Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Day 2 ~ Organizing The Kitchen & Pantry

Okay! It's Day 2 of getting our Life & Home Cleaned &Organized.
I hope you weren't too overwhelmed by yesterday's post.  I know I crammed a whole bunch in there.  But let's face there's a whole lot of stuff going on in a kid's room. The cleaning techniques I shared with you during our visit yesterday will carry over into all the rooms of your house.  So keeping that in mind, let's get started with our Kitchen. The Hub of the home. Guess how many hours we spend in our Kitchen? You ready?  Around 1,092 hours a year! That is one of the reasons this room is usually at the top of every ladies to do list .
Let's get started!!!!
These are some things you might want to get to help you organize your kitchen. If you're on a tight budget finish reading this post to see what things* you can tweak using things you may already have on hand. Hey I'm all about using what ya have!
  • The cleaning supply list from yesterday's post 
  • *Some jars or other tightly sealing containers. 
  • *Cardboard Shoe Boxes that you can cover with contact paper or wallpaper, etc. These will be used for storage organization in your pantry
  • Clear Tape
  • *Shelf Liner
  • *A lazy-susan turntables ( I think Rubbermaid makes one)  might also come in handy
  • *Plastic Bin labeled: "EXTRAS" This is where you will put things you can't part with but don't use on a daily basis. If you have plenty of room in your cabinets for all these items without being too cramped then you may not need this bin. 
  • Cardboard box labeled: "GARAGE SALE/DONATE" for things you no longer want 
  • Trash Bags labeled "TOSS" for things that are broken, expired, spoiled or worn out
  • Labels or if you have a Label Maker now is a good time to put it to use. Labeling things help not only you but your whole family and others who might come in and help out
  • Felt tip marker for writing on labels 
  • *Kitchen Timer if you have one on your microwave or stove just use that 

I've learned to give myself a deadline. When I feel the time crunch I work faster. 
Get that kitchen timer I just told you that you would need. Set it for 30 mins.
Now for the next 30 mins you are going to work like wildfire to complete a task. Then regroup, look at your list and set the timer again for 30 mins and do the same. This may sound silly but it does make you work faster. You have a deadline and the inner you really wants to win!!!

  • Okay here we go!
  1. Cleaning Out The Kitchen Cabinets.
    {Gadget Drawer}
    {Pot Holders & Aprons}

    {Storage Containers}

      • Start with the under sink cabinet. Who knows what might be under there? Dark, dingy and damp.  Oh my! These items may have expiration dates so check!? I have all my floor cleaners in one basket. All my dog and cat items like flea killers and flea collars. All my cleaning products are in divided tote with a handle for easy carrying from room to room. I put miscellaneous items such as light bulbs, silver polish, etc. can go in another basket. The key is to try and put like items together.   
{Under Sink...in need of renovating}
      • Now choose the cabinet above or to either side of the sink. These get used the most more than likely so they need the most immediate attention. 
        • Using the Cleaning Techniques.Take everything out and decide which bag or box it needs to go into  "EXTRAS" , "TOSS" or "GARAGE SALE/DONATE"  And DO IT!
          • The TOSS bag will have things that are broken or no longer repairable.
          • GARAGE SALE/DONATE would be things that you don't want anymore, like vases, glasses, pot, pans, cleaners and other things that someone else might be able to benefit from.  
          • EXTRAS bin is where you will place those things you just can't part with but still might have some use for. This bin will end up in a storage area like the garage, attic or outdoor building, etc. Keep in an easy to get to location so you can still use the things inside of the bin if you have the need to.
        • Time to get your bucket & rag, add warm water and all-purpose cleaner.
          • Wipe the inside of the cabinet your working on. 
          • Re-line them if needed.
          • Place things that you're keeping back inside the cabinet. Put things you only use occasionally up on the top shelf or in the back. Things like platters you only use at Thanksgiving & Christmas.
          • Wipe cabinet doors clean inside and out

            {Like things grouped together}

        • Keep going around the kitchen in the same direction you started left or right
        • You can decide whether to do all of the top cabinets and then the bottom or switch back and forth, a top then a bottom cabinet. My personal preference is all the tops, drawers and then bottoms! I don't like going up and down. I know...lazy!
        • Just keep going around the room and not back and forth across the kitchen.
        {My Little Brown Tool Box}
        • You'll find some stuff in drawers that you can't live without. Like nails, screws, small hammer, rubber bands, tacks....I have a little brown tool box that many years ago my Mom gave to me as a just because present. That is where I put all these "Can't Live With-outs". I store it on a shelf under my sink. It is handy to get to and if I have the need to hammer a nail into the wall to hang something on I know right where to go and find it. I don't have to wait until my Sweet Hubby gets home to find it for me in his stash. 
      • The Sweet Hubby and I have a system. I'm one of ladies that if I want something done, I will ask Sweet Hubby to do it. That way he "knows" I still need him. But he also knows that if he waits long enough I will already have done it and he won't have to. 
Okay after all the cabinets are done both the top and the bottom and the drawers in between it is time to move on to the PANTRY!!

