Spring Cleaning - Kitchen

This may sound weird, but I LOVE Spring Cleaning. After being cooped up in the house all winter, there is something so invigorating about cleaning everything top to bottom and having the house smell fresh and clean. It's still too cold outside to open all the windows and air out the house, but hopefully by the time I'm done we'll have a few warmer days. Doing one room at a time, it'll take me about 3-4 weeks doing 2 hours each evening to do everything, but it's so worth it.

Even though I don't have an apartment, I love Apartment Therapy and all of their ideas for small spaces. Every year they do an 8-week cure, and this time around I'm getting in on TheKitchn Cure. About a month ago I went through and organized half the kitchen, and I have about half left to go. Of course I did the easy half first. I have 6 cabinets left, plus a top to bottom cleaning of the refrigerator and the freezer to finish the organization, I'm hoping to get that done today.

Organizing Junkie does something called Menu Plan Monday, so I'll start posting my menu plans for the week each Monday. The more I have planned out in advance the cheaper the groceries and the easier it is to get everything else done I have planned for the evening. Want to join me in The Kitchen Cure?

First, this is not the time to completely rearrange every cabinet in your kitchen. Save that until after the cabinets have been cleaned and gone through one at a time. You don't want to pull everything out at once, since it may take a few days to get through the entire kitchen. Corral items with their like items as you go through the cabinets, that will make it easier to find everything and also easier to see how much you really have and if you maybe need a better place for it. Ok, on to the cleaning.

It helps to have your counters cleared off and clean, so start there. Then, one cabinet at a time:
Pull everything out
Wipe it off with a warm damp cloth as you go
Throw away anything that is broken or unusable, put anything that is functional but no longer needed aside to donate or sell. In food cabinets, toss anything that is expired and consider donating anything that is unopened and still good that you won't eat.
Once the cabinet is empty, wipe down the entire cabinet, inside and out
If you use shelf liner and they need replacing, now is the time to do it
Put everything back into the cabinet, consider adding baskets or containers to contain any smaller items.
Put everything back in keeping like items together
This is a good time to add labels if needed
Move on to the next cabinet

Things I do to make my life easier in the kitchen:
I keep extras on a top shelf and also in a small cellar/pantry in my basement. So I'll mark items with a red dot from a Sharpie to let me know I have more elsewhere. That way I know when I'm on my last can/bag/box and that it needs to be added to the grocery list.
I use small containers to corral smaller items, all my mix packets, yeast packets, gelatin packets, etc are in a small plastic basket. Open bags of baking chips and nuts are in a basket that I check first when I'm baking.
All my leftovers are on one shelf in the refrigerator and I check that shelf first when packing my lunch and planning dinner.
I use the same red Sharpie to mark dates on perishables in the fridge, so I never have to guess how long I've had something.

What do you do in your kitchen that helps make managing it easier?

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