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Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and on top of everything else you have to deal with, you might notice you’re running out of room for all those ingredients!

Boxes of stuffing, cans of cranberry (come on, we can all admit the canned stuff is better), jars and jars of turkey seasoning…sure, it’ll all make for a great Thanksgiving meal when the day comes, but kitchen storage is at a premium this time of year and you’re not sure what to do with it all.

Luckily, you’re not alone! Plenty of people have this problem this time of year, and a quick way to tackle it is to clean out that pantry. A lot of your Thanksgiving supplies can be safely stored in your pantry until the big day, and it’s not nearly as daunting a task as you might think:

Start by taking out the trash: There’s probably a lot of stuff in your pantry that doesn’t need to be there anymore. Drag a trash can over there and get started by tossing out anything that’s starting to look a little suspicious – ancient flour, cracker boxes that are mostly crumbs and salt, pasta sauce from 2014. A good rule of thumb to remember is that herbs and spices are good for about six months, stuff like honey and brown sugar can last basically forever, and everything else really needs to go by the expiration date.

Find what to donate: Maybe you’re sitting on a box of canned goods that aren’t old enough to get thrown out but aren’t going to get used anytime soon. Stuff like that can always be replaced, and there’s bound to be someone that needs it a little more than you – find a local food bank ( is a good place to look) that can take it off your hands and give it to a family in need.

Don’t be afraid to scrub a little: A lot of people think ‘cleaning the pantry’ just means throwing out everything that’s gone bad, but while you’re in there you can do a lot of good by dusting off whatever’s left. Take a warm wet towel and some dish soap and wipe down the shelves and any surviving canned goods to keep them dust-free. Spilled honey or sauce should be scrubbed out with some baking soda and hot water, and after everything is clean you’ll have a safer place to keep your canned goods.

Get organized: A lot of people tend to put things in their pantry as they buy them without a ton of worry as to where it’s going or how to best organize everything. Instead, as you start putting everything back, take a little time to organize everything by size, shape, and type to keep everything easier to get to. Pantry organizers can help sort canned goods and keep them together and out of the way of everything else, and then you can work on arranging things by size or container (boxes, bags, cans, etc) to prevent this sort of mess from happening next year.

Focus on your Thanksgiving stuff: Of course, while you’re reorganizing, you’re going to want to remember why you reorganized your cabinets in the first place: Thanksgiving! Make sure you have easy access to all that stuffing and pumpkin pie filling – when the big day comes, you’re going to need it front and center, ready to go.

Not quite ready to cook that bird for the family? We’ve got a few more Thanksgiving tips coming up – and in the meantime, don’t panic!

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