Friday, March 6, 2015

Spring Cleaning | De-Clutter Your Kitchen!

Spring is just around the corner and it's time to whip your place into shape! Start your spring cleaning with a few, simple tips on how to de-clutter your kitchen.




 1. Assess your mug collection.
Do you really need that M&M mug from 10 years ago? (You don't even like M&Ms!) Or that souvenir mug from spring break? (You never even had coffee there!) If left unchecked, mugs can pile up and take over precious real estate in your cupboards. Based on how often you drink tea or coffee, you really only need four mugs and two travel mugs. Start by chucking the ones that have no meaning to you or are inconvenient to use (not microwave safe, difficult to hold, etc.).
2. Evaluate your Tupperware.
Chances are you have far too many and none of them match. Get rid of any that contain BPA, are missing lids, have cracks, or are warped from a too-hot dishwasher or microwave. If you're still left with an insurmountable pile, choose which style or material you like best and toss the rest. If you're ready to upgrade completely, I suggest Pyrex.
3. What's in your tool drawer?
Do you really need a lime squeezer, a cherry pitter and an apple corer when you hardly like fruit? How often do you really bake bundt cakes? Clear your drawers of all the crap by deciding which tools are actually useful to you. If you don't love paninis then that 12 pound panini press is just wasting space. When people know you love to cook, they tend to gift you a bunch of random shit. (Excuse my French.) Don't be a slave to Auntie Jane's Jell-O molds.
4. Holiday horrors.
Themed placemats make me want to cry. I'm all for a good tablescape, but why waste precious storage space with 12 wooden Easter Bunny placemats and Reindeer napkin holders? Try to whittle it down to two day-to-day place settings, and one formal place setting. For holidays, simply update your look with pretty (and disposable) party poppers, "the good china," some colorful candles, and just a dash of bric-a-brac. You can convey "Thanksgiving" without Turkey plates.
5. No more Big Gulps.
Those stacks of to-go cups are not doing anything to solidify your adult status. Get rid of the piles of sorority cups, while you're at it.

image via theintentionalminimalist.com

Now it's time to clear your fridge and pantry. Here's where to start:
1. Anything past its expiration date.
It's not worth finding out the hard way if expired pudding really expires when it says it does.
2. Anything you may be allergic to (or aren't supposed to eat).
This seems like a no-brainer, but even supremely health-conscious people can forget to check the label. If you have frequent stomachaches, try eliminating common allergens such as corn, gluten, and dairy. Be aware of all the names the ingredient might be listed as and read labels carefully. Even your "super healthy" protein shakes could be making you sick. Similarly, if you've been put on a specific diet by a health care professional, toss out the junky cereals, cookies, or whatever might tempt you to stray.
3. Foods you don't like and foods you never use.
If no one's going to eat those cans of garbanzo beans you bought on a whim, donate them to a local food shelter. If the items are perishable, try to give them to a friend or neighbor and just be more realistic about what you like next time you're shopping. For example: I love salads, but my lettuce always goes bad because I hate preparing them. I love avocados, but somehow never eat them before they spoil. Making a menu for each week before you grocery shop is one of the best ways to prevent food waste.
4. Anything that may have lost its potency.
That old rack of spices might be sabotaging your recipes. Though they don't typically include an expiration date, herbs, spices, and teas should be replaced frequently or they may have a stale or too mild taste. Put a purchase date on these items so you can keep track of when something has become too old.

Of course, this list is just scratching the surface, but once you start cleansing your house, you'll find that it is totally liberating and addicting. Cheers to a cleaner home!








p.s. Please be sure to donate all items that are still in useable condition with minimal wear and tear. You may no longer want your kitchen tools, but they could all the difference to a family in need.

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