7 Ways to Organize Your Kitchen during the Holidays
When you stop to think about it, December is actually a perfect time to tackle kitchen organization. Any projects that might have gotten pushed off during year can be easily taken care of before the rush of delicious home cooking. Clear up the kitchen clutter, and you’ll pave the way for holiday cheer!
Spruce Up the Spice Rack
Holiday cooking is notorious for kicking your kitchen usage into high gear. You’ll want to check that you have enough sage and nutmeg on hand for seasonal recipes, so you might as well do a total sweep on your spice rack. Clear off the shelf and get a good whiff of each one. If a spice isn’t not fragrant, it’s probably time to toss it. As a good rule of thumb, dried spices won’t last more than 2 years. Stock up on any missing or expired spices now, and then make a new tradition of checking your spice collection this time every year. That way, you’ll always have the best flavors on hand.
Clean the Fridge
So cleaning the fridge interior isn’t the most rewarding chore, but it has to be done sometime. Making this part of your pre-Christmas setup is as good a time as any. Once you unload all the goodies in your refrigerator and throw away the expired items, carefully remove the shelves to give them a nice wash in the sink. Just try to stay away from your regular dish detergent—the powerful scents can make the food in your fridge smell a little funky. Instead, wash and rinse the all-natural way with a couple tablespoons of baking soda and warm water.
Store Produce where it belongs
With the fridge cleaned up, try to get into the new routine of storing your produce so it stays fresher longer. You might have been keeping items the wrong way for years and not even known it. Common examples of “improper” food storage include milk and eggs. Contrary to popular belief, milk tends to do better when it’s stored on the bottom shelf of the fridge—not the top, or in the door. The lower sections of refrigerators tend to be cooler, which is better for dairy and meats.
Inventory Containers for Leftovers
If you’re living with a mound of random containers for food storage—do yourself a favor and take 20 minutes to review your options. Every container needs to have a corresponding lid. Strays should be recycled or repurposed as a practical storage container. (You can always “gift” extra containers to holiday guests by sending them home with leftovers or cookies.) Once you’ve narrowed your supply of lids and containers, create a better system to separate them. A simple divider can often do the trick.
Organize Cookware Lids
The same thing goes for your cookware! Messing around with precarious stacks of lids for your pots and pans is a pain. If you haven’t upgraded already, treat yourself to a handy lid organizer to hang on the inside of your cabinet door. Your lids will be in easy reach, and you’ll free up a lot of storage space. If you’re looking to get a new food processor or blender—you’ve got to have somewhere to put it, right?
Install a cookbook holder
One easy way to get more counter space while preparing complex recipes is to move your instructions closer to eye level. Your cutting boards or mixing bowls won’t have to compete for space when you have a sturdy cookbook holder installed underneath your overhead cabinets. These nifty devices can hold your book or e-reader for you while you get your hands dirty. If you don’t have time to mess with this project before the holidays, it can make a clever holiday gift request!
Donate Extra Pantry Items
Last but not least, make your way to the pantry and give all your dry goods a thorough check. If you’re able to find any spare jars of pasta sauce, extra bags of rice, or any other long-shelf-life items, consider making a donation to the local food pantry. When you and your family aren’t planning on eating something soon (or had already forgotten about it), there’s surely someone else who could appreciate it. You’ll be able to clear out a crowded pantry space, and give food to someone in need.
If you’re looking for other home tips, be sure to check out our other blog articles. We’re always updating our readers on the latest news for new neighborhood builds in the Indianapolis area too. Community spirit is strong in Indy, and we look forward to sharing it with you!