The kitchen is a high-traffic service area at home that is used at least twice each day throughout the year. Whenever something comes up like a sleepover with a couple of friends, or the annual holiday get-together with the whole family, it is the kitchen that is always the busiest place.
This right here, is the main reason why kitchen spring cleaning is a must no matter how Herculean of a task it is. Keeping your kitchen clean and free from clutter will make you more efficient. Now if the idea overwhelms you, here are 3 things you can do to make it simple and bearable.
Go Marie Kondo on all the kitchen clutter
While things with "sentimental value" is not first on KonMari's decluttering order, we all have to admit that these are hardest to part with. So if you want to organize your kitchen, you need to do the hardest thing of letting all these go first.
For most people, these are the generational hand-me-downs, gifts, and all the items that you bought because they were on sale or those that you "will use for that one special occasion".
Marie Kondo's philosophy is quite straight-forward - keep only the things that give you joy. Sadly, sentimental value does not always equal joy. Nostalgia does not always equal joy especially when they start eating up space you could use smarter.
When it comes to a high service area such as your kitchen, joy should be seeing your stuff put into good use.
Start by filling a box or a garbage bag with things that are still good enough to donate. You'll notice that it will actually bring you joy to know that the things you've been keeping all these years will make someone else happy. If you cannot do this in one go, try to dedicate a set number of hours per week or per day for this.
When it is time to let go of something, KonMari says hold it, thank it for its service and then let it go.
Letting go of clutter and other stuff you do not actually use frees up room for new stuff that will help you become efficient in the kitchen. For instance, throwing out that old cookware that you've always had makes room for new ones that will serve you better.
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Remember that your kitchen is not a museum for ancient food artifacts
Next to things that hold sentimental value, food items are the hardest to throw away even when they are way past their prime. The fridge, the pantry and the cupboard are where people often hide their stash of unconsumed spices or partially consumed produce that they "will eventually" use or eat up. It is to the best of your interest and safety to make clear your kitchen of these.
Opened spice jars attract moisture. And while these have fairly long shelf lives, the potency of their flavor and aroma will be compromised overtime. Fresh fruits and vegetables, when kept in cold temperatures often last long. Then again, it is best to consume them fresh.
Canned and bottled food items do not go stale as fast as fresh ones. However, you do not want to keep them hidden in the pantry for too long. After all, you bought them to be eaten. Now, if you are itching to put these food items to use in one go instead of throwing them away, you can:
- host a one-time outreach feeding program
- donate them to a charity or a church that feeds the less fortunate
- you can also host a cook off with friends
Of course, this is given that the items are still safe to be consumed. Do not try to salvage food items that are past their prime. Immediately throw them out. If you are unsure, here is an index of the shelf life of common food items.
Minimize the use of chemical-based cleaning agents and shift to natural cleaners
When spring cleaning your kitchen or any other area in your home, the most common scenario afterwards is the stack of empty or half-full bottles of detergents, polishers, grime removers and air fresheners that you have to deal with. That is not very rewarding.
So instead of using these chemical-based agents that come in bottles and packaging that often adds to the trash and the clutter, opt for natural cleaning agents.
Natural cleaning agents are multifunctional. All you have to do is work out their solutions and portions so that you can get them to work. This post on the food52 website lists 17 all-natural kitchen spring cleaning tricks.
Baking soda and white vinegar helps unclog the drain, removes stains, and gets rid of stubborn food debris on the stove and the oven. Mineral oil helps with a lot of polishing jobs. It also conditions your wooden kitchen items like your chopping board and wooden spoons.
Did you know that potatoes help get rid of mildew build up on tiled surfaces? A cup of activated charcoal is better than baking soda in removing unwanted odors in your fridge, pantry & cabinets.
Aside from putting fresh flowers on the counter, you can also make natural kitchen air fresheners. Brew a batch of water, lemon slices and cinnamon on a pot. It should leave the kitchen smelling like spring.
If you have been putting off spring cleaning your kitchen, maybe you can get the ball rolling with these 3 tips we have above. Happy Spring!