Spring hasn't been in any hurry to show up around here, and what little spring weather we've seen has been the blustery, wet and unwelcoming kind. So until we can (finally!) throw open the windows and start scrubbing things down and airing things out, I'm focusing on smaller inside projects.
One of the first that I tackled was cleaning out the pantry.
In the long, cold days of winter its easy to hoard your canned goods for peace of mind or to stock up on whatever went on sale for a great price. Things don't get rotated, a miscellaneous jar gets lost behind other things, and before you know it you have six year old food clogging up your cupboards and nothing to eat.
The easiest solution to this is to take a week this spring and declare it "clean out" week. Sort through your cabinets and check expiration dates. Anything that's close to expiration gets pulled out and put in the "use promptly" pile. Expired items get tossed (don't forget your spices - they do go bad and can actually be very bad for you once they've gone rancid, even if you don't taste the difference). Things that are still good can go back on the shelf.
You may have some funny looking meals for a few days while you use up random things, but you'll cut down on waste and clutter. You might even be inspired to try some new things just to use up what you've got! This is also a great time to make a few notes for yourself about what you bought/canned and never used. Sale brand turned out to be nasty? That jam recipe didn't appeal? Make a note somewhere so you don't waste more money on it again in the future!
It's not the most glamorous of projects, but it will go a long way towards keeping you healthy, keeping your kitchen functional, and making the most of your budget.