One of the many things I dread about moving is the purge. Going through everything and trying to get rid of as much as possible. It’s something that you have to start immediately, otherwise it never gets done. But the one area of the house that doesn’t give me anxiety is the kitchen, specifically
Going through the pantry is actually fun. I see it as a challenge to use up as much as I can before moving. This last move, instead of Googling “What to make with Ramen and Kool-Aid*,” I used 3 websites to find creative ways to use the food and pantry items I’d collected in the last 3 years.
Recipe Matcher has an extensive checklist of pantry and kitchen items and is super easy to use. It takes a little bit of time to add everything in your pantry to the list, but once it’s there, it’s quick to find you a way to use as many items as possible.
Recipe Key allows you to drag and drop items in your pantry and get recipes that use those items. You can even filter recipes by allergies or dietary restrictions.
Supercook is yet another site that finds recipes based on what’s in your kitchen. Supercook is very visual and has photos illustrating the recipe suggestions.
If you can’t use it, give it away.
Find a local food pantry to donate any unopened food or cleaning supplies. Try Feeding America, Foodpantries or Ample Harvest if you don’t know where a food bank is near you. Food banks are willing to take a lot of items, but they can’t accept any packages that have been opened (even if it was only once) or any packaged food with passed expiration dates.
Should I toss it? No, call your neighbor first.
We’ve all been on the receiving end of a PCS pare down a time or two and know there are just some things you can’t give away to a pantry or shelter. Things like half a bag of sugar or the opened bottle of Dawn dish soap.
Ask around. Neighbors and friends are often willing to take items off your hands if you have excess. If they can’t use it, they often know someone else who can and will use it.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve been given during a PCS-purge?
*OK, it wasn’t that bad, but there were some very strange combinations.