Every spring we get the rakes and wheelbarrows out to clear away the clutter accumulated in our yards after a long winter.The same goes for our car, as we get our bi-annual tune-up for the faithful vehicle that totes our kids from school to sports practice or ballet lessons and back again.
We even partake in a spring body detox, eliminating wheat, sugar, dairy and the like.
But what about our homes? Specifically, the kitchen. With a few simple steps, the heart of your home will be clean, organized and operating optimally in no time, giving you a lighter, leaner feel.
Save the Date – For every date night-loving mom, there’s a cereal box with an expiration date on top that’s overdue.
SOLUTION: pull out all boxed foodstuffs, cans, jars and packaged goods (like those healthy organic chips that your son loves to munch on at lunchtime) and line them up on the counter. Begin to sort through and pitch (or place in compost bin), outdated cereals. If the date is close at hand, simply place at the front, in eye sight, so your family will eat these first.
Pitch the Plastic and Cabinet Clutter – It’s been widely publicized that BPA in plastics aren’t the best for our health.
SOLUTION: Pick a day this week and pull out the plastic containers overcrowding your cabinets and start to slowly wean them out of your kitchen. Start with the broken or stained pieces and one-by-one replace them with glass containers. Or better yet, purchase a multi-piece set at your favorite Target or Walmart and get more bang for your buck. They’re easier to see food inside when stored in the fridge and they look much cleaner and organized, as they stack nicely in the pantry or refrigerator. Same goes for old casserole dishes, pots and pans and excess plates, cups and utensils. Give them all a once over and rid your space of old, excess and damaged pieces.
One-a-Days get the Once-Over – There are some important vitamins and supplements that we all should be taking daily for optimum health, but how many of us have extra half used vitamin bottles piling up in our cabinets?
SOLUTION: Talk with your health counselor, nutritionist or doctor and find out what your current health needs require as far as nutritional supplementation goes. Next, pull out all of the vitamin bottles in the cabinet and begin to weed out the out-of-date excess (store expired vitamins in a ziplock on a high shelf and hold on to it until your local recycling and hazmat/medications pickup takes place in your community, to properly dispose of them-check http://www.local.com/ to find a local disposal information) and then separate the non-expired remainder bottles by category. Store excess (more than one of a certain kind) in pretty little baskets on higher cabinet shelves and have one of each kind in ABC order on an eye level shelf, for less clutter.
The Spice of Life – Spices are such a wonderful addition to any recipe and perfect for helping us kick the salt habit.
SOLUTION: Take time, at least once a year, to weed through all of your spices, pull old, or stained jars from the mix and if you have more than one of a certain kind (who hasn’t accidentally purchased double of a spice from time to time?) and store in your pantry on a high, yet visible shelf or clear plastic container. Be certain to wipe down the spice shelf or drawer and for an easy way to access spices (and save time) place them in ABC order on the shelf – genius.
Keep Up with the Joneses – Busy modern moms know that it’s better to keep up, rather than catch up when it comes to a clean, organized kitchen.
SOLUTION: it’s a good idea to do a few “kitchen detox” actions weekly, versus twice a year, such as wiping cabinets from the top down, inside and out (upper cabinets to lower cabinets), fronts, insides and tops of appliances – working your way down. Start with microwaves and stove/ range hoods, then proceed to stovetop and ovens. Remember to empty the toaster’s crumb tray and even the lazy Suzen holding salts and seasoning on the kitchen table. Move all countertop appliances, then give the countertop a meticulous cleaning. Wipe out the entire sink from top to bottom and around the perimeter and last but not least sweep and mop the floor.
Monthly Check Ups – While you’re at it, here are a few monthly tips to keep your kitchen looking spic-n-span.
SOLUTION: Remember to, clean out the refrigerator and throw away outdated food (such as salad dressings, etc.) and wipe shelves and veggie bins using vinegar and water, and while you’re at it, replace your box of baking soda to kill any stray germs that might linger from your weekly lasagna. It’s also a good idea to keep up with wiping the TOP of the refrigerator and it’s vents, your kitchen ceiling fans, window sills and even your trash and recycle cans. It’s a good idea to run vinegar through the coffee pot while you wipe down the kitchen walls and window treatments. For a final task, clean stray crumbs, waste and dust from the inside of drawers and cabinets.
When your kitchen is clean, organized and has less clutter your family will have a lighter feeling and you’ll feel less stressed. You’ll save time and be more efficient, giving you time to enjoy the heart of your home with your family, creating luscious meals and memorable moments.