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Organization 101

Cleaning Grand Plan: Kitchen / Pantry

by Katie Leckey

Kitchen Closets: Empty them! Pull everything out. Use trash bags, boxes, etc to sort and redistribute your items. Remember-places would love donations of kitchen items. If you have not used something in a few months, chances are you just will not use it so donate it.  Kill the clutter!

Kitchen Cabinets: Tackle one by one if the job seems overwhelming. Start above counters, on one side of the room and work in one direction & when done, tackle cabinets below the counter.  Save the under-sink area for last, for me it was the hardest.

Get Rid Of:

  • Old, currently unused cleaners
  • Cans & Bottles of food over 6 months old unless there is a later expiration date.
  • Old cracker/cookie boxes probably stale
  • Pans & pots that you don't use, have duplicates of, are in horrible shape, etc.
  • Extra serving dishes (store them elsewhere unless you have lots of room) until needed. Donate if you have not used them in the past six months.

Check any open boxes for bugs.

Don't forget to wipe down empty shelves, re-line (if necessary).

If you store medicines in the cabinets, check expiration dates. Verify prescription items with your pharmacist. Throw out medicines that "didn't work", expired or tasted so horrible you won't use them, etc.

Don't forget to empty drawers, clean inside, then replace items. Get rid of duplicate items (utensils) if you can.

Clean all appliances inside and out (refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, microwave, toaster oven, coffee maker--use vinegar once through, followed by several rounds of water-- stove vent, etc.)

Sink:  Use a toothbrush to get rid of gritty dirt at faucet. Clean drains, disposal, etc Use favorite cleaner to make "shine".

Pantry: Use same method as for the cabinets. don't forget to wipe down while empty. Try to combine duplicate boxes of things to throw out that which you haven't and probably won't use.

When this is done, you will probably want to dust any appropriate items, vacuum from ceiling to floor, including vents/ a/c ducts, clean any windows, and sweep & wash the kitchen floor (I always do that last!) As far as I'm concerned this is probably one of the hardest rooms in the house. If you have tile on your counters or table, this is a good time to spray them down and clean and reseal the grout.

Be ruthless!  Go through every drawer, cabinet, counter. Did you take time to do all that work and sell yourself short? Did your Mama tell you a job worth doing is worth doing well???  Well go ahead an "git":  make that kitchen shine. Go through the spices and the cookbooks again. I know there are things you still really need to do.




Kitchen -- pantry -- undersink -- pots and pans

Attach the lids of attractive jars to the underside of cabinets (figure A) with small screws. Use the jars to store things like beans, raisins, nuts and popcorn by simply screwing the jar onto the stationary lid.

Lots of art and schoolwork from children has probably accumulated by spring. Before going through it all, place one year's worth in a document box. At the end of the year, sort through the box with the child and help him or her choose the ones that are the best.

Find storage in your kitchen by frequently going through your drawers and getting rid of all that useless junk that is cluttering valuable space.

Most of us could use more counter space, so why not put away those canisters or cookie jars and use plastic cereal containers for things like storing flour, sugar and cookies. That way you can put them in your cupboards, where they will stay neatly hidden.

Get rid of all your old mail, newspapers and miscellaneous paper that are on your kitchen counter for days on end. Put it where it belongs or recycle it.

Dump out all crowded utensil drawers, and get rid of all utensils that never really worked such as that orange peeler or that 1970s can opener. In addition, throw out any duplicates such as an extra can opener.

Cup hooks are a great way to make additional space in your cupboards. They can simply be installed under a cabinet or shelf.

Open your cupboards and clean off your shelves. Look at the expiration dates and start throwing out those old items.

Go through your freezer and refrigerator to locate expired items.

Keep your eyes out for excess dishes. Forty percent of dishware is used only when guests visit. Re-evaluate what you use weekly and how often you entertain, and store your "company dishware" elsewhere.

Go through your kitchen accessories. Use it or lose it! Weed out countertop appliances if you don't use them often such as Crock-Pots, woks or pasta makers. If they didn't get into your menu, then get them out of your kitchen.

Get rid of all plastic containers, such as butter tubs and to-go containers. Determine how many you use on a weekly basis, and throw the rest out. The average household has enough plastic containers to fill six freezers and refrigerators.

If there is any dead space on your kitchen-sink windowsill, get rid of what's cluttering it.

When reorganizing, take everything out of the space and put items back sparingly after careful evaluation.

Baskets are a country favorite for storing everything from kitchen utensils to magazines. Use baskets of various shapes and sizes to add textural interest. Here, Crafton used wire baskets purchased from a garden center to hold kitchen towels and utensils.



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