Ina Garten's Spring Cleaning Tips That Should Be At The Top Of Your To-Do List

Your spring cleaning list probably includes lots of window washing, dusting, and perhaps even tackling the garage (maybe!) Every area of your home can benefit from some refreshing updates and tidying up after a long winter. It's easy enough to toss stuff wherever it fits when the holidays keep you busy or when winter weather makes you want to do nothing more than cuddle up with a book. Now that's spring's here, it's time to tackle those bigger jobs. Ina Garten, well-known for her Food Network show, "Barefoot Contessa" says there's one area that needs a refresh this spring that you may not have thought about: your pantry!

Spring cleaning offers a number of benefits, from helping to improve health by getting rid of the dust and mold build-up potentially lurking behind those empty boxes to helping to increase self-esteem by creating the perfect level of organization. Your pantry is likely the spot where you toss everything in and rush to close the door when company is coming over. Instead, why not clean it out and update it so it can better serve your needs throughout the spring and summer entertainment-heavy months?

The best way to organize your pantry is to make it a clean, usable space that fits your family's specific needs. However, to make the most of this space, Garten recommends two big steps: get rid of the stuff you're not using and then stock it up with everything you need.

Ditching the junk gives you pantry room and relieves stress

If you've ever watched an episode of "Barefoot Contessa" where Ina Garten steps into her big, open pantry to find just the right ingredients in a super-organized, highly clean space, you know just how satisfying that type of space can be. To make your kitchen pantry this organized, you have to start by getting rid of the expired or useless junk lurking in there.

In an Instagram post, Garten shares, "Every year, I organize my pantry and weed out old oils and baking powder." If you haven't purged your pantry to get rid of the expired cans of food or the baking ingredients you never use, start there. Garten also went further in her effort to create a fantastic space stating, "This year, I got clear plastic containers for all those messy chocolate chip and dried bean packages. It's easier to see what I already have when I'm making a grocery list!" You can also get a bit more creative with how you store items, she continues, "I also like big white crocks with utensils on the counter so they're easy to reach — all the white and wood utensils in one and stainless steel in the other."

It's never simple to visualize an organized pantry when it's cramped and overstuffed. As a starting point, take everything out, ditch what's expired, and then purchase containers after you see what you'll really need them for.

Prime your pantry so everything you need is on hand and accessible

Perhaps you've thought of yourself once or twice as Ina Garten, creating fabulous meals and the perfect cocktail for guests by pulling everything she needs (from homemade vanilla to tins of saffron) right from the pantry. It's not as simple as just stocking up the pantry because you have to consider what you actually need and will use so you're not ditching everything in a few months. Once you know what you need, the next step is to organize it all.

In a podcast with Design Time, Garten offered a few tips. "I have like-minded things together. All the oils and vinegars together. I have all of the sweet things like honey and Karo syrup and molasses, all of those are together. All of the pastas are together, the grains are together. Chocolate and vanilla and things like that, and the baking suppliers are together. So, I have them grouped."

Organize your pantry in a way that makes sense for your family, placing items you use often within easier reach. You also don't want to make things hard for the kids by placing what they're looking for too high on the shelf. At the same time, make sure to use the simple high and low trick for pantry organization, where you're optimizing the vertical space present as well. Another tip is don't worry, your pantry will be messy, and you'll keep re-organizing. That's normal.