With the advent of March comes spring, and with spring comes spring cleaning. While you’re purging your toys,clothes and DVD collection, make your way to the kitchen and give your pantry a makeover, as well. Below are some simple ideas to help make the most out of your pantry space and a fresh start to your culinary storage for the year.

Empty and Clean

The first step to truly revamping your kitchen storage space is to simply remove everything from the shelves. This will allow you to give each shelf a wipedown and gather any loose grains or popped sorghum kernels that might have spilled throughout the year. A fresh, clean surface will make organizing easier.

Check Expiration Dates

Before replacing items on the shelves, make sure to check the expiration of both opened and unopened products. If stored in an airtight container, grains, like sorghum, will typically keep for up to six months in a cool, dry pantry. Be sure to throw away any items that have passed their expiration or best by date.Rotate sundries so that those with sooner expiration dates are placed toward the front of the cabinet and are ready to be used.

Use Containers to Organize

A great way to keep like items together is to purchase containers of different sizes and shapes to create dividers within shelving. A visit to your local homegoods store will offer a lot of options including bins for boxes and cans, clear containers for loose grain sorghum or other dry goods, and maybe even an over the door shoe rack to store individual spices, bags of chips or cookies.

Implement a Label System

Although it may seem arbitrary, creating labels for sections of your pantry could be a great way to reduce clutter for a busy family. This would allow anyone to immediately identify the correct area for items such as breakfast foods, canned goods and baking items. It would also be useful to create an area on a lower shelf just to store snacks that are easy to grab for the kids in your home.

Create Reusable Bag Storage

Many grocery stores are requiring, or at least encouraging, the use of reusable shopping bags. However, after a shopping excursion, these bags may ended up scattered across the pantry floor. You can utilize wall storage, such as magazine racks, to store nicely folded reusable shopping bags out of the way after you’ve shelved your last jar of sorghum syrup.

Hang a Clipboard for Notes

Especially if you have a large pantry area, it is hard to keep track of what you already have when you are doing weekly meal planning. A clipboard or notepad attached to the back of the pantry door can serve as a running inventory list or an easy place to store your grocery list so you never run out of sorghum flour.