We all know clutter sure ain’t a good friend.
It eats away at your peace of mind and leads to feeling disorganized, especially when it comes to your kitchen, the center of your home (or in my case, my lil’ apartment). A cluttered kitchen can make you feel overwhelmed with life in general. Regaining control is easy. It takes just a bit of time to set aside and commit to keeping things in place in your pantry, fridge, freezer, cabinets and drawers for a clutter-free fabulous kitchen.
There’s a vast array of kitchen organizers to help put things into their respective places. I love The Container Store for storage items, Anthropologie for bowls, dishes and aprons, Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn. But, before you run out and spend money on dish racks, containers and shelf expanders, go ahead and do yourself a favor by doing some good old-fashioned cleaning. My motto here is ‘Clean Food needs a Clean Kitchen’…The frugal part of you may want to hold on to things, but try to be realistic…if you haven’t used it in over a year—Toss it. Clean papers, coupons, seldom used appliances, old Tupperware, pots, pans, silverware, cups, plates, bowls and mugs that are chipped or old.
Create a list of what you really need in your Clean Kitchen, therefore you’re less likely to overbuy in the future and end up with more gadgets that you don’t use in your Clean Food meals.
Step 1. Hit the Paper Stacks…This includes coupons. Gather all paper piles such as bills, magazine articles, coupons, post-it notes, grocery lists, etc. and toss anything old and outdated. Create one central mail location whether in a drawer or a file tray. Place all valid and non-expired coupons in a Ziploc bag and keep them handy for quick trips to the store. If you have the room, place a bulletin board in a convenient spot to post school notices, important phone numbers and papers that you’ll need to find fast.
Step 2. Reassess Your Counter Tops. Start by evaluating your applications. The only appliances that should be kept out are the items you use on a daily basis such as a toaster, coffee maker, coffee grinder, blender and anything else you use consistently. Store other appliances in cabinets. And remember, items that work together should be stored together like mixing bowls, baking trays and measuring cups. The goal is ease, order and sense of control.
Step 3. Little Nick Nacks. “Where are my keys?” “Where are the dish towels?” Don’t waste another minute searching for something that you can easily put into convenient spots. Place some hooks on your walls for your keys, dishtowels and utensils or large racks for pots and pans.
Step 4. Pantry Makeover. When you arrive home from the food store, reassess your pantry and cabinets. Don’t just start unpacking and re-stocking … take a moment to create a ‘system’ in your kitchen. Group together large gars, soups, beans and other canned items. Use another shelf for smaller items such as canned tuna, diced tomatoes and salsa. Pair your pastas, crackers and breads together, as well. Grouping your items lets you know what you have and what you need so you don’t end up with ten extra jars of black beans. Every season, be sure to go through your pantry to review the expiration dates and make sure your non-perishable items don’t go bad.
Step 5. Create a List. Make a list of must have organization items. Now that you’ve cleared things out, you may not need a shelf expander but may need a sliding tray for cleaning supplies. Shelf height is important for plastic or glass food containers. You can also get an idea of what’s in the stores by visiting www.Organizeworld.com and The Container Store, which have some fun items!
Step 6. Kitchen Tour. Now that you’ve assigned everything a home, take the family on a kitchen tour and show them where to find things and of course, where to put them away once they’ve finished. If the whole family is on board, your job is much easier. An organized kitchen creates harmony and frees your mind to think of more important things than where you left your keys.
Welcome to your Clean Kitchen. Now, you can create a delicious, clean meal without the clutter but with all the wholesome real food taste.
In the News…
Here are two fun features I recently discovered:
Fooducate is an iPod app which let’s you analyze nutrition labels and take the confusion out of ingredient lists.
Room 77 which is where you can get personalized hotel room recommendations … pretty fun if you’re looking to plan a trip anytime soon.
I’m excited to announce my new role as the Recipe Editor of Gluten-Free Faces.