3 Storage Areas to Revisit for Fresh Food and a Functional Kitchen
Thanksgiving leftovers were just a preview of the holiday food madness that will keep your kitchen bursting at the seams for the rest of the year. The first week or two of December is optimal time to deep clean the kitchen. Streamline the food storage triage that is the fridge, pantry and drawers in your kitchen to waste less food and find tools faster.
Housekeeping Tips for the Fridge
To begin, empty the entire fridge and freezer then, toss expired packages and suspicious leftovers. Next, clean shelves and drawers with soapy hot water, wipe containers of sticky residue and use a baking soda solution to deodorize the fridge interior. Finally, put food back in an organized fashion like so:
- Top shelf: Snacks, drinks, and labeled leftovers
- Middle shelf: Eggs, dairy, and deli meat
- Bottom shelf: Raw meat and fish stored in glass containers
- High humidity drawer: Washed vegetables
- Low humidity drawer: Fresh fruit
- Door space: Butter, cheese, condiments, juice, and herbs
How to Organize the Pantry
So you prided yourself on stocking up on pumpkin pie filling, stovetop stuffing, and cranberry sauce weeks before Thanksgiving, but now you’re constantly pulling out the step stool to find boxes and cans that have been pushed to the back of the pantry. Approach this mess by first throwing out stale snacks and empty boxes of cereal crumbs that kids seem to love putting back on the shelf. If you buy in bulk, decanter some items, like pasta and nuts, all in one airtight canister. Invest in some pantry cabinet organizers, like a lazy susan for energy bars and chips or a three-in-one dispenser for paper towel, plastic wrap and foil. Then, put everything back categorically.
Clever Tactics to De-Clutter Drawers
Tangled up drawers of gadgets and sharp utensils can actually be dangerous. Again, the best first step in this project is to empty each drawer and wipe clean. Then, take some time to reunite pots, pans, and Tupperware with their correct lids. Use drawer organizers to fit flatware back into drawers neatly. You’ll be surprised with the clever inserts available today, like one customized for K-Cups and another specifically for spice jars.
Five Quick Tips for a Functional Kitchen:
- Illuminate cooking and cleaning tasks by layering undercabinet lighting, overhead pendant lighting and even LED light strips for inside cabinets and drawers.
- Stash awkward appliances, like stand mixers and coffee makers, in an appliance garage to keep counters clear for food prep.
- Group small garbage, recycling and compost bins together in a pullout drawer rather than lugging heavy bags outside.
- Claim the kitchen as a double-duty home office. Hardworking dining room tables make ideal desks for kids to complete homework, parents to sort mail and family members to leave notes.
- Display dinnerware on open shelves and hang mugs, pans and utensils from hooks along a tension rod or pegboard to de-clutter drawers and cabinets.