Starting the Year off on the Right Foot
By the time the end of the holiday season rolls around, I'd venture to say that most of us have lost our organization in the kitchen. Hosting holiday get togethers is amazingly fun, but it does take a lot of work and when you are cooking and cleaning for a crowd, it's often easier to put the dishes away wherever and decide to deal with it later.
Well, later is here.
Now that the hustle and bustle of holiday prep work is over, and you've got some time, why not do a deep clean and organization of the room that has the most traffic - your kitchen? It is so much easier to work in a kitchen that is well organized, and one in which you use everything you've got, with no extraneous clutter.
- Pull everything out - It's difficult to know what you have if it's all hidden in the back of a cupboard, so pull it all out of the dark recess and see what you have. I was astounded to learn that I had 39 coffee mugs. 39!! Now, I love me some coffee, but I don't need 49 of the things. It's interesting to see the fruits of your packratedness right in front of you - it's pretty hard to deny that you have a problem when you see a dozen mismatched plates right in front of you.
- Get some empty boxes - When you see that you've got a couple of bowls that you never use, don't try to find a place for them - load them right into an empty box destined for the thrift store. You may not need five serving bowls, but there's a better than average chance that someone else could use that specific bowl. Don't put anything back in your cabinets that you haven't used in the last year. Just don't do it.
- Look it over and match it up - Put those reusable containers on the counter and find the tops. If there's no match, out it goes. You won't find it, you won't use it - so don't keep it.
- Clean the empty cabinets - Use a gentle, non abrasive cleaner and wipe the inside of the cabinets down - don't forget the doors. Line the shelves with shelf paper (parchment works well for this too!).
- Put the (hopefully much reduced) kitchen gear away - Take the time, when you are putting things away, to organize them. Put the plates and bowls together, near the silverware, and put the cups near the refrigerator - we didn't do this until this year, despite living in this house for almost ten year. It made an AMAZING difference in streamlining the kitchen to move the glasses to the other side, so take a minute to really think about the layout of your kitchen.
- Create work stations - I put all of the baking stuff together, and all of the food storage goes into another area. The wraps and baggies are in cabinet baskets that are attached to the inside of the pantry door. I try to make things are easy to use as possible, in hopes that other people will actually use them.
- Finished? Stand back and admire your handiwork.
How do you organize your kitchen?