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Tips for Using Pantry Items Before You Move

April 3, 2022 | Moving Guides & Tips

The period in between moving to your new home and moving out of your current one can come with a difficult planning period for a lot of different reasons, but especially when it comes to using pantry items before you move, or when trying to plan out your grocery shopping trips so you don’t waste food when moving. 

If you’re not headed too far, you can often just bring many pantry items with you, but that’s not the case for moving over longer distances. If you’re looking for some tips for using pantry items before you move, you’ve come to the right place. Plus, we’ll include some helpful methods to avoid wasting food before or during your relocation process so you cant bring along what you can, and go through what you don’t!

Declutter & Organize Your Kitchen

Before you start figuring out how to get rid of your pantry items or how to go through all of your perishables before your move, you’ll first need to go through every area where food is stored. This will not only give you a better idea of what you have and what you need to work through, but will also let you get rid of expired items or things that you’re not going to eat. 

Going through your perishable items will also let you clean your fridge as you go, and let you get rid of anything that might have already gone bad. Then, go through your pantry and also get rid of expired items and things that may have just been laying around for a while. 

When going through your fridge or pantry, sort your remaining food into categories. Take stock of frozen items, refrigerated items, canned items, boxed items, and cooking and baking supplies/ingredients.  Make sure to write down how much you have of each item. 

If you still have some time before you move, start planning meals around making use of these items, and use it as an incentive to cook more at home and try out new recipes! This will also allow you to not have to worry about moving frozen food or perishable items. 

Doing all of this well ahead of your move will save you a lot of time and effort in clearing out your food items, and will save you from having to throw out a bunch of food out the day of your move. 

It also isn’t great to leave a ton of food trash outside of your old residence after you leave. This could also lead you to get fined by your landlord or neighborhood for littering. You can never be too early when taking an inventory of your food supplies! 

How to Determine What Food to Get Rid Of

Before we get into how to use up your pantry items before your move, let’s discuss what to do with perishable items that you might want to eat before you leave or find options to sort through things if you have too many perishables to use up before you move. 

When go through your fridge or through perishable items, this might go without saying, but as we said before, throw out anything that’s expired or is about to expire (whether they’re pantry items or perishables). Pay special attention to condiments or dressings – they often fly under the radar and can end up being months or years out of date. 

If you can’t use up all of your food prior to the day of your move, donate any non-perishables you can. Bring your items to a local food bank or non-profit that benefits the community. Don’t let your items go to waste just because you can’t take them!

For any remaining items, pack food in secure containers for short term moves and bring them over last if you’re moving short distance. If you’re moving long-distance, make sure they are secure and can withstand anything that might occur while in shipment. If you’re in doubt, throw it out. 

How to Use Up Food Before a Move

Whether you’re looking to get rid of pantry or perishable items, the best thing to do is to eat them of course! If you find yourself with a bunch of random pantry products or perishables that you’re not sure how to work with, you’ll need to get creative with your recipes and figure out how to make all of your remaining food items work. 

Look up various recipes and try to balance out nutrition and flavors – stir fries, anyone? Check out things that need a lot of combinations or that will utilize everything (or most things) that you need to get rid of. 

Tips to Use Up Your Pantry Items

Luckily for you, using up pantry items can be a lot easier than using up perishable items. From bread, to beans, to canned corns and things like that, you can find a recipe to work with just about anything! Plus, with canned items and things like that, you can also usually bring shelf stable items with you to your new home if you want to. Most canned items will last and be in fine condition for even a long distance move.  

Best Foods to Donate Before a Move

If you don’t think you’ll be able to get through all of your non-perishables before moving day, you might wonder what you can donate to your local food banks or pantries. After all, this will let you work through on your own to use and eat and what to just donate initially. Plus, you’ll be able to help out people in need while not being wasteful with your food items. 

The following are the best foods to donate and the foods most food banks and pantries are looking for:

  • Canned Vegetables 

Canned vegetables with no sodium are great things to donate to food banks, soup kitchens, and more. These items go the distance, and usually have expiration dates years in advance. 

  • Canned Beans

Just like with canned vegetables, canned beans with no sodium are great assets to any food pantry or soup kitchen, and can really go the distance and help people out. 

  • Pasta 

Unopened pasta, especially whole wheat or vegetable pasta, lasts for a really long time and is extremely versatile. 

Some more great food donations for local pantries or food banks include:

  • Peanut Butter
  • Crackers
  • Cereal
  • Granola
  • Cereal Bars
  • Applesauce Cups (Unsweet)
  • Canned Tuna
  • Canned Soups

These foods are amazing to donate to food banks, and are also really easy to work through on your own as well. Things like cereal, cereal bars, pasta, and canned vegetables can be used day to do, and tuna and soups can be made into and incorporated into many different types of meals, and can be very convenient to work through while you’re working to pack things up and get moved anyway. 

How to Pack Food

For the non-perishable items you haven’t eaten and are going to take with you, it’s good to know how to pack up this food to bring them with you safely and securely. That being said, don’t try to bring perishable items like fruits, vegetables, or frozen items with you over long distances – they most likely won’t make it, or will spoil along the way. 

Try to use small or medium sized packing boxes for your food and canned items, and take care not to overstuff them. When you overstuff boxes (especially large ones) with canned items, or things with glass containers, they can easily get too heavy to comfortably manage and can cause damage to the contents inside. Having smaller boxes that aren’t too overstuffed will make the entire process easier. 

Within your boxes, try to have a good strategy for packing your goods. Place baking items like flour, sugar, salt, and the like inside additional airtight containers or in sealed bags to keep anything from leaking or spilling during your journey.  

You’ll also want to store glasses or plastic bottles, (i.e. shelf stable sauces or condiments) in sealed bags in case they spill or break along the way. You can also wrap particularly fragile bottles with bubble wrap to make sure they don’t break during your journey. 

Additionally, make sure to label your boxes containing food items especially clearly to make sure they’re not stored in unreached areas, under heavy boxes or furniture, or just otherwise lost. 

No matter what sort of move you’re embarking upon, eating your perishables and learning tips for using up pantry items before a move is a great move to conserve food and move smarter. Spread help to those in need with your unused items, or maybe ever discover a new favorite food from one of the recipes you’ve tried to pair with some food you need to get through. Plus, taking some non-perishables with you will let you move into your new home without completely bare cabinets. 

No matter the distance or scope of your move, packing and moving smarter is key for a successful transition. The other key? Using the right movers for your relocation. Contact Bekins Van Lines today to learn more about our varied and personalized moving services. 

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