I will take snow over rain and mud any day, but I must say this bitter cold weather can leave any time! The return to more mild weather can’t come soon enough for me, as I’m ready to spend more time outside than inside. During the long hours inside, besides teleworking, I have found the opportunity to do some cleaning of cupboards and drawers which allowed purging of items and rearranging items in the kitchen so they are more readily available or accessible when I want to use them. I even found my grandmothers angel food cake pan which prompted me to make one and enjoy the memories that go along with the flavors and aroma.
As I rearranged the cupboards, one theme I tried to keep in mind was to store items close to where they would be used. The dishes and silverware should be close to the dishwasher, the bowls and mixer close to the ingredients for baking, etc. If you think about your kitchen and how to clean and sort to make the most of it, here are some tips to keep in mind:
*Less is more. In cleaning out shelves and drawers, sort out those items that aren’t often used and create a pile of ones that you can donate. I found several things I didn’t remember that I had, so obviously I hadn’t used them in a while. I was able to place items so they are easy to get to and use without moving other items to get to them.
*There are many ways to organize cabinets with spices, gadgets, and items that aren’t used very often. Check out websites, magazines, and suggestions from friends to see what works best for them.
*Take everything out of the cabinets and wash them down thoroughly with hot soapy water. Shelves, sides, and especially the corners need to be washed to make sure everything is clean. Once you have items out, it’s easy to organize them by placing what goes back in and what will be used. Taking some small appliances and placing them out of sight might be helpful too.
*Declutter counter tops by taking as much off them as possible. Not only does this help make the kitchen look more open and organized, but clear counters are easier to clean and keep that way.
*Look to see if drawer dividers might help to keep items organized in the drawers. Liners on the inside of the drawers make it easy to clean and/or replace down the road.
*Using hooks and hanging utensils or pots/pans might give you needed space.
*Would adding shelves on inside of cabinets or on outside of cabinet groupings give extra storage while making things easy to find?
*Over the door racks work well under the sink for holding spray bottles of cleaning supplies, gloves, or providing space to dry towels.
*Shelf risers and magnetic strips are other ways to make sure that space is used as efficiently as possible. The risers make more room on cabinet shelves and the strips can organize knives or other utensils.
*Label everything, so that everyone knows what items are where and how to put items away. If you have children at home, make sure they can help in the kitchen by placing items at their level like their plates, cups, water bottles, etc.
Whatever your tasks are, remember to let family members assist in cleaning and organizing. Not only does this help with the project, but children can learn through the process. Sometimes, tackling one cupboard at a time is better than the whole kitchen depending on the size of your kitchen and the time you have available for the project. The feeling of accomplishment is looking at the final project and seeing everything in its place and easy to use for the next time.
Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.
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