How Do I Organize My Kitchen?
I recommend breaking this task into three areas. Pantry, freezer, and refrigerator. Just tackle one a day and in less than a week, your kitchen will be clean and organized! Best of all, you won’t have any of the foods that you don’t want to eat easily accessible to you.
Before you do anything else, print out these nifty kitchen inventory lists I’ve made for you!
This helps to keep your kitchen organized and makes creating weekly shopping lists super easy! Monitor the lists every 3 months or so and if you notice you have things on there that you haven’t touched, try and use them up before they go bad! Maintaining a clean, organized kitchen is much easier than a complete overhaul every so often.
- Remove everything out of all your cabinets and pantry. Dust and clean out all cabinets with a non-toxic kitchen cleaner and let air dry.
- Make sure all of the food that you deem safe to keep is going to stay fresh by putting it in air tight containers or using a vacuum sealer – this is optional, but foods stay fresh longer, especially in the freezer.
- Label all of the items you’re keeping and add either the date you want it to expire on, or the date you opened it. Do whatever works for you, but be consistent to avoid confusion.
- As you are putting the items back into the cabinet, take note of what you have with the inventory sheets I made for you linked just above! Keep these handy, maybe on your refrigerator, that way you can cross things out as you use them so you know exactly what you have at all times. This makes creating shopping lists a breeze and also helps to avoid buying the same jar of parsley every time you go to the grocery store.
- Since you went through the trouble of cleaning and labeling, make sure you are putting back your items in an organized fashion.
Foods to get rid of:
- Anything expired or unidentifiable! (eek)
- Muffins, bagels and other baked goodies
- Bread, pasta and grains
- “Healthy” snacks, protein bars, etc
- Refined oils (vegetable, soybean, canola, peanut, sunflower, grapeseed, etc)
- White flour
- White sugars
- Artificial sugars (splenda, equal, etc)
- Cake and brownie mixes
- Meal starters (hamburger helpers, etc)
- Spices that are older than 9-12 months old
- Empty all the food out, taking milk and other dairy products out last as they are most perishable. Take out the drawers and wash below and all around them, making sure to get in all of the cracks and crevices. I normally take the drawers right to my sink so I can wash them really well. Scrub out your entire refrigerator and put a new box of baking soda in there to help absorb odors.
- Carefully look over each food before putting it back inside of your refrigerator, especially your condiments! There’s usually something in there that you haven’t touched in a while! Check expiration dates AND open the food to make sure it’s still fresh.
- Just like before, label and repackage items so that they will stay as fresh as possible. Don’t forget to add the items to your refrigerator inventory sheet.
- Again, anything expired and/or funky!
- Shredded cheese (these have added starches to keep from sticking together)
- Velveeta type products
- Cheez whiz
- “Kraft” singles
- Spray cheese/any other weird fake cheese product
- Nonfat milk
- Nonfat cheese
- Nonfat yogurt/sugary yogurt
- Coffee creamers with naughty ingredients
- Sugary drinks
- Condiments loaded sugar/bad oils (ex. miracle whip, mayo made with canola or soybean oil, ketchup)
- Jams and Jellies
- Deli meats, hot dogs, bacon that contain nitrates/nitrites
- If you have two freezers, this is a GREAT time to defrost them!
- Make sure you are cleaning everything out really well! Freezers can be messier than you’d think…trust me, I’ve found popsicles that have been crushed under 5 lbs of chicken and become a syrupy mess! Ewww! Seriously, take it alllll out and clean every inch!
- This is where that vacuum sealer comes in handy, especially if you purchase anything in bulk. Freezer bags work for a short time but if you’re buying 5 lbs of ground beef at once, that is probably going to last you at least a few weeks to a month, so you really want to keep your food as fresh as possible.
- Same as before, label and date! Also, record everything you have on your handy, dandy inventory sheet!
Foods to get rid of:
- Unrecognizable Food – this one can be tricky because if you do a lot of meal prep and freezing, things can sometimes look totally different than before you put them in the freezer – use your best judgement
- Anything that has freezer burn
- Ice cream and all other yummy frozen goodies *tear* (don’t worry, recipes for yummy ice cream that you CAN have coming soon!)
- Frozen meals
Please note that the above lists are not exhaustive. Use your best judgement! Read labels, check ingredients. If you still don’t know – ask me!
Happy Cleaning! 🙂