5 Kitchen Clean-Ups for 2015

Happy New Year!

I love spending some time as the year changes cleaning up a few things in the kitchen (and other rooms) that have been staring back at me for a while.

And as I do so, I shake my head with the realization that each of the tasks that has been nagging me for up to months on end takes, like, 90 seconds to complete.

Here are 5 Kitchen Clean-Ups that I checked off my list this week:

  1. Spice-Top Labels. My primary spice and herb storage is in a large, low-sided bin. It holds 28 jars that, until this week, had no labels on the top unless the bottle came pre-labeled. I spent a lot of (relative) time pulling each jar out to check the labels every time I went to reach for the cumin, or rosemary, or oregano. I will be darned, but I could never find the oregano, despite it being in the top three by usage. {Note: This statistic is made up. I actually have not monitored my herb usage, but I do think oregano would be up there if I were to do so.} So I spent a few minutes labeling the tops, using some stickers that were left over from last year’s planner. Kitchen OrgThere is a (very) vague color-coded system: yellow (most often used), blue (baking spices), red (spicy or stronger flavors), and purple (less-used). It has worked well with the few things I have made so far this year!
  2. Culling the Utensil Crock. I looked at my utensil crock, and my back-up bin of kitchen utensils, and sighed. It was so organized when I moved in to this apartment early in 2014, but, like so many things in life, deteriorated without periodic maintenance. I dumped all the utensils on my kitchen table…
    Kitchen Org-2… and sighed.
    I had gone through my utensils before I moved last year, so I only found two or three this week that I didn’t want to keep around any more. I do actually recall using the rest of them in the past year, so back in they went. I straightened some by size – I have a small bin for the tiny tools; and there are some small-to-medium tools that I use a lot like a vegetable peeler and can opener, and those needed an easy-access bin as well. True to the title of this blog, my most-used gadgets went in the utensil crock (along with a few odd-shapers), and the rest went back in the supplementary bin with some (small) semblance of order.
  3. Something New: a Shiny Food Processor! It was time. I loved my food processor, but it was starting to show some signs of aging, and I definitely use it enough that an investment was worth it. I thought the new year would be a good time for a new beginning, and I opted for the Cuisinart Elite Die-Case 12-Cup Food Processor, and I look forward to sharing the fruits of its labor with you. Visually, sorry. Unless we are friends and you live near me.
  4. Clean Drinking Glasses. I have one behavior that horrifies my mother (well, one that I know about). I usually don’t wash anything before I put it in the dish washer. This isn’t so much of a problem if I start the dish washer immediately, but if food or liquid dries before it’s washed off, of course, it is harder to have gleaming glasses. I use them to store herbs in the refrigerator (with a few inches of water at the bottom), and there was also a recent brunch with orange juice that may have contributed, and my drinking glasses, over time, had dulled. So I took out all of my glasses, and let them soak with soapy dish soap and hot water while I took care of my other tasks, and then scrubbed them all well using a strong scrubber rather than a regular sponge. Good as new!
  5. Fridge Corners. I don’t know who designed my refrigerator, but it’s not the best for storing food. {It doesn’t impress me on the noise front either – it makes the weirdest noises that my building’s maintenance assure me are normal.} Food just gets hidden in corners until a vague odor reminds me that it’s time to pull the garbage can over to the fridge and have no mercy. I also went through the jars in the door and tossed a few older condiments as well. Clean, fresh, and good as new.

I’m all ready to hit the kitchen again! What are the little tasks that nag you, or that you have taken care of in preparation for this new year?

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