I am talking about ORGANIZING, of course. A clean and organized kitchen greatly increases your chances of losing weight and getting healthy for the long term. It makes sense if you think about it. No one wants to spend time in a messy kitchen. And you can’t create healthy meals using real ingredients if you don’t spend time in the kitchen. So get your big “O” on!!! You will feel better, I promise!
So what is stopping you from taking this easy step? Get busy cleaning and organizing your kitchen!
First, grab a box or a laundry basket or a bag. Walk through the kitchen and pick up all items that don’t belong there. Relocate them to their rightful location. If you have a pile of papers (and who doesn’t), take the pile to out of the room to deal with later.
Remove everything from the space you want to clean. To clear the counter, move the items on the counter somewhere else. While you are moving them, make some decisions:
- Is the item in working order? If not, does it make sense to get it fixed or to get rid of it?
- Do you use and need this item? Is there another item that performs the same task?
- If you don’t use the item every day can it be stored somewhere else?
Wipe the space down and return the items to the space in a more organized manner.
When decluttering the cabinets, take a hard look at the contents. First, make sure that no plastic items have BPA. If they are old, it is better just to get rid of them. Newer items should be BPA free. I have actually moved to all ceramic and glass for food storage as well as eating and drinking so I don’t have to worry about BPAs. Ask yourself if you need 25 mismatched mugs and 10 travel mugs. How many mugs does one person or family really need? Donate the rest. Give your cabinets some breathing space!
When cleaning a disorganized pantry, it might be best to bite the bullet and remove everything. Look at each item you remove and as yourself some questions:
- If the item is open, do you remember opening it?
- Do you remember purchasing the item?
- Do you think you will ever use the item?
- Check the date of the item. I am not a huge stickler for dates, but if the use by date isn’t even in the present year, it should probably go.
- Try to evalutate the item’s nutritional value and if it fits with your current health goals. Look at the amount of sugar, fat and sodium (bad things). Check to see the amount of fiber (a good thing).
- Consider tossing or donating highly processed foods. These are generally items with a long list of ingredients, many of which are hard to pronounce and don’t sound like food.
As your items pass the “keep” test, group like items in your holding area. Think of how you use these items. It might be helpful to group items that you use together in a see through bin so you can easily grab the whole thing at once. A good example might be baking items (flour, sugar, baking soda and powder, salt, etc).
Consider storing dry pantry items in glass jars or containers for a stream lined look that promotes freshness longevity. Staples like rice, dried beans, confectioner’s sugar, popcorn, marshmallows, flour, sugar, and so on. The bags they come in are hard to keep neat in the pantry and they sacrifice freshness. You can purchase multi-sized Ball jars or you could use jars you have cleaned out. I keep a shelf of jars in different sizes for times I need to freeze something like meat drippings for soups, leftover sauces, etc.
Take a pantry inventory so you can use these items when making a meal plan and creating a shopping list.
Refrigerator and Freezer
Clean out the refrigerator and freezer. Toss everything that is opened if you can’t remember when it was opened or when you bought it. Also toss if it smells or looks funny. Clean out and keep multi- sized jars if you think you could use them for storage.
I learned a great trick for cleaning and sanitizing the refrigerator and freezer shelves. Fill a clean bathtub with water and add a bit of bleach. If you are not comfortable with bleach, add vinegar. Soak your shelves in the water and scrub them if necessary. It is easy to rinse with the shower head. Dry with some bath towels and put back. Easy, right?
Take a refrigerator and especially a freezer inventory. You are going to want to plan meals around the expensive food you already have.
Table and More
Don’t forget to clear off the kitchen or dining room table so you can eat peaceful meals. If you have piles of paper clutter here, put it in another location and deal with it when you have time.
Also, remember to clean the oven, inside of microwave, and outside and on top of kitchen cabinets (be careful).
I know it is a big job. But once you have cleaned and organized your kitchen you will feel good and more in control which will lead to making better choices.
What did you clean that made the biggest difference in how you feel about your kitchen?