Spring cleaning your kitchen
Whether you have a vast kitchen or an efficiently small space, keeping it neat, clean and uncluttered is essential for organization, safety and hygiene. To jumpstart your annual spring cleaning, we've got some organization and cleaning tips and a list of must-have kitchen essentials.
Kitchen Spring Cleaning Tips
1. Use or lose
If you bought that cookie press last year after Christmas because it was on sale or the apple corer because you were on a health kick and never used either one of them, honestly evaluate their usefulness. If they are simply taking up space, donate them or give them to someone who will use them. Unclutter your kitchen space by getting rid of items you don't use. If you simply can't part with kitchen items because you think you may use them one day or they have sentimental value, put them in a plastic bin and store them in your closet or basement with an identifying label.
2. Organize kitchen gadgets by holiday
If you have kitchen gadgets, like specifically-shaped cookie cutters or canning supplies, that you only use during certain times of the year, store them in a cabinet or closet that you don't open every day. By doing so, not only will you be able to neatly organize your drawers and cabinets, you won't be constantly moving infrequently needed kitchen tools in order to get to often-used kitchen essentials.
3. Declutter Countertops
Does your countertop look like a disorganized garage sale of kitchen appliances? Evaluate the kitchen appliances or gadgets you use on a daily basis, keeping them on the counter, while putting other items in a cabinet or pantry. For example, keep your knife block, utensil holder, and salt and pepper mills on the counter, storing the blender and waffle maker underneath.
4. Check kitchen tools for safety
Knives with wobbly handles, frayed cords on appliances, and broken appliances are not only taking up valuable real estate in your kitchen, they are posing a safety hazard to you and your family. If you can fix them, get it done; if not, get rid of them. If you have tools that have been replaced with better tools, like pots and pans, either give them away or toss them, depending on their condition.
5. Do a kitchen gadget count
Unless you frequently entertain or cook for large parties, do you really need four of the same size pan or 10 spatulas? Probably not. Unless the spatulas are different and all used for different things then you only really need one or two. For pots and pans, again, unless they are different, one or two of each size pot and pan should do the trick.
6. Stop buying things you don't need
Just because something is on sale doesn't mean it will be useful to you. Before you jump on that great deal, think hard about its actual usefulness in your kitchen. If you only homebake bread once in a while, a bread machine may not be a good purchase...unless you know it will be the inspiration for you to bake bread more often. Also, resist tools that only have one specific purpose, such as a pineapple slicer or avocado pitter, unless you eat a lot of pineapples or avocadoes. A better bet is to keep or buy kitchen gadgets that have more than one use.
7. Buyer beware
Discounted items may be discounted for a reason. If something is on sale cheap, perhaps it doesn't work well or is impractical. Think long and hard before purchasing a new kitchen tool. The goal of spring cleaning is to unclutter and organize, not buy more items that will only take up space.
8. Clean as you go
As you are going through your cabinets, drawers and pantry to sort through your kitchen tools, clean those rarely seen surfaces and the spaces you never think to wipe down. Take all of the appliances and gadgets off of the shelves and counter and out of the drawers, and use a mild cleaning agent or a green cleaning agent to clear the dust, crumbs and other debris that has accumulated. While you're at it, wipe down the appliances as you put them back in their designated places.
A Few Must-Have Kitchen Tools
If you are wondering which kitchen gadgets you should keep and which ones to remove from your kitchen space, here is a list of must-haves that the average kitchen can use. Of course, the key to organizing your kitchen is to honestly evaluate your own cooking style and needs, and keep the kitchen tools most useful to you.
Essential kitchen gadgets and tools:
- A good set of kitchen knives (see Types of knives and how to use them)
- One to two sets of measuring cups (wet and dry) and spoons
- One box grater
- One basting brush
- One of each type of spatula (serving and mixing)
- One good vegetable peeler
- One wire whisk or a few of different sizes
- One good set of pots and pans
- One wooden rolling pin
- One wine bottle/can opener
- One set of wire strainers
- Two to three good cutting boards (keep one for fruit/vegetables and one for meat/fish)
- One off-set icing spatula (if you bake cakes)
- Two pairs of locking tongs (one silicone and one stainless steel)
- One standard cooking utensil set
Spring is the perfect time of the year to organize your kitchen, give it a good deep cleaning and start fresh. By going through your kitchen gadgets and appliances, you might even find that your newly organized kitchen space inspires you to cook more and have fun with your meals.