Now not know how big your pantry might be or it may even be a few cabinets that you use; some of these suggestions I'm going to be making may or may not work for you. However it will maybe lead you to the right motivation and idea. Because our main goal here is to purge and organize!

Let's get started shall we?!

Take everything out! Yes EVERYTHING!!
  • Purging
      • Do just like you did with your cabinets. 
      • TOSS anything that has expired or heaven forbid mold's growing on it. YIKES!
      • GARAGE SALE/DONATE anything you no longer want but that is still good and food safe.
      • You probably won't need to use the EXTRAS bin in this area. 
      • Wipe down the shelves and if you line them  now would be the time to do that task. otherwise you're ready to move on to the next step
  • Sorting
      • Start grouping your pantry items in categories like canned goods and staples. 
      • You remember those Cardboard SHOE BOXES and PAPER  I had in our supply list? This is where you will use them. If you aren't feeling very creative you can go out and spend some extra cash on those PLASTIC SHOE BOXES you can find at Walmart & Target. But to each her own! 
      • You will put all your packets such as Taco Seasoning, Ranch Dressing Mix, Gravy Mix, etc. in these boxes.
      • Now take those Jars or Other Tightly Sealed Containers I mentioned in our supply list and dump into their own container of your choice all your Rice, Bisquick, Popcorn, Crackers, Cookies, Sugar, Artificial Sweeteners, Doggie Treats, Coffee Filters....you get the idea. Please be sure to put the cooking instructions inside the containers as well!  By storing your items this way you have now cut off the food supply to any creepy crawlies!!!! Also it will help it stay fresher longer (but not beyond the expiration date)!
  • Inventory 
  • {Organized Home}
      • As you put things back into the pantry you need to  make a list of everything that is going back into the pantry. This will help you know what you have on hand as you're making your grocery list, with just a quick look you'll know what you're running low on and what you do not need to re-buy.  So here are some printables for you and there are also some that you can fill in online and then print. {Pantry Inventory}

Like I said before not knowing your space, I haven't a clue where you might store all your kitchen appliances. Toaster, Mixer, Waffle Iron, Electric Griddle, Electric Skillet...well you get the idea. 
      • The biggie here is if they work together then you may want to store them together. Coffee, Coffee Filters, Coffee Pot. Kitchen Towels with Dishcloths in a drawer or like I do in a basket on the countertop next to the sink. Pot holders would be nearest to the stove. You see what I'm saying. 
      • You may be like me where you don't have that much space. My pantry is the size of a coat closet & my kitchen has very few cabinets. In my pantry my Sweet Hubby added a shelf just about 12" from the floor. That gives me two extra areas to store things like my appliance and large pots. Countertop can be very sparse so you may want to what I do and try not to have too much unnecessary items out.


Clean the outside first!
      • Pull your refrigerator out! OH MY GOSH!!!! It has grown hair!!!! No! That's just a whole bunch of DUST!
      • Unplug your refrigerator. It's okay. It's only going to take a few minutes. If you have a vacuum with a hose and attachments now would be a great time to use it. Be careful, those coils back there get a little warm! Suck all that dust off and while you're back there with the vacuum clean the floor too! Take that bucket of water with cleaner and rag and wipe down the wall and baseboard back there. Gross!  Mop back there too while you're there. Push the refrigerator back and now clean ALL the outside, including the top where....yes you're gonna find more dust!
    • Ready for the inside
      • There is so many different ways to organize your refrigerator just like any other area of your home. What works for you may not work at all for your friends. But I will give you some ideas and they may or may not be for you. However it will give you some ideas that maybe you hadn't thought of implementing into you food storage. 
    • Time to purge!! My motto is "When in doubt....throw it out!" If you cannot find the expiration date on an item, DO NOT RISK IT! Everything in there is replaceable. Yes it will cost you a little more on your grocery budget. But trust me it is a whole lot less than a Doctors visit because you or a family member got food poisoning! 
      • Take everything out. 
      • Wipe down the inside of the refrigerator with a solution of 3 parts warm water and 1 part distilled vinegar. This will resolve any bad food smells and kill germs & bacteria and will leave those glass shelves squeaky clean. *****However please do not wipe the outside of your STAINLESS STEEL refrigerator with this solution. They don't like each other at all!*****
    • Time to put it back together!!
      • {Sterlite Plastics Storage
      • Every morning I pack lunches and cook breakfast. So to eliminate multiple trips to the refrigerator I invested in two plastic containers from Walmart that are stackable. One holds  breakfast stuff and the other lunch stuff. 
    • Here are some ideas on where to store certain foods in your refrigerator. 
            • Oddly enough Veggies and Fruits do not require the same humidity levels. Who knew? I know I didn't!
            • Veggies stay fresh much longer with a bit of humidity. They like to stay moist.
{Reynolds Aluminum}
          • *Hint: When storing Celery and Cucumbers wrap them tightly in aluminum foil. I know strange. But it works. I have gotten Celery before and maybe it was 4 days before I went to use some. It was already wilted. When I take it straight from the grocery store (it doesn't need to be wash and cut for this to work) I wrap it in aluminum foil 1 week even 2 weeks later it is still crisp
            • *Cucumbers are the same way. I did an experiment with this, cause I was wasting more than we were eating. I've only done this after I have cut into one. You know how it will get that "glassy" look by the next day.Well the aluminum foil actually kept it from doing that! I know I was so shocked too!
{Glad Storage}

