Forget spring cleaning. What’s even more important is new year organizing! Why not start off 2019 with every thing in its place and a place for every thing? Get organized now and, come June, you’ll still be loving your under-control kitchen.
Here’s what to get started on.
1. All Those Food Storage Containers
This is the year that you’re going to stop wasting time hunting for the right lid for the right storage container! Pull out every container and lid that you have. Make sure each piece has a match and toss or recycle the ones that don’t. Before you put everything back in the cabinet, give it all a look over: Anything that’s stained beyond belief or cracked can go. If you have any very old hand-me-down plastic containers, let go of those too, as there’s a chance they could contain BPA, which can leach into your food and cause health issues. Short on usable containers after this cleaning session? We’ve got plenty to help you restock.
3 Of Our Favorite Sets:
2. Your Junk Drawer
There is no shame in having a junk drawer. Actually, we encourage it! Where else are odds and ends like batteries, twine and paperclips supposed to go? Just take the time to organize the drawer so you can actually find what you’re looking for when you’re looking for it. The good news: You don’t have to buy anything special to get this space under control. Cut off the tops of little boxes and recycle old yogurt containers and you’ve got free organizers. (You can even paint them or cover them with contact paper if you want to dress them up a bit.) Line the containers up neatly in the drawer and sort that junk.
3. The Utensil Drawer
Speaking of drawers … That jumbled mess of whisks, spatulas and unitaskers is practically begging to be tamed. Go through and pull out duplicates or anything you just don’t use—these things can all be donated. If you’re not sure what you actually use in there, try this masking tape trick: Put a little piece on every tool and, as you use each one, take the tape off. Whatever still has tape on it in June can go.
4. Your Spices
While spices don’t exactly go bad, they do start to lose their potency. Whole spices are best within two years and ground spices usually only last for about a year. Give each bottle the sniff test and if the spice doesn’t smell like much, it’s time to toss it.
5. Your Countertops
Chances are, you have way more stuff on your countertops than you actually need. And all that stuff makes your kitchen look more cluttered than it is. Scan your counters for anything that you don’t use regularly (ahem, that toaster if you don’t make toast every morning) and find another home for it. Then, try corralling stuff that goes together. For example, your dish and hand soap can sit on a pretty cake stand near your sink. And your salt cellar, utensil crock and oil cruet can sit on a tray near your stove.
6. Your Kitchen Linens
Over time, your dish towels become less absorbent, which means they eventually become less helpful to you. Sort through the stack and move the rattier ones out of rotation and into your rag pile for various household chores. (You can restock here.) While you’re at it, take a look at your cloth napkins. Any that are stained or have seen better days can be put out of commission, too. Refold all the keepers Mari Kondo-style and line them up in a box or basket.
7. The Cabinets Under Your Sink
This tends to be one the scariest spaces in every kitchen, but it doesn’t have to be. Start by pulling everything out and wiping down the cabinet. Then, use shelf liner to line the bottom. (This will make it easier to clean up spills and spiff up the area a bit.) Get a few plastic bins to sort like cleaning supplies with like. Finally, add a tension rod along the top of the cabinet and hang spray bottles by their handles to maximize the storage space.
8. Your Bar Cart
Perhaps you threw a holiday party and got lots of bottles of booze from your gracious guests? Or maybe your relatives spoiled you with some fancy bourbons? Alcohol lasts for a long time, so you don’t really need to get rid of anything, but if you need to make room and have almost-empty bottles, try making a punch to use up those last drops. While you’re at it, round up any bottle openers, coasters and other barware you really don’t use and donate it to your local Goodwill.
9. Your Fridge
In addition to organizing your fridge, this is a good time to give it a good cleaning, too. Take out as much as you can (put it all in a cooler or outside if you need to) and use a microfiber cloth and your favorite all-purpose spray (we’re partial to our White Gardenia scent) to wipe down the shelves. Be sure to pull out the crisper bins and clean those, too. Once that’s done, it’s time to organize: Put things back in groups that make sense based on how you cook (things you typically use together, or Mexican ingredients together, for example). And check expiration dates so that you can put the stuff you need to use up first closer to the front.
10. And the Freezer
With the fridge in order, you may as well do the freezer. Toss anything that’s so old, you don’t even remember what it is. Then, rearrange things so that, once again, items are grouped together. And, if you’re not already doing it, vow to start using masking tape and a marker to label and date everything as you put it in there.