Fresh Kitchen. Ready to Organize?

I often hear about how disorganized refrigerators and pantries can become.  I empathize. Really, I do.  Here are some ways to feel fresh again.

FRIDGE PURGE:

No one’s fridge looks this clean all the time.  I’m not sure mine has ever looked this clean.  I cook and my fridge is messy but I do like to clean out the fridge every 6 months.

When I can’t stand it anymore, everything in the fridge gets thrown away! Everything! Old ketchup, specialty mustard that no longer has a purpose, soy sauce, ancient taco sauce and my personal favorite, last summer’s pickles. Fridge purge is a healthy process. It sheds away the heavy, unwanted burden of fridge clutter and gives any kitchen a facelift.  Also, you can help fight bacteria and cross contamination of meats and vegetables by cleaning out the fridge every once and a while!

PANTRY DUMP:

There are several items sitting in your pantry right now that you will never use.  There are others that I plead you not to use. Top Ramen packets come to mind.  Without looking, make a mental list of all of the ingredients you have used in the last couple of months. Now look through the pantry/cupboard and remove anything that didn’t appear in the mental list. If you have an exotic spice rub from a gift basket two years ago, trust me, you are not going to get around to it. Same goes for that weird barbecue sauce that has no origin. Clear the shelves for vibrant, quality ingredients that you use often. Get rid of 2 year old spices and dried herbs. They may look fine, but the flavor is gone.  Flavored oils have a shorter shelf life than raw oils.  Check for expiration and get rid of anything that has been opened longer than six months. Donate the rest (unopened and unexpired) to a food bank.

UTENSIL DRAWER:

Keeping a tidy utensil drawer is no easy task.  I continue to struggle with the idea of every utensil in its place.  I find that a countertop catch-all of tongs, spatulas and wooden spoons works best. Keep the things you use everyday within easy reach on the counter in a utensil holder. Everything else like cherry pitter, pizza cutters and soup ladles (to name a few) can be tucked away in a drawer.  Also, I’m a big advocate of magnetic knife strips. They just feel cleaner than blocks. Either way, it is best not to throw knifes in a drawer. There’s nothing quite as unfortunate as reaching into a drawer and coming up against a hidden knife.

Is it time to clean out your kitchen? I’d love to know what crazy items you have lurking in you fridge or pantry! Leave a comment and fess up! What’s headed for the trash?

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