Organizing the Kitchen

Love your Kitchen! Let it be the Center of Holiday Activity

Wouldn’t it be great to know exactly where to find things including muffin tin liners or the turkey baster you know you have? The organizing habit you begin today will get you on track for a future with a neat kitchen. In ‘Organizing for the Holidays’ we talked about how it takes from 2 to 4 weeks to form a habit so if you’ve already started with your hall closets you’re well on the way.

Toss and Clean

What are you storing in your fridge? If the condiments expired before the last election you’re probably hanging on too long; check the dates and toss everything that’s expired. Next, the leftovers, and they too might fall into the ‘expired’ category. A rule of thumb for leftovers is that after 3 days it’s probably safe to toss them. Your fridge should be home to frequently used items like milk, juice, cheeses, and eggs plus condiments like ketchup, mustards, jams, and sauces. The fridge drawers should be used for fresh vegetables, fruits, and meats.

Before each grocery shopping trip, take a few minutes to clear out the refrigerator shelves and wash them with warm soapy water; don’t forget the drawers and racks in the door. You’ll thank yourself when you return from the store.

Plan A head and Make a List

The bonuses of shopping with a list are that you’ll save money not buying impulsively and you’ll take fewer trips to the store in the course of a month.

While making your list, plan 5 to 7 days’ worth of meals in advance. For example, think about a typical week and list breakfast items like milk, bread, cereal, eggs, coffee, and sugar. Then list lunch foods like sandwich meats, cheeses, soups, juices, and fruits. For suppers, you’ll need meats and entrees, vegetables and staples such as rice, beans, potatoes, and pasta. Don’t deviate from your list while you’re in the store unless it’s critical; chips and dips may or may not be considered critical.

Pantry and Cupboards

Organizing the pantry and cupboards should follow the same process as the refrigerator and grouping like items together will make them easier to find. Consider using plastic containers for cereals, rice, and dry goods so you can keep track of how much you have. They usually fit on pantry shelves better than the original containers.

You might pick up wire racks from the hardware or department store; they’ll double your storage capacity for canned goods, boxed soups, and puddings and if your pantry is fairly deep you could consider installing slide-out shelves.

Take advantage of storage solutions found at most department stores and stick with the organizing habit you’ve started. You will be amazed at the peace of mind you’ll have when your guests arrive for the holiday!

Essential Culinary Equipment

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