Wipe down the shelves and start fresh with food you love eating. Extra points for taking this challenge into the fridge, the freezer and that huge meat locker full of Omaha steaks you got for Christmas in 1989. Spoiler alert: they have. Please don’t eat them.

READ MORE >>> How to declutter and organize

by Lucy Kelly


  1. Hmm, I may need to check the date on the Chicken Noodle soup I bought when we were both sick a while back! Even though we both like it, we just can’t bring ourselves to eat it now.