If you’ve tuned in to see Netflix’s Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, you might have had the urge to tidy up just about everything in your home. The show offers lots of great, practical tips for organizing everything from closets to drawers. Whether you’re looking to tidy up now or ideas to store away for when spring cleaning hits, here are a few ideas to get you started.
When cleaning, the pantry, refrigerator, freezer and even cabinets are easy to overlook in our day-to-day use. No matter where you choose to start, these tips should get you started in the right direction to tidying up your kitchen
Take everything out, shelf by shelf.
As you go, decide if the food is still edible and toss the rest. Compost what you can, if it’s fresh produce. If it’s the cabinets you’re cleaning out, decide what needs to stay and what can be sold or donated if it hasn’t been used in a while. Take note of the height of your items that will go back in so that you can adjust shelf heights if necessary.
Check dates and decide what stays and what goes.
If a food item is past its expiration, it’s best to throw it out. Do you know how old that jar of pickles is? How about the coffee creamer you bought when you planned to become your own barista (but never followed through)? Now’s a good time to start a new habit by writing the date that you opened a new item on the label so you can see for next time how long it takes you to use it up. Maybe you can get away with a smaller quantity in the future.
Wipe down the shelves with warm soapy water and dry.
No matter how careful you are, there always seems to be a bit of food here and there that drizzles out or spills down the side of a container. Clean it all up so it’s fresh and ready. Kitchen cabinets can get surprisingly dusty so a good wipe down is in order there, too.
Begin putting the items back in and create food zones.
Keeping like items together just makes sense when it comes to maintaining an efficient kitchen. I’ve actually labeled shelves in my refrigerator and pantry. This helps me not only remember where things belong, but it’s helpful to other family members and guests who are helping out in the kitchen.
Write down what you plan to keep and put back.
To avoid excess food waste moving forward, make an inventory to keep track of what you’re keeping so you can work those ingredients into your meal plan in the coming weeks.
Mark your calendar to make kitchen area cleaning a regular task.
I like to clean out my refrigerator weekly, before garbage collection day. Keeping an inventory is the most helpful way to avoid food waste in the pantry and freezer but it’s still a good idea to do a check every few months or so as we all get busy and sometimes forget to add items to the list.
With these simple tips, you’ll have your kitchen in great shape to more efficiently cook up some delicious meals for your family.