Cookin’ Up a Clutter-Free Kitchen Environment
In many ways, cooking is a process of bringing order out of chaos. You combine and re-organize piles of ingredients and spices into a delicious, masterful dish to be enjoyed by all. But it’s difficult to create any delicious meals in a disorganized kitchen space, especially if it’s a challenge to find the tools and materials that you require.
It’s Makeover March at Teresa’s Family Cleaning, and as such, we want to give you our top tips for bringing order and functionality into your kitchen space to make cooking a pleasure. With these Long Island kitchen cleaning ideas, you’ll be whipping up an Italian or Mexican masterpiece in no time at all!
Emptying and cleaning
Start by going through every storage space in your kitchen. Include drawers, shelves, cabinets, and the pantry. When you find items that are soiled or sticky, wash them in a sink full of soapy water or run them through your dishwasher. Take all of the contents out and place them on your countertop and table. We’ll sort through these items in the next step.
Since a clean kitchen is a much healthier place in which to work, it’s important at this stage to sterilize every storage surface. Just be careful what cleaning products you use to clean your kitchen. Toxic cleaners that are made with bleach (chlorine), phosphates, alkyl phenols, heavy fragrances, and other conventional chemicals will only pollute your indoor environment (and the natural world as well).
A greener alternative is to use natural cleaners you make yourself from things like baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice, or to purchase non-toxic, plant-based cleaners that are green sealed certified products from your local natural grocery store. Then, using microfiber clothes or regular rags, wipe down every surface—bottoms, sides, tops, fronts, and backs.
Inventory and downsize
Go through every item previously stored in your cupboards, drawers, shelves and refridgerator and sort them into four piles as follows:
- Recycle or throw away: Place all broken items to be recycled or thrown away in a pile and then deal with it accordingly at a later time. Get rid of containers without lids, lids without corresponding pots, and obsolete appliances. Throw out all expired foods and spices.
- Donate or give away: Start another pile for those things you no longer use so that they can be donated or given to a family member or friend. No longer interested in making your own bread? Give that bread maker away!
- Store elsewhere: This pile is for items that are seldom used in your kitchen. You may want them at some future date, but you don’t need them readily available. For instance, if you can fruits and veggies only once a year, perhaps the utensils you use for that project can be stored in less accessible spaces, such as hard-to-reach cupboards in the kitchen or in other areas in your home.
- Keep in the kitchen: This final pile is for items you will use daily or weekly. These items will stay in the most accessible storage locations in your kitchen.
Once you know what will be remaining in your kitchen, you can begin to apply some clutter-reducing techniques. Store items where you will most likely use them so that you can keep the flow of movement as unimpeded as possible:
- Countertop freedom: You want to leave as much countertop space as possible available for food preparation. To do this, store appliances and utensils in cupboards and drawers and get rid of knick-knacks. Counter space between your stove and refrigerator is prime for cutting, chopping, mixing, and blending, so keep this area especially clutter-free.
- Dishwasher smarts: Store your dishes, cups, and utensils close to the dishwasher to minimize the work you have to do when loading and unloading this appliance.
- Cooking efficiency: Locate cooking utensils such as pots, pans, ladles, and steamer baskets close to the stove so that you don’t’ have to reach far for what you need as you cook.
- Functional food storage: Minimize the use of bags for food storage. Instead, keep food in glass jars, tins, and plastic storage containers that can be stacked and labelled for easy reference and space efficiency.
- Good illumination: Be sure that your lighting is sufficient, especially in food prep and cooking areas.
- Easy access: Make it easy to access out-of-the-way items by stashing a small stepladder in your kitchen. This will help you safely reach into deep or tall cupboards to get the things you stored away previously.
We hope you will find these Long Island cleaning ideas the key to creating a kitchen that is both functional and harmonious. Happy cooking!
© 2010 Teresa’s Family Cleaning — All Rights Reserved.Want to use this article in your newsletter, blog or web site? You have my blessing so long as you include the following complete blurb with it (including links).
Teresa Ward, President of Teresa’s Family Cleaning and New York State’s Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year is often considered Long Island’s foremost authority on cleaning homes and businesses to create a cleaner and healthier environment for all. Our highly sought after, award winning newsletter provides timely cleaning tips and other important Long Island information and charitable events for homeowners, businesses and not-for-profits.
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