Happy Health Habits: Pantry Cleanout

This month, we will be focusing on some Happy Health habits, alongside some decluttering projects and other Home habits.  Taking care of your health is one home habit you don’t want to neglect!  You’ve got to keep yourself healthy, in order to have the energy you need to care for your family and keep up with your responsibilities.  Since this week’s zone is the kitchen, we’ll hit 2 birds with 1 stone, by cleaning out the pantry cupboards!

Simple Steps to Cleaning and Organizing the Pantry

You may be lucky enough to have a full pantry, or you may have your food stores spread out over several kitchen cabinets like me.  Either way, you will want to routinely cull through your shelves and cupboards to keep it tidy in preparation for meals, and to make sure its contents are stocked with healthy snacks and food choices.  Whether you are dieting, or just trying to create healthy habits, you need to make sure that your pantry is full of things that support your health, rather than just junk!

First, let’s tackle the clean-out:

1. Only tackle one shelf at a time.  There is bound to be quite a few items in there.  Don’t pull out too much at once.  You don’t want to pull everything out in the kitchen, and end up with a huge mess you have to cleanup later.  I try to work in 15 min. sessions, focus on just one shelf.

2. Make a sorting station.  You want to have nearby counters or table clear so you have a place to sort the contents you will pulling out of the cupboard.  Rule #1:  Don’t even think about attempting to clean out the pantry until your counters are clear, otherwise you will just be adding more mess to the kitchen.  Follow the general rule for decluttering, make sure the outer spaces of the room are picked up before diving into the inside spaces of the room.

3. Pull-out it all out and sort it!  As quickly as you can pull out the contents of 1 shelf onto your clear counter or table.  Sort the contents into like-item groups.  Then look at each item individually and decide whether you want to keep it.  (The video below will help you with this step).  Check the dates and see if anything is expired.  You may want to have two tools handy:  the garbage can for disposing of items, and a paper sack or box for any items you want to donate to food bank or shelters.  Work as fast as you can.  You may want to set your timers.  I try to tackle the whole shelf in 15 min:  5 min. for pull-out and separating into piles, 5 min. for eliminating items, and 5 min. to put away neatly (after a quick wipe of the cabinet). You may take a little longer at 1st, and that’s fine — just don’t pull out more than you can tackle in an hour!

4.  Wipe your shelf and return good stuff to cabinet.  With a warm wet cloth, wipe off the shelf and then dry it.  Now you are ready to put back what you are keeping.  You may want to utilize containers to separate small or opened items.  I found some fabulous stackable containers at Wal-Mart to sort our lunch snacks into (pictured at right).  I put my opened bags of pasta into Tupperware containers and stacked those in my pasta cupboard.  When you use containers, you can easily pull one thing out at a time.  For deep cabinets, consider putting a long plastic bin or basket that fits the depth of the cabinet, so you can easily pull the container out and locate what you need.  Once everything is back in, you are ready to rest or move onto another shelf.  One shelf a day is the easy way to declutter your kitchen.

The Healthy Pantry

Now, we that we dealt with the how-to’s, let’s think about what we should be keeping in the pantry.  If you want to get healthy, there are 2 lurkers you want to expel from your cabinets: High Fructose Corn syrup and any Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.  These 2 ingredients are poison for the body, and they keep you eating, and eating, and eating!!  If you want to get healthy, ruthlessly get rid of items that have these in the ingredient list.  Start stocking your pantry with healthy items.  The closer to what’s made naturally instead of in a factory, the better it will be for you.  Here is a fabulous video from www.bloodsugarsolution.com to help you get started on a healthy pantry clean-out.  It really inspired me to sort through my cupboards:

http://vimeo.com/37336503

I will allow my husband to finish off his Chips Ahoy, and then I’ll be replacing them with something that won’t kill him!  By the way, if someone in your family insists on getting themselves unhealthy snacks, just create a healthy snack center for yourself in another cabinet, so you don’t have to look at them all the time and be tempted.  Have fun decluttering your kitchen.  Happy Flying!

FLYing Basics: Day 31 Slow and Steady Wins the Race!

Congratulations, you have made it through the basics of FLYing!! If you have continued to jump back in (even off and on) and have continued working on at least 1 habit, you are FLYing!  Take a bow!

This is just the starting of building routines in our homes.  Good habits are built through daily repeating our efforts and moving forward.  It’s ok if you weren’t able to stay on track with me everyday.  Just keep moving forward and making progress at your own pace.  Go back and review where you left off and then continue.  None of us becomes Suzy Homemaker overnight!  To do anything well, you must be willing to work hard and discipline yourself.

I am amazed at the difference these steps have made for my routines after 10 years of Flying — I am now learning how to create real habits!  Slow and steady is the right way, and it doesn’t matter how long it takes to get there.  We do it one habit at a time. If there is a habit you are ready to add, but have trouble remembering or focusing on, try posting up a post-it reminder somewhere you will be sure to see it.

When life gets hectic, just return to the basics.  Its simple.  On busy days, I stick with my Big 3 routines for each part of my day.  When my home gets chaotic, I start with my kitchen sink and work through my Morning routine list, no matter the time of day.  You know what you need to do.  It’s ok to do it in baby steps.  In fact, that is the best way!  Each day is a chance to do better than the day before.  Just keep moving.  Your home will be loving you before you know it.

Today’s Mission:

Go grab something nice to drink, and enjoy reading a testimonial from Marla “The Flylady” about her experience during her 1st year of Flying: http://www.flylady.net/d/getting-started/why-fly/personal-testimonial/   I can’t believe after 10 years I had never read it. Her story really puts the baby step method into focus.  No one achieves success at this overnight.  Just take a look at how Flylady did it!  You may get some good ideas to implement for the future; I sure did!  Enjoy!  Keep Flying!