I have kitchen organization progress to report ! This is all driven by my participation in Apartment Therapy’s Kitchen Cure; a four week plan to cure kitchens of clutter and disorganization. I started out last week with the goal of organizing the pantry, hot beverage cupboard, and condiment cupboard and the assignments to date have been:
- Take before photos
- Clean out old food
- De-clutter equipment, tools, gadgets, dishes
The big reward for my efforts in cleaning out the hot beverage cupboard was discovering all the great teas I had squirreled away in there. I was in a routine of drinking the two teas that were in front and easy to grab, boy have I been missing out. Now it’s a different tea every day. Out went the few teas that I just really didn’t like, random empty containers, and a couple of mugs that I didn’t enjoy drinking from. The biggest improvement is having all the tea in visible, accessible containers. Yes, SpiceCare can be used for more than just spices! Bring on the cold weather; I have my hot beverages at the ready.
I thought the solution for the condiment cupboard was going to be in readjusting the shelves, but it turned out the problem was all the non-food related stuff being stored in there. I can’t believe how much stuff I pulled out of this cupboard. I found a few food surprises, like I was working out of two different bottles of rose water and discovered two large unopened bottles of orange flower water. Extra containers of salt, baking soda and baking powder were all condensed. The clutter came from numerous early SpiceCare prototypes which are now properly archived in a box in the basement. Apparently any open shelf is fair game for whatever I happen to have in my hand that needs a home.
I knew there was an issue with storing empty glass jars in the pantry. I didn’t realize how out of control it had become. This is what I found in there during the de-clutter phase!
Most of these are jars that should be stored in the basement with my canning supplies. I have a nice box they fit in, but once emptied and cleaned, it’s just so easy to toss it on a shelf in the pantry. Unused gadgets and dishes were purged, and a few old food items tossed. I am giddy over the order and open space. After all the clearing out and reorganizing, I will be much more conscience about what lands on those nice open shelves.
The refrigerator and freezer generally stay relatively orderly because I have set zones for specific foods. Not needing two vegetable drawers, the bottom one is used to store flour and grains. The freezer drawers are all designated for specific categories as well with the bottom drawer storing what we call “freezer food”; individually portioned leftovers that are instant meals.
The best organizational tool for the kitchen? Painter’s tape and a fine point Sharpie! Just about everything gets a blue tape label.
I encourage you to join the Kitchen Cure, or at least take an hour some evening and clean out one messy drawer or cupboard. You will be thrilled with the result and might even unearth some great stuff! Please share any great discoveries.
One last thing, I was asked how I store sugar and flour by a commenter in my last Kitchen Cure post. I like the large plastic containers sold at restaurant supply stores as well as large GaldWare containers. In addition to the label of what’s in the bin, I list weights for common measurements, so I can use a scale rather than measuring cups when baking. It’s faster and more accurate to weigh ingredients, plus there aren’t any measuring cups to wash.