        • *Storing Leafy Lettuce in a zip bag will  make it last for what seems FOREVER. Cut the end off and wash each leaf separately. Now if you do not have a salad spinner trust me you are going to want one! After washing each leaf place a few, don't over crowd, leaves inside the salad spinner, give it a good spin and almost every drop of water comes off. Take them out and place them inside of a gallon size zip bag. Once again don't over crowd. Now here's the most important step; press as much of the air out of the bag as you possibly can without bruising the lettuce. "OUCH" I figured this trick out when, I know you have all seen this on "Pinterest", salad in a jar that last forever! You have to use one of those vacuum sealers and you also have to have a special attachment for the lid. Well shoot! There went that idea. But one day as I was putting my produce away the idea just popped into my head. I gave it a whirl and IT WORKS!!!! I wouldn't cut or chop or break it up into little bit size pieces cause that causes the oxidation process and that is what makes your lettuce get rusty looking. Just leave them in leaves! 
        • Radishes, cut the leaves and roots off and store in a plastic container with a lid and they last a long time
        • Cilantro and Parsley I have found by putting them in a glass of water on the door of the refrigerator, they last a very long time. I don't have an issue with those mushy almost black gross leaves any more. I use to do like Rachel Ray said to do wash and wrap in a damp towel and store in a plastic bag. I would end up throwing out over 1/2 of what I bought. Waste!
        • Fruit loves low humidity. If you are fortunate to have both a Veggie Drawer and a Crisper Drawer that's wonderful. I do not! I know I was bummed too. Keep them in their original packaging or in a plastic bag. Tie the top loosely. I know many of you have seen and swear by those pins on "Pinterest" TO WASH ALL YOUR PRODUCE IN A VINEGAR AND WATER BATH. BE CAREFUL!!!
          1. It can cook your produce. Oh yes it can! So don't over do it in there!
          2. Whether you use the vinegar bath or just plain water if you don't get it COMPLETELY DRY it will cause you produce to mold and also cause bacteria to grow and go bad quickly. 
          3. The best is to wait until you are ready to eat them.   
        • Dairy items do best on the bottom shelf and in the back of the fridge. This is the coldest spot in there.
        • Eggs are a middle of the road kinda food. They like the middle of the fridge.
        • Okay that's enough about the REFRIGERATOR!
    • Freezer
      • Same as the refrigerator.  
        • TOSS it if it has been in there for a year or more. Trust me it isn't going to taste, smell or look good. So why waste your time. Do better next time and use it quickly. 
        • Check expiration dates. TOSS if expired. 
          • If you cannot figure out what the heck it is? Then you have 2 choices. 
            1. Thaw it out to find see what it is and hopefully that's what you wanted for supper.
            2. Just TOSS it. If you don't remember when or what it is it has probably been in there toooooo long!
          • Wiping out the freezer isn't real easy. You have to use real hot water and vinegar solution and work quickly. 
{Organized Home}
        • Now time to reassemble!
          • {Printable Freezer Inventory}
          • Put all frozen breakfast stuff beside one another,  
          • "TV Dinners" go next. 
          • Put all meat together. 
          • Veggies  together. 
          • This time be sure to label everything as it goes in. What & When. 
          • Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt. 
You can now sweep and mop your kitchen floor and then....Whew!!!! That's the end of another day!
Once again I know this is a lot of information and much of it is just plain and simple common sense. But in my 60+ years of life I have come to realize one thing for certain. NEVER ASSUME ANYTHING! 

♥Please if you have any questions about anything I've shared with you or you have ideas that you would like to share leave a note below by clicking on the "Comment" link at the bottom of this post and I will do my best to get you a quick answer. Also I have mentioned many items and locations to purchase them. I do not get any money or kick back for doing so. I am merely trying to make it easier for you to locate the items. Thank you so much for your visit here today and I hope you were able to glean something from it. 

Encouragement For The Spirit:  Let your gentleness be evident to all.   Philippians 4:5


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