So hopefully you have already cleaned your fridge after my horrifying post from last week – if not that really should be the priority for your spring cleaning. I was so impressed by how many pics I got of people of their nice clean fridges! Remember you can always tag me on insta as well @capitolcontessa. Once I had finished my fridge overhaul I wanted to immediately tackle everything else. When I start cleaning and organizing it becomes a bit of an intense campaign – poor Patrick came home from the gym to discover all of our kitchen island drawers emptied out on the floor. However, once its all done I feel immensely better and I know you will to. So here is a check list for the rest of your kitchen. Make sure to treat yourself with a cocktail like this or this afterwards – you deserve it!
#1 – Clean out your pantry. Just like the fridge the pantry (or cabinets that act as a pantry) can become a graveyard of unused or expired items. My pantry is my pride and joy (as you learned in this post) but it get get overstuffed. Pull everything out, wipe down any surfaces that need to be cleaned and then take a good look at everything. Check for expiration dates and chuck anything that’s past its prime. This can also be a good opportunity to consolidate if you have a couple of bottles of the same item (why so many soy sauces???). I like to keep a pad handy to start a grocery list to either replace things you trashed or for anything you are getting low on. If you are a baker its a good time to make the investment in new baking powder and soda since after about a year they start to lose their leavening power. I also use this as an opportunity to meal plan. If you want to make space or use up something put it back right in front so you can clearly see it and make a plan to use it in short order. Once you have culled through everything put them back but with at least a semblance of order. Oils and vinegars together, dried grains and pastas on one shelf, baking ingredients on another etc.
#2 – Tackle your cutlery/utensil drawers. I am lucky enough to have two dedicated drawers to utensils and everyday flatware but if I don’t keep it in check somehow both drawers get totally out of control until I can barely close them. Take everything out of your drawer/s including any kind of flatware organizer (I love these bamboo ones from Ikea). Wipe down everything – only clean stuff goes in those drawers but yet somehow an army of crumbs had settled there! Then go through everything and decide if you need it/use it. I discovered that we had 2 pizza cutters but yet when we make pizza I always just use a big knife!
One goes to goodwill and hopefully the other one I will actually remember we have the next time we grill pizza. Then put things back thoughtfully, wine stoppers went with corkscrews etc.
#3 – Sort through your larger drawers/cabinets. Here is where every kitchen is going to be a bit different. We have lots of upper open and glass fronted cabinets so I keep those very organized year round since they are so exposed. It’s the deep drawers in our kitchen island and the ones that hold my pots and pans that were just a mess.
These cabinets are relatively easy to organize since most of the items are bigger but they also require more thought. Does that cabinet or drawer really make sense for the item that you have in it or would it be better elsewhere? When we first moved into our house I just sort of threw everything into the cabinets and called it a day but once I had everything out I realized that the way I was storing my pots and pans took up WAY more space than I needed and keeping my placemats and napkins separately didn’t make a whole lot of sense. So once everything was out I mentally thought through what should go with what and what would fit where. It has been a revelation.
I had all my placemats stacked in a deep drawer and couldn’t get access to them at all. Turns out I have over 15 sets (!!!) but I only ever used the ones on the top. When you put stuff back really make sure to think about the way it looks. Call me crazy but having a nicely styled, color coded table linens drawer makes me so happy every time I open it. Setting the table is an everyday, tedious task that’s made so much nicer by having a Crate and Barrel worthy display. At the end of the process I ended up with an entirely empty drawer in our kitchen island. Such a luxury!!! I am sure it won’t last long, by this time next year it will probably be stuffed with 3 new pizza cutters. But set aside an hour or two this weekend to do your own kitchen spring cleaning and you too may end up the winner of extra kitchen space you never knew you had! Happy cleaning!