With the continued stay at home order in effect in Maryland I have found myself cooking more than usual. I haven’t particularly improved my palette or expanded my repertoire but I have gotten better about navigating the kitchen quickly and with a little less mess. However, initially I was all over the place with pots and pans and spatulas and utensils, and ultimately Tupperware. One of the things I noticed spending time in the kitchen was how clutter the deep recess of the cabinets and drawers had become. So, Part 2 of this series is a deep de-cluttering of the kitchen. My de-cluttering took about 3 – 4 hours but I spent about an hour pouring out all the misc food storage items and finding lids for everything. However, lets begin in an unlikely place:
Spice Rack | Do all the cooking and trying new stuff with all the stay at home videos I realized my spice rack was ill prepared for my new found zest. It was appalling first to see so many of my spices had expired (up to 4 years ago) and many were at the bottom of their crusty remains. I also realized that numerous spices I had used once for that 1 thing and I never made it again. I tossed out several of the expired spices and even combined down duplicates. The best thing, my trash has never smelled so appealing.
Pantry | If you were like me when this thing began, you started to buy in bulk some items that you used frequently and were afraid of shortages. This created a need for additional space in an already unnecessarily packed pantry. Give this area an organizational once over. Organized canned and dry goods, certainly checking for expiration dates and now is a great time to donate never to be eaten foods to food pantries/shelters. If you have kids – then make sure you have organized easy to grab snacks to the bottom so they can self manage their quarantine snacking.
Fridge & Freezer | If your like me you probably look at a simple clean-out of these weekly for the easy to identified, need to be gone leftovers. However, what about the expired condiments of that salad dressing that sounded good that one time. My freezer was a haven for almost gone, little bit left, bags of stuff and misc items that needed to go. I also took the time to rearrange foods into specific areas so I could easily find them. The kids even got their own section for breakfast – easy to make items.
Kitchen Cabinets & Drawers | Now that you are warmed up, let’s tackle the big stuff. For me, it took literally emptying out each cabinet and assessing all the items together. It was a mess, but so therapeutic. I had old pots/pans that I hadn’t used in years shoved into the backs of hard to reach places. Inside the drawers were crumbs, so many crumbs, and I can’t remember why I decided to save the partially burned spatula. A lot of your old items can still be donated to give it a second life, but old takeout order lids can probably be tossed. However, using some of the plastic storage caddies for small items is also a great idea. I even discovered a large pan, that I had needed for 2 of my trial recipes and it found it’s way back to the front.
BONUS – UNDER THE SINK | This is that one place that things just go that no one ever wants to see. I tend to just reach in and feel around until I discover what I want but in this case everything came out. I then wiped down the cabinet, dishwasher soap leakage, was making it gunky, and removed old sponges, and dirty hand towels, plus I found; a can of Lysol – mostly full, and a roll of paper towels – super important these days.
DOUBLE BONUS – JUNK DRAWER | If your utility drawer is aptly named the junk drawer it is time for a clean-out. Mine happens to be in the kitchen and started out as a utility place for the stuff you occasionally need and slowly became a place for whatever didn’t have a place. Clean it out – arrange batteries, make sure the scissors are clean. Find the left over pieces of the whatever you needed at that moment and decide if you still need it. Remove the junk and make it a utility drawer once again.
Well, if you anything like me, this task could take a few hours. Have at it but have fun – at the end of this Junk Removal session, you should feel happy an accomplished. However, I do recommend take out after you are done, just to let the organization set in for at least 1 day!